Ram Rath Yatra In The U. S. And Its Significance For Hindus

Ram Rath Yatra In The U. S. And Its Significance For Hindus June 2, 2024

Bhagwan (God) Ram in Hinduism is one of the most revered and beloved deities. Ram is believed to be the seventh avatar of the God Vishnu, the preserver in the Hindu Trinity. We write about the Ram Rath Yatra (RRY) across the United States and the heightened historical significance of the Pran Pratishtha ( consecration) of Ram Lalla Mandir (temple) in Ayodhya, India. The photo shows Prime Minister Modi during the globally watched Pran Pratishtha on January 22, an earlier topic in the Patheos.

We describe RRY, its brief history, and Ram Lalla’s multi-dimensional significance (spiritual/religious, cultural, and political).  The photos celebrating RRY from three Mandirs in Minnesota are included. The author visited Milan Hindu Mandir on May 24 in rural Farmington, MN.

A glimpse of the highlights of the breathtaking and historical RRY in Mandirs across the United States is available as a video from Bharat Media LLC.


The Rath is “chariot” and Yatra translations include  “journey,” “procession,” or “pilgrimage.” The combined phrase Rath Yatra holds a greater significance in Hindu traditions. It is a pilgrimage that involves a procession of Bhagwan Murtis (deities) in chariots through the streets. The largest Rath Yatra celebration happens annually at the Jagannath Temple in Puri, India. However, Hindu communities globally have local Rath Yatra for different festivals/Gods.


The author published elsewhere how RRY and the emanating Ram Jyoti parallel the Olympic torch. The significance of RRY for Hindus is similar to the Olympic torch for athletes and sports enthusiasts. The ancient Olympic games were primarily a part of a religious festival in honor of Zeus, the father of the Greek gods and goddesses originating in Olympia, Greece. Likewise, the RRY, a celebration of the Hindu god Ram is linked with his birthplace Ayodhya, Bharat. In the earlier article, the author contended that RRY/Ram Jyoti deserves a place in the Guinness Book with its expansive travel in time and distance and religious/spiritual significance for Hindus globally.


The modern rath in America was an adorned Honda Odyssey minivan with Ram Lalla murti (statue) secured in the trunk. Ram Rath is shown below carrying special ‘Prasad‘ (blessed offerings), a ‘Kalash‘ (container) of the Prana Pratishtha, and ‘Akshat‘ (sacred rice) from Ayodhya. About an hour-long puja (religious protocol) was performed in each Mandir and the Prasad and Akshat were shared with the devotees. The ceremony included the procession of Ram Lalla and symbolic Pran Pratishtha for the community celebration.


The RRY started in Chicago, symbolizing Ayodhya, for the Hindu faithful across America. The RRY pilgrimage began on March 23, the auspicious day of HOLI, the festival of colors for Hindus signifying togetherness and equality as a community.

What was planned to be a 60-day expedition covering more than 16,000 miles grew by the day as more Mandirs expressed interest in hosting RRY for their devotees. It is worth mentioning that Canada had its version of RRY thus making it a North American event.

After the puja and Pran Pratishtha, each Mandir received a divine certificate for participation and a poster of Ram Lalla from Ayodhya. The photos below are from the Milan Hindu Mandir.



The General Secretary of VHPA, Amitabh Mittal, told the author on May 24 that Ram Rath Yatra had already traveled more than 22,200 miles. Since leaving Chicago, the team has visited over 850 Mandirs across the United States. The RRY still had more temples in MN and WI before heading back to Chicago with concluding celebrations of the Divine journey on May 26. Mittal pointed out that the RRY originating from Chicago is historically the first in which Ram Lalla (Baby Ram) was on the pilgrimage.

Mittal said that Bhagwan Ram traveled to Alaska by air and the expansive travel by road. The determination and stamina of Ram Bhaktas (devotees) representing VHPA on the road are incredible. It is their undeterred devotion and faith in Bhagwan Ram and service to Hinduism and the larger communities. Imagine yourself visiting on an average 14 Mandirs, driving about 370 miles, performing puja, and meeting different people each day for two months.

It was an incredible feat for VHPA and its team members. The author observed enthusiasm and excitement among the devotees at Milan Hindu Mandir. Everyone felt very blessed with Ram Lalla’s presence; different and special that day. It is hard to imagine any difference among devotees in all other Mandirs.


Minnesota is home to many Hindu Mandrs extending from Moorhead in the West, bordering North Dakota,  to Rochester in the East, bordering Wisconsin. On March 24-25, RRY had seven of these Mandirs on their list. it had morning rendezvous at the Hindu Temple of Fargo-Moorhead, afternoon at the Hindu Temple in Maple Grove, and late evening at the Minnesota Hindu Milan Mandir.

