Kolkata: Chief Minister prayed for world peace while inaugurating the Rath Yatra festival organised by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in Kolkata on Saturday.She pulled the rope and marked the beginning of the seven-day festival. “Religion is personal but people from every faith take part in the festival of peace and harmony,” she maintained.Thousands of people gathered at the Radha Govinda temple on Albert Road to pull the rope which is considered to be extremely auspicious on Rath Yatra. Indranil Sen, Minister of State for Information and Cultural Affairs, Rajeev Kumar, Kolkata Police Commissioner, Moon Moon Sen and Subrata Bakshi, party MPs and Debashis Kumar, Member, Mayor-in-Council (Parks and Squares) were present at the inaugural function. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe Rath will reach maidan where a temporary mashir bari (aunt’s house) has been set up via Sarat Bose Road, Hazra Road, Asutosh Mookerjee Road and Jawaharlal Nehru Road. There will be week-long celebrations at Maidan where there will be religious discourses on Srimad Bhagavatam, kirtans and bhajans in which devotees of the ISKCON who have come from all over the world will take part.ISKCON has been celebrating the Rath Yatra in Kolkata for the past 46 years. It was started on July 12, 1972, in which Bhagavan Prabhupada was present along with his Western devotees like Jaipataha Swami and Achyutananda Swami. While Prabhupada sang Hare Krishna Mahamantra, Jaipataka Swami played the cymbals and Achyutananda Swami played the drums. It was the first time when Kolkatans saw Western devotees dancing and chanting Hare Krishna. Also Read – Naihati: 10 councillors return to TMC from BJPThe Rath Yatra festival was observed with great enthusiasm at Mayapur. Lakhs of people coming from different caste, creed and religion pulled the rope and enjoyed prasadam served by the ISKCON monks.Rath Yatra festival was also observed at Mahesh in Hooghly district where thousands of devotees pulled the rope. There is a fair organised along GT Road where elaborate police arrangements have been made for smooth manoeuvre of the Rath.In Balaram mandir, a unit of Ramakrishna Mission, hundreds of devotees pulled the rope. A special puja was also observed. Swami Vagishanandaji, one of the presidents of Ramakrishna Math and Mission pulled the rope to mark the beginning of the festival. It may be recalled the Sri Ramakrishna had pulled the rope of the chariot along with his devotees over a century ago at Balaram Basu’s house which is now known as Balaram Mandir.