Vrindavan turned into Shrikshetra on Wednesday to celebrate the festival of chariot (Rath Yatra), when thousands of devotees thronged on the streets and at Gyan Gudri to pull the chariots of Bhagvan Jagannath. The procession reminded many devotees the Rath Yatra of Puri. The festival of Jagannath Rath Yatra was observed with reverence in several parts of Vraja. People could be seen throwing flower on the chariots carrying the Lord.
The chariots from different temples of Vrindavan congregated at Gyan Gudri, the place where the Gopis preached about the Divine Love to Uddhav. Traditionally, the temples of Govinda, Gopinath, Madan Mohan, Jagannath Ghat, Sadhu maa ashram along with some other temple used to send the chariots having Jagannath seated in it to Gyan Gudri. Later several other temples also began sending the chariots there. At Gyan Gudri a special arati and puja is performed to the Lord, and bhog is offered to Bhagvan Jagannath. Then the Prasad is distributed among the devotees.
Gyan Gudri has a relevance of the manifestation of the Divine Love, as the Gopis preached Uddhav about it. Krishna took the form of Jagannath after remembering the Divine Love of the Gopis. Once, Mother Rohini was narrating Krishna’s intimate Vrindavan pastimes to His Queens. Subhadra was asked to watch the door so nobody else could listen. Krishna and Balaram came to the door and stood on Subhadra’s left and right sides. Krishna and Balaram became ecstatic, and their internal feelings were exhibited externally. Their eyes became dilated, their heads compressed into their bodies, and their limbs retracted. Seeing these transformations in Krishna and Balaram, Suhhadra also became ecstatic and assumed a similar form. Thus, by hearing Krishna’s pastimes in Vrindavan, Krishna and Balaram, with Subhadra in between, displayed their ecstatic forms of Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra.
The 50 years old Jagannath temple of the Jagannath Ghat started the celebration from early morning by maha-arti of the Lords followed by lunch for saints and general public. Devotees started gathering at the temple from morning itself to get a glimpse of the Lord and to push his chariot. Lord Jagannath came out at around 4 pm, after being ill for 15 days, during which he didn’t gave darshan to his devotees.
Jagannath Yatra celebration in other Temples
Vishram Vat temple of Lord Jagannath, Radha Ras Bihari, Radha Damodar, Radha Shyam Sundar, Radha Gopinath, Radha Madan Mohan beside other temple too celebrated the festival by preparing chariots made of gold, silver and sandalwood for their respective deities. Devotees performed bhajan, kirtan throughout during the rath yatra pleasing the Lords. Thakur Shri Radha Raman Lal gave darshan sitting on a grand chariot made of Silver.
Vishram Vat temple took the Lord on a round tip of Vrindavan via parikrama marg, whereas others just went to the main areas of the city to bless the devotees and please the Lord. Few temples will be doing the Jagannath Rath Yatra celebration later this week as well. The Rath Yatra was also taken out from Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Mandir in the city of Mathura, where devotees thronged to have a glimpse of the Lord and seek his blessings.