‘Rath Yatra’ on Janmashtami to remind Jammu’s glorious past

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Kr. Balwant Bhau
A historical ‘rath yatra’ will be taken out on the occasion of Krishna Janmashtami. However this yatra is taken out every year on the eve of Janmashtami. The roots of this yatra associates with Raghunath Temple. The historical raghunath temple is one of the largest temple complexes of north India which is located in Jammu in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The parikrama of ‘sava barah lakh shaligram’ which lies in the temple is equal to the darshan of 33 crore devi devta as mentioned in the holy books.
The temple was built during the period 1822-1860 by order of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, while Jammu was under his administration by Maharaja Gulab Singh and since then this ritual is being followed.
The decoration of ‘rath’ starts a week ahead before the shobha yatra. Ajay Kumar a worker of Dharmarth Trust who has been looking after the decoration of the rath from 10 years says “The decoration work was started a week ago, right from the cleaning then painting. The final touch will be given in the morning”.
Impressive and colorful ‘Rath-Yatra’s (religious process) were taken out twice a year one on the festival of Ramnavami-marking the incarnation day of Lord Rama-in the city of Temples and other on eve of Janmashtami.
The ‘Rath Yatra’ organized by Jammu and Kashmir Dharmarth Trust and Raghunath bazaar welfare association, Sanatan dharma sabha, Rajput Sabha, Brahaman Sabha,Mahajan Sabha, Khatri Sabha , Raghunath Bazar Heritage Society and various social originations.
Thousands of devotees from various parts of the region will take part in the procession. Various jhankis will be taken out on the occasion.
The ashth dhatu idols of Radha Krishna were placed on the rath which was then pulled by thousands of devotees around the city and then culminating at Raghunath Temple.
Jammu is a place of Maharajas and all that rituals are from that period only.
The directions for the preparation were given by the dharmarth trust which also includes trustees from the Royal family.

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