Ahmedabad (Gujarat), March 16, 2012: One of the largest Jain religious processions ever in Ahmedabad and Gujarat was organised on Thursday kicking off an eight-day celebration by the community.
I have come walking barefoot all the way from Palitana. This rath yatra aims at helping poor people get employment. Through this yatra, we want to spread the message of importance of God, teachers and parents in life. We should fully devote ourselves to what we get in life. It is one of the ways of establishing a relationship with God. We have organised bigger rath yatras in Palitana, but for Amdavadi Jains this might be the first ‘grand rath yatra’
—Gacchadhipati Punyapal, Surishvarji Maharaj
In Jainism, art and literature are given great importance. Through this unique event, we want to show others that worship can be done in an artistic manner. Here, different artists will show their devotion through their art. Many great Indian artists have also been invited.
—Shishir Bhatt, 50, artist, Satellite
Art should always aim to reach God. It is a unique way of worship and our goal is to make more people imbibe this belief. We also hope people will have an enlightening experience here.
—Vishal Dharmsinh,36, event conductor, Mumbai
Bus loads of devotees from all over Gujarat came to attend this grand event. At this rath yatra, we provided food not only topoor people but also animals. As a Jain, it is a proud moment for me. We want to let people know about Jainism through this yatra.
—Ketan Darbar, 51, Khambhat
The people Ahmedabad will attend the event which will run for a week. ‘Lotus’ is the theme of this event and artisans from Assam have made chandeliers and other decorative art pieces for the celebrations. The Indian classical band ‘Laher’ will also perform on the occasion.
—Naresh Shah, devotee
It is the biggest rath yatra I have ever seen in my life in Ahmedabad. The biggest attraction is the silver rath weighing 250 kg. The people who pull the rath wear the ‘Seva-Cloth’, as people dressed in everyday clothes are not allowed to touch the Lord.
—Pranav Shah, 55, Paldi
No doubt, it is the biggest rath yatra of the Jain Samaj in Ahmedabad till date. Earlier, animals were used to pull the chariots during such yatras. But in this yatra, people are pulling the chariots instead. This is unique in its own way.
—Sailesh Shah, 54, Paldi
– News Courtesy: DNA India