The Rath Yatra procession of ISKCON (International Society of Krishna Consciousness) organised in Kolkata has been cancelled and the rituals will be held inside its temple premises in the city.
“At ISKCON Kolkata, we had to cancel the procession as it attracts over 15 lakh people during the nine days festivities and we don’t have dedicated area where people’s entry/exit can be controlled,” it said in a statement.
The organisation, which is headquartered at Mayapur in West Bengal, also said it has “decided to conduct all rituals inside our temple premises at ISKCON, located at 3C, Albert Road, Kolkata”. The organisation also said many monks are in villages serving people. The Rath Yatra was started in Kolkata in 1972 and since then it has been observed with religious fervour. Over the past few years, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been a regular at the celebrations.
Radharaman Das, vice-president and spokesperson of ISKCON, Kolkata, said they have made a replica of the three chariots (1 foot in height), which will be pulled by monks inside the premises.“The whole ceremony will be live telecast on the ISKCON Kolkata (official) Facebook and YouTube channels from 8.30 a.m. on June 23.” A number of religious events, including the Bastanta Utsav celebrations at the Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan were cancelled this year due to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).