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Jagannath Cultural and Educational Center Celebrated First Rath Yatra in California

Sri Jagannath Paribar Ratha Jatra

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – On July 11, the Jagannath Cultural and Educational Center, along with the Indian American community from the San Francisco Bay Area, Calif., celebrated the Sri Jagannath Paribar Ratha Jatra, or the Chariot Festival, at the Niles Fremont Temple in California.

For JCEC it was their first Ratha Jatra and over 500 devotees attended the in-person festivity which was in an outdoor setting, according to a press release. The occasion started with the chanting of Vedic mantras of the rituals by the temple priest Viswamji, followed by kirtan from an ISKCON group, captivating the mood of the atmosphere.

In the Rath Yatra, the deities Sri Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Maa Subhadra with Sudarshana step out on the journey to visit their ‘aunt’s house.

The Ratha Jatra also had a majestic display of Odia cultural festivities, with Odissi dance, music, paintings, miniature Ratha models and devotional sangeet seva mahosthava by local Indian American artists, said the release.

The JCEC volunteers made a 24-feet-tall Ratha following the traditional architectures, symbols and was decorated with unique and intricate pieces of “pattachitra” artworks made by local artists.

This Ratha Jatra event was the conclusion of a series of Sri Jagannath festivities, which included the Sri Jagannath Paribar Prāṇa pratiṣṭhā of Chaturdha Murty and Debasnana Purnima June 23.

Several elected officials participated in the event, including Fremont Mayor Lily Mei; Raj Salwan, Fremont City councilmember; Hayward City councilmember Aisha Wahab; Deputy Consulate General Rajesh Naik, who represented the Consulate General of India at San Francisco; and Mahesh Patel, president of the Gujarat Cultural Association.

The objective of the 501(c) nonprofit registered charity is to act as a cultural hub for both the Indian Odia as well as the larger Indian American community of the San Francisco Bay Area, said the release. It seeks to promote culture and spiritual well-being among current and future generations.

The JCEC as a cultural center will also double as a support system for philanthropic and charitable activities in the local community and beyond, added the release.

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