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Witness a marriage of gods made on earth


Agra : Everybody in the city of the Taj is invited to the wedding. Almost everyone shows up – watching from the roadside, balconies, rooftops – as the wedding procession of Hindu god Ram moves through the lanes of Agra towards the make-believe kingdom of Janakpuri.

The three-day ‘Ram baraat’, which began Wednesday, has become a hugely popular event in Agra and in some ways has even eclipsed the Ramlila.

The baraat travels from the Ramlila ground, projected as the kingdom of Awadh, the kingdom of Ram, to so-called Janakpuri, capital of Raja Janak, father of goddess Sita. It covers a distance of 12 km through Agra.

On Wednesday thousands of men, women and children witnessed the show, eager for a glimpse of actors from Mathura and Vrindavan playing the part of the gods.

The procession of elephants, horses and ‘baraatis’ along with 100 odd tableaux exhibiting mythological characters as well as scenes with social and political messages was lustily cheered.

The Janakpuri this year has been built at the Awas Vikas colony. Artists from Kolkata and Jaipur as well as locals have helped transform the area into a virtual fairyland.

One of the organisers told IANS: “This year’s Janakpuri has broken all records in scale and magnitude.”

Ram and Sita will marry Thursday and King Janak will bid farewell to Sita Friday, bringing the event to an end.

Each year many actors vie for the role of Janak. The role is auctioned to the highest bidder.

The funds for Ram baraat is raised by locals. Corporate houses often make generous contributions. The municipal corporation ensures that the street lights, roads and other facilities used for the baraat are in good shape.