Rath Yatra Campaign



Rath Yatra Campaign on Social Media Gains Momentum

Carpenters busy making chariots

As Rath Yatra draws near, tour operators have taken to the social networking sites to woo as many pilgrims as possible from across the country and abroad to Puri for the nine-day mega festival, starting June 25. Popular messaging sites like Facebook and Twitter are abuzz with messages, campaigns and tour packages related to car festival and Jagannath culture.

"We received tremendous response from devotees in overseas countries on the social networking sites. Many of them have already begun making preparations to visit Puri," said Janardan das, a Puri-based tour operator.

Janardan and his friends, who belong to the Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya, launched a campaign on Rath Yatra on Facebook recently. "We posted nice templates and itinerary of the nine-day mega festivity and invited Jagannath followers across the globe to participate in the event. We would organise religious processions, sankitran and parikrama by serenading on roads in Puri," he said.

"Those devotees, who expressed their inability to attend the Rath Yatra due to some compelling situations, have requested us to upload images and video clippings of the car festival on the social networking sites," Bansibardhan das, another youth said.

Like previous years, the state tourism department has floated tour packages for visitors to watch the chariot pulling festival on Grand Road. "We made seating arrangements on rooftops of two buildings from where tourists can watch the festival. Our buses will start the journey from Bhubaneswar and Sambalpur," said a tourism official.

The Jagannath temple administration is giving finishing touch to its preparations for webcasting the Rath Yatra live on www.jagannath.nic.in. The National Informatics Center (NIC) will provide the technical knowhow to the Jagannath temple administration to webcast the mega festival.

The state government launched the live webcast of the car festival in 2007. "We have roped in a television channel and would receive feed from it to webcast the festival on Internet," temple's spokesperson Laxmidhar Pujapanda said.

Jagannath Temple authorities said a number of television channels are lined up to telecast the live proceeding of Rath Yatra. The administration a few years ago had planned to impose restrictions on the live coverage of the festival and wanted the channels to share their revenue with the temple. However it scrapped the proposal subsequently and allowed channels to telecast the festival live, for free.