Rath Yatra in Manchester attracts large audiences

On Sunday 7th of July, the North West Odisha Society organised the Rath Yatra (procession) festival joining the global occasion of worshipping Lord Jagannath … Rahul Laud reports

A vast sea of humanity converged at the Gita Bhavan Temple in Manchester to pay their tribute and offer reverence and prayers to Lord Jagannath. The traditional Rath Yatra that followed in-house temple ceremonies and cultural activity was a spectacle to the residents of Manchester. Nearly 500 devotees gathered to participate in the annual Ratha Yatra festival.  This year’s event, which drew participants from around the world, was marked by vibrant chants, mesmerizing cultural performances, and the distinguished presence of local Labour Party MP Afzal Khan.

The spectacular event was witnessed by devotees dressed in traditional attire singing and dancing to the rhythmic chants of “Hare Krishna” and “Jay Jagannath” as the beautifully decorated chariot made its way through the adjoining streets near the temple in Manchester. The air was filled with spirituality and joy, echoing the festival’s significance of bringing the deities closer to the community. Renowned artists from around the globe graced the event with their performances, adding a rich cultural tapestry to the festival. These performances were a blend of traditional dances, classical Odissi, and folk, music, and drama that captivated the audience and added a layer of depth to the celebration. Tanisha Das, a noted exponent of classical dance forms showcased her talent on the occasion. Rekha Senapati also regaled the audience with her spirited devotional dance. Hema Manjunath renowned Radio anchor at the Bolton Hindu Forum (BHF) Radio anchor ably compered the cultural event. Rashmi Mohapatra enthralled the audience with her melodious bhajan and to the surprise of many Dr Manohar Deshpande – a non-Odia singer also contributed with his mellifluous voice. Renowned Choir conductor of the Bharatiya Vrund Gaan Rakesh Joshi gave the requisite devotional touch with his medley of bhajans in different languages accompanied by one of his choir lead singers Manisha Keshe.  

The presence of MP Afzal Khan was symbolic, His presence sent the message of cohesiveness,  unity, and diversity that Ratha Yatra celebrates. His participation underscored the importance of cultural and religious festivals in fostering community spirit and harmony.

This year’s Ratha Yatra made attendees excited and happy with the presence of spiritual and religious storyteller Devi Chitralekha who is currently on a UK tour to share her divine preachings. Her inspiring words and spiritual guidance added a profound depth to the event.

The organizing committee included dedicated efforts by a team that comprised Dr Siba Senapati, Rekha Senapati, Bishnu Das,   Jeeban Panigrahi, Sudhakar Sahoo, Bibek Babu,  Reshma Mohapatra,  Surendra Nath Acharya,  Prabhat Singh ,  and the dynamic  Siba Ranjan Biswal.  These individuals worked tirelessly behind the scenes, preparing the chariot, coordinating the event logistics, and serving food to all attendees.

The local police force, the Gita Bhavan temple trustee, and several volunteers’ unwavering support made the event successful.


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