Saturday, April 1

West Bengal: Iskcon plans virtual Ratha Yatra for 25,000 homes

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So what if you won’t be able to tug the rope of Lord Jagannath’s Ratha this time? The chariot itself will come to your home, albeit virtually. Because of the Covid pandemic, Iskcon has been forced to cancel its 49-year-old rathayatra in the city and also the 6-kilometre-long yatra at Mayapur from the Jagannath Temple at Rajapur.

Iskcon this year is taking a unique initiative to virtually bring the chariot home to the devotees. The project, called Mercy on Wheels is a completely digital initiative that will see 108 virtual rathas rolling out to devotees’ homes in so many cities worldwide.

A digital platform has been created and links have been provided for devotees to register themselves as yajmans. Once the registration is completed, a unique code/number will be provided, against which the devotee will be informed when to expect the ratha to roll into his house on June 23-24.

The entire programme is digitally coded, so every yajman logs in and waits for instructions. At the appointed hour, the household will see the ratha roll in on the screen with audio-visual simulations for added effect.

One has to log on at the appointed time, which, as of now is 8am, and follow on-screen instructions step by step.

“The ratha, through virtual simulation, can be pulled inside the house and the entire household can complete aarti, offer prasad/bhog within the specified time limit and then bid adieu to the Lord as the chariot gets ready to visit the next devotee’s house. This will all be synchronised from Mayapur as the 108 chariots roll in from one devotee’s house to the other,” said Subrata Das, spokesperson of Iskcon, Mayapur.

However, the unique codes will be provided to the yajmans on a first-come-first-served basis, Iskcon Mayapur officials said. A massive digital meeting room will be created for this so that devotees can participate and follow the ratha from one home to another. “We are aiming to take the 108 rathas to at least 25,000 homes worldwide. We are working to create a massive digital space for this,” Das added.

Source:Times of India

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