Almost Trampled by Huge Crowd at Rath Yatra

The title might sound little peculiar to you, but this is true that we almost got crushed by the huge, maddened crowd at Rath Yatra, Hauz Khas. Every year hordes of people pour into the area to be a part of the carnival.

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36th Shree Jagannath Ratha Yatra, 2014

A Short Brief about Ratha Yatra:

Rath Yatra or Chariot Festival or Car Festival is one of the biggest and most popular Hindu festivals associated with the Almighty Lord Jagannath. As part of the festival, the deities (Lord Jagannath, sister Subhadra and brother Balabhadra) are taken out on an annual visit to Mausi Maa Temple (Gundicha Mata Temple) and return after a stay of 9 days. It is known as “Bahuda Yatra”.

Though the temple is within walking distance (less than 2 kilometers from the metro station), we (Praveen, my dear friend, Sunita and I) preferred hiring an auto rickshaw. The celebration was in full flow as we could witness the excitement and enthusiasm of the devotees from a distance. The main area was fenced and constantly observed by Policemen. We had to alight from the auto, at least, 500 meters from the temple and walked along street, through the mass, enjoying various drinks of butter milk, juice, rooh afza and water.

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Quenching Thirst with a Glass of Rooh Afza

It was around 2 pm by then, and I couldn’t afford to miss an opportunity to grab the golden moment of the chariot being pulled through the main streets. However, we were stuck up in the middle finding a safe space and couldn’t penetrate though the tremendous gathering.

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Hordes of Devotees in Different Colors
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Where Are They Heading to?

Carrying the idol of Lord Jagannath, the spectacularly adorned chariot (standing up to 15 ft.), resembling temple structure, was towed with ropes through the main streets of Sufdarjung Development Area, Bhagwan Jagannath Marg by thousands of devotees. Priests were busy in chanting mantras. The extravagant procession played devotional songs with trumpets, drums and tambourines. The chariot looked so colorful and dazzling that could capture anyone’s attention.

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Spectacularly Embellished Chariot

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The Rath proceeded further and further with the chants of “Jay Jagannath Swami”. The sight of people trying to break coconuts against the Rath was terrifying as there were chances of devotees being trampled by the huge wheels of the chariot. Constant announcements – both in Odia and Hindi – were made warning people not to get close to the wheels and take care of respective family members. We even came across reports of child missing.

“Blessed are those who pull the ropes of the chariot during the Rath Yatra” – and I think I’m blessed. I didn’t let the opportunity go just by standing away from the crowd and witnessing the beauty. We inched little further and were almost crushed by a huge crowd. I was very concerned about Sunita. I escorted her to a safe place and partook in the extravaganza. Later on, Praveen and Sunita also tried their hands at pulling the ropes, but in the safest manner.

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A Groufie of Three of Us

The chariot moved on. And we three of us headed to the temple. Not finding a space for our shoes in the shoe stand, we asked Sunita to keep an eye on our properties. Yes. I know it sounds bit awkward making a girl to act as a guard ;-), but we were left with no other choice. Praveen and I entered the temple with nude feet.

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In the Temple Premise
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Look at the Greatest Devotee 😛

Whoa, whoa, whoa…we jumped like shrimps no sooner we stepped on the floors of the temple premises. It was extremely hot. After paying a visit to the main temple and Laxmi Mata temple, I suggested Praveen to have a glance at the basement. It is the place where devotees can have “Mahaprasad – Abadha”.

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Anand Bazaar – at the Basement
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Taken from the Temple Premise
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Bustling Mass

Praveen had to attend his swimming session. So, we decided to return. As Praveen departed, Sunita and I went to Sukant’s home. Relaxed there for a couple of hours before catching up metro for Vaishali.

Here’s the Youtube link of Rath Yatra video.

(You can also know more about our trip read out Praveen’s blog)

Replica of Taj Mahal in Delhi…Any Guesses?

“Can I have the opportunity to marvel at the outstanding beauty of the Taj Mahal in this life”? Asked my wife, Sunita. To this my instant reply was “you don’t have to wait for your next life. We will visit the Taj Mahal today.” Of course, she was bit surprised. To clarify her doubt, I mumbled the name Humayun’s Tomb.

“See a cat if you have not seen a tiger” – In Delhi, visit Humayun’s Tomb if you have not witnessed the beauty and glory of the Taj Mahal. Built by Bega Begum, the first wife of the second Mughal Emperor, Humayun, the mausoleum, one of the greatest Mughal architectures, is a popular UNESCO World Heritage Site. This stunning creation exudes many past events that the country is proud of today.

Nothing can stop you from taking a trip, not even the scorching heat of summer, once you build up strong determination. And this is what happened when Sunita, my permanent travel companion and I decided to pay a visit this amazing Mughal wonder. We started off by 12 pm. The sun was unwilling to distort its settings. Since Delhi is burning with heat, some might think it was a stupid idea to come out of the house instead of relaxing in an A/C room. The only thing that you need to do is to be well-prepared, explore history and have fun.

From the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Metro Station, the tomb is just a 10-minute drive away. We thought of hiring an auto to reach the point quickly. I approached the only auto driver near the metro at that moment, told him where we would go, but he gave me a perplexed look. He was not aware of anything related to that name. So, I had to guide him to the destination with the help of GPS service – Thanks to technology!

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The Enthusiastic Crowd Making Their Way Through the Main Gate

The place was quite crowded. Like me, there were hundreds of others who have come to marvel at the ultimate replica of the world famous Taj Mahal. The first thing we did to get the entrance ticket (Rs 10/-). But for foreigners it is 25 times more i.e. Rs 250/- (Note the difference).

I was taken aback with the impressive building inside the walled enclosure that is evident from the gigantic double-storey gateway. A large square garden further divided into 4 square gardens, separated by causeways and pathways and surrounded by thick and high walls. It offers a splendid visual retreat. The manicured gardens constantly entice the travelers to take a short nap and rejuvenate body, soul and mind. A small, but beautiful water fountain is ever ready to welcome. Visitors were busy taking pictures in the backdrop of the massive tomb. As we inched further towards the main building, for some time, I remained inundated in the thoughts of how skilled those engineers were. Their works are in evidence even today and will be there for many more years.

Standing majestically right in the heart of the complex, the tomb receives thousands of visitors every year, both locals and foreigners alike. There are several smaller monuments along with many tombs adorn this historic site. I had a close look at the tomb of Humayun accompanied by graves of his wife Bega Begum, Dara Shikoh, son of Shah Jahan and great great grandson of Humayun.

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Can You Identify Sunita in this photo?
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Objects Found during Excavation at Isa Khan’s Tomb Garden
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In the Backdrop of the Outstanding Monument
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A Glance at Our Shadow
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A Group of Mughal Tombs
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Relax Time!
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Taken from the Sky?

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Guess Who’s Tomb?
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People Finding Picnic Spot
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The Beautiful Garden & the Double-Storey Gate

Before we say bye to the tombs, I wanted to capture the magnificent scenic beauty of the gardens and its surroundings right from the top of the spacious porch. If you are a history buff, Humayun’s Tomb is a must visit attraction. Have a close glance at the combination of white marble and red and yellow sandstone – you just can’t take your eyes off.

And yes, never forget to bring water and wrap it up with a polythene bag to keep it cool for longer time.

Not so tired? Then I invite you to come and join me at Jagannath Temple, Hauz Khas this Sunday on 29th at 2 pm not only to witness the famous Rath Yatra, but to tow the rope with me and help the Almighty reach His destination, Mausi Maa Temple.