Kolkata, Jul y 7: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday pulled ropes of the chariot at ISKCON Rath Yatra here after paying obeisance to Lord Jagannath. Braving rains, thousands of devotees gathered to participate in the festival and they were dancing and chanting 'Jai Jagannath' along with the monks of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

"Jai Jagannath to all of you throughout the world, all my ISKCON brothers and sisters and devotees on this auspicious day," she said. Banerjee performed 'arati' with candles and offered prayers to the deities of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Suvadra on the chariot in front of the ISKCON temple, before pulling the ropes of the chariot at the start of the Rath Yatra along with the devotees and monks. Kolkata Gears Up for 53rd Edition of ISKCON Rath Yatra Festival Scheduled for July 7.

"We live together with all religions. Jagannath Dev is very sacred to all of us," Banerjee, who attends the ISKCON Rath Yatra every year, said. The chief minister said a large number of people from the state participated in the Rath Yatra festival in Odisha's Puri, as well as in Hooghly district's Mahesh, the oldest Rath Yatra in West Bengal, and Kolkata and other places. Rath Yatra 2024 in Ahmedabad: Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel Extends Wishes on Lord Jagannath Yatra, Says ‘On This Holy Day, God Himself Comes Out To Give Darshan to the Citizens’.

Mamata Banerjee Offers Prayers at ISKCON Temple

Stating that a temple, which is a replica of Puri's Jagannath temple, in the seaside tourist town Digha is almost complete, Banerjee said that it will be inaugurated after the Durga Puja. "Rath Yatra will be held at Digha from next year," she said, addressing the devotees. Dance performances by women were also held in front of the ISKCON Rath Yatra chariot in south Kolkata before it was pulled by the monks and the devotees through different streets of the metropolis. The chariot will be stationed at Maidan in the heart of the city for devotees to have darshan till the return of the chariot after eight days.