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Houston Chariot Festival (Shree Jagannath Rath Yatra – 2015)

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HOUSTON: The famous chariot festival of Lord Jagannath in puri will be celebrated on 18 July. Orissa Culture Center (OCC) in collaboration with Sri Sitaram Foundation is all geared for celebrating the eighth chariot festival in Houston on 18 July, at VPSS Haveli, 11715 Bellfort Village Drive, Houston, TX, 77031. All preparations are underway for this yearly festival in Houston that has attracted people from Houston and surrounding cities. This is the time of the year when Houstonians come together to celebrate the Chariot Festival or the Car Festival popularly known as the “Rath Yatra.” The festival is rooted in the ancient tradition of chariot pulling by thousands of devotees of the Lord Jagannath in the ancient city of Puri in the state of Odisha, India. Lord Jagannath symbolizes religious and cultural harmony and the ancient Vedic Philosophy of universal brotherhood (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam) and religious tolerance.

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The day’s events are planned to include aspects relating to Shree Jagannatha and Vedic Philosophy. The event will be started with a “Maha Yagna” or the fire worship in the morning followed by different rituals of the three deities of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhdra. The day’s programs include free health fair, devotional singing and chanting by the assembled devotees, vocal presentation by renowned artists, carrying the Lords to the chariot, brooming by the King in front of the chariot, chariot pulling, and finally the maha-arati of the Lords on the chariot . All assembled devotees will be served with dinner Maha Prasadam following the Maha Arati.

This year we are pleased to present a vocal concert by Padma Bibhusana Sangeet Martand Pt. Jasraj Ji between 4:00 – 6:30pm. Pt Jasraj Ji will be accompanied on stage by Pt. Shantilal Shah on Tabla, Pta. Tripti Mukherjee, Pt. Suman Ghosh and Pt. Ratan Mohana Sharma on Harmonium and vocal support. He will also be accompanied by Shri Jay Gandhi on flute.

Tickets to the event can be obtained from Maharani Music (713-782-6553), Vishala Grocers, Katy (281-492-2020). Tickets can also be purchased online. For details, visit www.houstonrathyatra.org, or call 832-225-2376 . You may connect on https://www.facebook.com/HoustonRathYatra

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