Jagannath Rath Yatra: A grand show with Rs 16,000 or more for maha-aarti
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The riches of Ludhiana were once again on full display on Sunday when the annual Jagannath Rath Yatra passed through the city, which had been decked like a bride on Saturday night.
While it was a religious function to serve God, advertisements of various brands and industrial houses flooded the city with hoardings and banners encroaching every nook and corner of the yatra route — from Mata Rani Mandir to Fountain Chowk and then passing through Ghumar Mandi, Sarabha Nagar and reaching its final destination in BRS Nagar.
While the organisers had promised that unlike previous years, a proper cleanliness drive would be carried out throughout the yatra and stall owners were directed to put large dustbins, the roads were still littered with heaps of garbage and food in large quantities getting crushed under feet at crowded Ghumar Mandi.
While this was the plight of the common man who wanted to catch a glimpse of the grand Jagannath procession, a few lucky families were invited to lavish Maharaja Grand resorts on Saturday night for maha-aarti.
Around 108 families who were able to afford a maha-aarti worth Rs 16,000 or more were allowed inside the venue. Those who refused to pay Rs 16,000 as donation were not allowed to enter the venue.
Maharaja Grand, one of the most lavish resorts in the city, had all the arrangements for a sumptuous feast worth Rs 1,700 per plate for elite families and were given honour to do maha-aarti without any long queues or rush.
People who had life membership of ISKCON (International Society for Krsna Consciousness), an international society and the main organisers of the event with Rath Yatra Committee, were also not allowed to enter the venue without paying a donation of Rs 16,000 or more.