The author attended RRY at the Hindu Milan Mandir. The devotee crowd varied depending on the time of the day and the number of Hindus in that community.  The photos below show RRY ceremonies in three Mandirs on May 24 where the author is affiliated.

Hindu Milan Mandir:

The author had an opportunity to interact with the Mandir’s President, Prabhat Tekriwal. When asked about the motivation for RRY, he said, ” Provide an opportunity to Milan congregants, including the Guyanese Hindus, to experience Pran Pratishtha that transpired on January 22, 2024, in Ayodhya (India).” According to him, the biggest benefits of RRY to the devotees were, “Unity, unitedness and connection” with Ram Lalla.

Tekriwal narrated the unique experiences as follows.

(a) The Ram Lalla Murti, Akshat (Divine rice), and Prasad (traditional spherical sugar granules) from Ayodhya to Milan Mandir.

(b) Ram devotees pouring their hearts during Arati time followed by Sashtang Pranam (prostrating with eight limbs) and donation offering was a momentous occasion for him, and

(c) Personal gratitude and opportunity to officially conduct the “priestly” role nearly six decades after he saw the first light of the day on Rama Navami in Bharat.

A short video clip (courtesy of Anamika Bharadwaj) shows the procession welcoming Ram Lalla from the Rath to the Milan Mandir.  Selected photos include Tekriwal receiving the Certificate of Participation (above left), Ram Lalla in the Milan Mandir with the Kalash behind it, and the VHPA team members self-serving food before heading to Rochester, MN.


Hindu Mandir at Maple Grove:

The largest Mandir in Minnesota hosted RRY around mid-day on May 24. A large crowd flanked the Mandir even in the middle of the day indicating their devotion to Bhagwan Ram.   One of the photos shows the Pran Pratishtha ceremony of Ram Lalla across the permanent mini Ram Mandir.


Fargo-Moorhead Hindu Temple: 

The newest Mandir physically located in Moorhead, MN serves the Hindu community in greater North Dakota and western Minnesota. It was a proud host of RRY in the morning hours on May 24. The photo on the left shows Swati Kumar and Leela Sivanna holding Ram Lalla Murti. The photo below shows Sivanna performing Ram Lalla’s special puja. In a brief chat on the phone, she said that doing Puja that day was an honor and a huge blessing for her. She had prepared a flower garland for Ram Lalla but a Divine calling inspired her to prepare Halwa Prasad (made of cream of wheat).

Kumar, the Mandir President, was instrumental in getting RRY to visit the Mandir. In one of her messages on May 23, she rightfully called RRY “a lifetime opportunity” to visit “our own (FM) temple.”  The devotees of the Pran Pratishtha of Ram Lalla were thrilled about the opportunity. More photos of RRY are available on their website.




Ayodhya, Ram’s birthplace, with the newly constructed Ram Mandir signifies a joyous victory for all Hindus.  It is a victory after a bitter battle of nearly 500 years since the then-Jihadists ruling India built a mosque over Ram Temple. At last, the Hindus can take pride that their Ram Lalla is back where He belongs.

The political leadership of the Modi-Yogi team deserves credit in the present. Nevertheless, the lion’s share of credit is due to Lal Krishna Advani and Ashok Singhal. The former for leading the first Ram Rath Yatra in 1990 and the latter for razing the Babri Mosque with many Hindu warriors in 1992. Without their leadership for regaining the Ram Janma Bhoomi (Land of Ram’s birthplace), Ram Lalla Mandir would not have been a reality.

The then governments subdued the agitations during the 1990s but the underneath flame never died. Consequently, the BJP continued its steady political rise with two successive terms for Modi in 2014, and 2019, and the third unstoppable victory in 2024.  Regrettably, the highly biased Western media labels the BJP as the Hindu Nationalist Party while it is very secular and principled.

The BJP has revived Hindu pride in an ancient Hindu nation but the Western media mistakenly interprets it as anti-Muslim. Today’s Bharat strives to have all religious communities live peacefully and harmoniously. The consecration of Ram Lalla Mandir was a historical moment for Hindu pride globally.  The media in the West neither accepts the facts nor honors the decision by the highest court in India.

Concluding Thoughts:

Hindu faith (Aastha) in Ram peaked to unprecedented heights since the grand opening of the magnificent Ram Mandir. It orchestrated as many religious sentiments as the rhetorical arguments for the 2024 elections in Bharat.  The chanting of Jai Shri Ram in the political rallies invoked deeper ‘Aastha’ in Bhagwan Ram and votes for the BJP.

The RRY in the United States made every proud with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness Ram Lalla in their Mandir. Jai Shri Ram.


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