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By Nila Kamal das
Netrakona is situated in the northern part of Bangladesh, near the Meghalaya border. The
population here is around 70% Hindus whilst the rest are Muslims. There are four main rivers here: Kangsha, Dhala, Magra, and Teorkhali.
For the past six years, devotees from ISKCON Netrakona have arranged the annual Ratha Yatra festival and this year was no different. This year’s festival was bigger and better with almost 8000 participants. The Muslim festival named Eid was celebrated in Bangladesh the day before the Ratha Yatra festival, so many locals were in the festive mood which played as an advantage for the devotees.
“This is very good proposal. Make the Ratha-yatra festival very great success. This will be a great introduction in your city and people will appreciate it” (SPL to Syamasundara, 4th May, 1967)
On the day of the festival, three fire sacrifices were performed in order to invoke auspiciousness. Once the fire sacrifices had finished, there were a series of speeches by various VIPs. The chief guest of the event was the Netrakona District Commissioner; Prasanta Kumar Ray. Other distinguished guests were Head Police Officer; Jayadev Chowdary and the District Chairman; Sitangushu Vikas Acarya. All the VIPs glorified the efforts of ISKCON Netrakona in trying to spread the glories of Lord Jagannath.
After coconuts were broken, conches blown and an arati ceremony performed the chariots got moving. The District Chairman was given the privilege of pulling the Lord’s chariot first. After this Their Lordship’s made Their way through the main roads of Netrakona accompanied by melodious kirtans. The final destination was a local Hindu temple where Jagannath along with His siblings will take rest for the next nine days. Prasad was then distributed to a crowd of 5000.
During these nine days, there are a series of cultural programs, lectures, dramas and kirtans which take place back at ISKCON Netrakona.
I am so much satisfied with your successful performance of Ratha-yatra festival and I am awaiting to see similar festivals in all our other centers….” (SPL to Gurudasa, 16th July, 1968)
We thank all the devotees of Netrakona for holding such a great festival for the Lords pleasure. Especially we would like to thank HG Jayrama das, Anantadeva das and Tulsi das, the leaders of ISKCON Netrakona, who worked tirelessly day and night alongside the brahmacaris at ISKCON Netrakona for the festival to take place. Last but not least; we would like to thank all other devotees who came from different places in order to make the
festival a success.