By the boundless grace of our Guru Maharaj, Jacksonville Gopa Kuteeram families had the blessing of celebrating Sri Jagannath Rath Yatra on Sunday, September 8, 2019. Sri Jagannath Parivar arrived in Jacksonville on the auspicious Gokulashtami day. The Rath Yathra started, around 10 am from the Shirdi Sai Temple on Greenland Road after our Priest Sri Mukundan ji did the customary pooja and Gopa Kuteeram children chanting the Jagannath Ashtakam by Sri Sankaracharya. The Yathra was well-attended by local residents from different communities and throughout the Yathra, Mahamanthra was chanted all the way to the Hindu Society of Northeast Florida and back. Kolattam and Kummi to Madhura Geetham – Jai Jai Vittala Hari, by the women-bhaktas made it a very colorful offering to the Parivar. It would not be complete without a special mention of the Rangoli done by the Hindu Svayamsevak Sangh volunteers, barefoot, while the yatra was in progress throughout the way, including the main road.
It was a very hot day due to Hurricane Dorian that had just missed Florida’s east coast. Only by the sheer mercy of our Gurunathar and the Jagannath Parivar, Jacksonville did not get impacted by the hurricane. Despite the hot weather, around 350-400 people participated in the event that enjoyed the multi-state-cuisine lunch and the cool buttermilk.
It was a community event from start to finish with around 80 volunteers cooked food and helped with the cleaning and other activities to make the event successful. Volunteering children served food to all the bhaktas. Praying to Sri Guruji for many more successful events in Jacksonville.