Almere : Annual Car Festival was celebrated at Almere city of Netherlands with much pomp and massive fanfare. Since the Rath yatra was being organised for the first time in this European Nation, unexpected interest, unusual enthusiasm and unprecedented excitements were visible among the hundreds of Odia and Non Odia devotees gathered here alongwith their family members and relatives to witness the Holy Event. Organised by Odia Socio Cultural Association, Netherlands (OSCAN), the Rath Yatra day started with a special worship, performed by the priest before Four Deities stationed at Audrey Hepburnstraat. Then the Deities were brought to the Ceremony site at D. Ruimte Auditorium. The Festival venue was aesthetically and elegantly decked up befitting to the Grand Occasion. Then the Idols were taken in a procession to the colourfully decorated Chariot stationed inside the Auditorium. The entire atmosphere got reverberated with the recitals of hymns, roaring of slogans like Haribol and Jai Jagannath, sounding of Huluhuli, blowing of conch and playing of musical instruments such as Ghanta, Kartala, Mardala, Jhanja and Mrudanga by the devotees. The long awaited and much expected pulling of Chariot commenced at around 12.30 p.m. in afternoon. The Chariot was pulled till 1 km within the periphery and then pulled back to inside the Auditorium. The auspicious view of the Trinity in a majestic pose aboard the Royal Chariot during their sojourn on the street of Netherlands was momentous and mesmerising.
The Deputy Chief of Mission of Indian High Commission based at the Hague Mr Gince Mattam graced the celebration as Chief Guest and inaugurated the cultural programmes by lighting the ceremonial lamp. The Car Festival witnessed a spectacular cultural extravaganza, which include recitals of Bhajans & Odia Songs, presentations of Odissi and Bharatnatyam Dance items and playing of instruments by Kids. The special attraction of the show was staging of a play entitled God of Devotee: Dasia Bauri. Basing on the theme of the equal treatment of Lord Jagannath to everybody irrespective of their status, belongingness and profession the audiences were completely moved and spellbound by the perfect and passionate acting of the superbly talented artistes. Paintings and traditional dress competitions were the other highlights of the Fiesta. The invited Guests and attendees were served the delicious Odia foods like Ghee Anna, Dalma, Besara, Khata, Saga, Rasagola, Tanka Torani and Chudaghasa prepared by Charcoal caterings at the end of the programme.
The whole Rath Yatra Ceremony was conducted with the guidance and advise of Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingh Deb. The Maiden Festival has become a huge success because of the astounding organising skill displayed by OSCAN team which include President Saswat Padhi and senior members Sushil Das Mahapatra, Anshuman Mishra, Paritosh Mahapatra, Nilamadhab Mishra, Somanath Lenka, Lopamudra Nayak, Deepak Parida, Debadatta Dash, Aurobindo Ghadai and Suvendu Acharya.
The First Ever Rath Yatra in Netherlands was actively co-operated and logistically supported by institutions like AAONXT, Nobel Mortgages, Geeksoft Consulting, Prilk Consulting, Etia Consulting and Innoveren IT.