Puri: With Lord Jagannath’s image on his T-shirt and forehead smeared with sandalwood paste, Ram Lakshman Das from Thailand was only too happy to soak in Rath Yatra festivities in Puri.
He was in the Holy Town with five of his friends and it was their maiden visit.
Being an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna, he had changed his name to Ram Lakshman Das and likewise, his lady friend introduced herself as Kishori Devdasi with a tinge of pride.
The excitement was palpable as the group went around, visibly impressed with the ongoing preparations for the grandest festival of Odisha.
“We are mesmerized by the feeling the festival creates. So many people, so much devotion and the beautiful chanting all around,” Kishori said.
They have been organising their own mini Rath Yatra in Thailand every year. “We decided to travel to Puri to witness the celebration and make our festival back home better. I hope someday we can also draw such huge crowd,” said Ram Lakshman.
They had their chariot festival a week ago so they could immerse themselves in the aura of Lord Jagannath’s abode.
Speaking about their feelings attached to the Lord, he said, “We keep chanting ‘Hare Krishna’ and believe that it is He who runs the universe. There is no other truth but Him.”
Strolling through Puri’s meandering lanes, they also tasted some local cuisines. “I really enjoyed Gulab Jamun, Khaja, Rabdi and Samosa here. Food is so essential. If only we could cook the food similar to that prepared in the temple kitchen,” Kishori said.