Anything that is easily accessible seems worthless. It is human nature. But once we realize that we are deprived of it, we start craving for it. Such has happened with me or rather I would say us because it is about majority of our community people residing in Kolkata far away from our motherland.
We, the Bishnupriya Manipuris, are a small community from the north eastern part of India residing mainly in the states of Manipur, Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura. We are so small that most of the people of our country even do not know that we survive in this country. We being the followers of Lord Vishnu, considered Rath Yatra as one of our most important festivals.
But far from our native land we started feeling deprived from our culture which was otherwise never so important. As such few of the community people met and decided that Rath Yatra would be celebrated in Kolkata by us in a small way. It was in the year 2004 that we the Bishnupriya Manipuri community started celebrating Rath Yatra in Kolkata. Today, the celebration that started from the drawing room of a relative, reached the main roads of Kolkata, facing many topsy-turvy situations.
This year too on the 10th of July, we celebrated the festival in a very colorful way in accordance to our customs and rituals.
The deities (Balabhadra, Subhadra, Jagganath) are dressed in new colorful attires before taking to the chariot(rath)
The deities were placed on the chariot and Arti(pooja) is being performed before starting the ride
After the pooja the chariot is pulled with the help of the rope attached to the chariot. Pulling the chariot is regarded auspicious
The drummers and singers lead the rath singing various devotional songs
The devotional songs of the singers were mesmerizing which attracted lots of passers by who followed the chariot
At places the artists performed various items that were of attraction to all
Finally travelling a distance of about 2 kms the chariot reached the destination where the main puja and the programs were to take place
The Chariot (Rath) with our society banner
Our priest ready to take the deities inside
The deities placed in the Ashana(throne/altar)
The priests performs the puja
Devotional songs and slokas being chanted
The drummers ready to perform
One of the drummers showing his skill using three drums
Akanksha performing the manjira nartan
The ladies in traditional attires getting ready for the Das Avatar song which is performed by the devotees present there clapping their hands on the beats of the drums moving in a circular motion
After all the performances were over, all the devotees were served with the Khidchi Prasadam.