Shree Swaminarayan Temple, Dharma Bhakti Manor based on Wood Lane, Stanmore, London held the first ever Rath Yatra Procession in Harrow. Thousands of devotees from around the UK graced the procession and pulled with great joy the beautifully decorated chariot of Lord Shri Jagannathji, Shri Balbhadraji and Subhadra Devi. The day commenced with a special prayer to mark the commencement of the procession from Queensbury Park.
A prayer was done by invited guests who included the Mayor of the London Borough of Harrow Councillor Ajay Maru, Harrow East MP Bob Blackman, Councillor Vina Mithani, Councillor Manji Kara, Councillor Kiran Ramchandani, Councillor Krupesh Hirani, Councillor Kantilal Rabadia, Councillor Rekha Shah, Councillor Michael Borio, Councillor Norman Stevenson, Councillor Primesh Patel, Councillor Barry Kendler, Councillor Kairul Kareema Marikar, Labour Candidate for Harrow East Uma Kumaran and Radio 1458 presenter Ravi Sharma.
There was one chariot for the males, one for the females and also one smaller one for the children. The chariots were pulled by hand all the way through, which showed great strength, unity and determination by the devotees who attended. The procession ended at 4pm with further guests joining us for the Maha Aarti and prayers including Councillor Marilyn Ashton, Councillor Michael Borio and Councillor Phillip O’Dell who commented, “Just wanted to say it was a pleasure to attend this event and many thanks for the kind hospitality shown to us”.
The divine Saints from Shree Swaminarayan Temple Bhuj, Kutch graced the procession and Swami Shree Vishwavallabh Dasji, addressing thousands of devotees stated the glorification of the festival day and praised the devotees who took part. This message was also echoed by the Temple President Khimjibhai Khetani. Chetan Vekaria, the festival organiser mentioned “Over 150 volunteers took part in making this event a success. Without the volunteers a grand procession like this would be difficult to organise.
The Temple would like to thank them very much for their ongoing support and Seva”.
Priya Varsani, a youth at the Temple spoke of her experience and said “Singing and dancing to the
Maha Mantra accompanied by musical instruments was really enjoyable, my service towards the Lord was to sing the Maha mantra throughout which created a peaceful and joyous atmosphere on the procession route. It was also really good to see the young children get involved and pull the chariot throughout. Giving young children this opportunity allows them to understand and celebrate the Sanathan Dharma (Hinduism) festivals”.