There will be a south Indian touch to Iskcon’s Calcutta Rathayatra this time. This is because the 46th edition of the chariot festival will celebrate the 1,000th birth anniversary of Ramanujacharya.
Born in modern-day Sriperumbudur, he is the most prominent acharya of Laxmi or Sri sampradaya (sect), one of the four sects of Vaishnavism as mentioned in Padma Purana.
“The gate at the Brigade Parade Ground where the divine trinity will stay from June 25 to July 2 will resemble a gopuram (the tall ornate tower at the entrance of south Indian temples); the pandal will also bear elements of south Indian temple architecture,” said general manager, Iskcon Calcutta, Radharaman Das.
Devotees from south India will be drawing rangoli on the road at the start of the journey.
After rituals lasting a couple of hours on Sunday, the inauguration will be done at 11.30am. “Since the chief minister is out of the country, she has deputed mayor Sovan Chatterjee, minister Subrata Mukherjee and MP Subrata Bakshi to do the honours,” said festival chairman Anangamohan Das.
From the Albert Road temple, the chariots will ply along Hungerford Street, AJC Bose Road, Sarat Bose Road, Hazra Road, SP Mukherjee Road, Asutosh Mukherjee Road, Chowringhee Road, Exide crossing, Jawaharlal Nehru Road and Outram Road to the Brigade Parade Ground.
The Ultarathayatra, on July 3, starting at noon via Outram Road, Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Dorina crossing, SN Banerjee Road, Moulali crossing, CIT Road, Suhrawardy Avenue, Park Circus crossing and Theatre Road.
Classical dancers will perform at the grounds every evening from Monday. Counselling will be offered to youth.