Rhodes Island: Rhodes Island, the smallest state of U.S.A; celebrated Rath Yatra, the biggest Festival of the Lord of the Universe Lord Jagannath with much pomp, myriad splendour and massive fanfare. The Hindu Temple at Warwick, where the Lord Jagannath alongwith His siblings are presently being worshipped was aesthetically and elegantly decorated befitting to the Grand Occasion. The day of the sixth edition of Car Festival here began with the performance of special religious rituals like Mangala Arati and homo in front of the Four Deities in the morning by the priest Somnath Shastri. The whole ambience of the Temple was agog with pious and spiritual fervour. At about 11.30 a.m. the Idols were taken in Dhadi Pahandi procession by the servitors and spectators to the colourfully decorated 15 feet high chariot parked in front of the Temple. Floral ornamentation of Deities and Chariot were immaculately done by Mother-Daughter Duo Shardha Nayak and Sudeepa Nayak. The entire atmosphere got reverberated with the chanting of hymns, roaring of slogans like Hari Bol and Jai Jagannath, blowing of conch and playing of musical instruments such as Ghanta, Mardala, Jhanja and Mrudanga.
The splendid scene of Goddess Subhadra being carried in a swinging mode to the Chariot by exclusively lady worshippers was momentous and memorable. Unusual interest, unexpected enthusiasm and unprecedented excitements were visible among the Odia and Non Odia devotees gathered here along with their friends, family members and relatives to take part in the Chariot pulling ceremony. People from far off places like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts also descended at the Festival site in large numbers to have a holy glimpse of Trinity atop the Chariot and earn lifetime fortune. Renowned Philanthropist Subhransu Mohanty conducted the traditional service of sweeping in front of the chariot called Chhera Pahanra. With the rendering of Bhajans and Kirtans, the Ghosha Yatra commenced at 1.00 p.m. The Chariot was pulled around 1.5 Kms in the outskirt of temple compound and then taken back to the premises of the Temple. The deities were then offered delicious Prasad prepared in the style of Ananda Bazar of Puri, which was later parcated by the devotees present. The auspicious sight of the Four Deities on board the Royal Chariot during their majestic sojourn on the streets of Warwick was just amazing and viewer’s delight. The distinguished dignitaries present include famous painter Priyanka Sahani , Bio Technocrat Anup Mohanty and IT Consultant Chiranjeevee Mohapatra.
This year’s Car Festival witnessed a spectacular Cultural extravaganza consisting of soul soothing recitals of Bhajans by Pragyan Behera, Sunil Kumar Dooda and Munmun Das and scintillating Odissi Dance performance in front of the Chariot by Reena Dash. The cultural session was ably coordinated and moderated by Munmun Das. The entire arrangements of Rath Yatra was neatly executed with overall guidance of World Odisha Society’s International Co –ordinator Akshay Mohanty and able Organisers like Mani Mahapatra, Simmy Mahapatra, Saroj Behera, Ranjeetha Behera, Chandra Nayak, Shardha Nayak, Digvijay Mahapatra, Aruna Mahapatra, Bishwa Patnaik, Lina Patnaik, Sukanta Patra, Sashi Mohanty, Kalpana Mohanty, Bishnupriya Bal, Karuna Meheta, Pankaj Panda and Soumyashree Dash.