Sawari - Celebrating With GOD


Raja Raibahadur Shewbuxjee Bagla started the Holi procession or Shobhayatra or Sawari of Shree Shree Iswar Satyanarayanji and other Deities in Calcutta in 1883. Till 1889, the procession lasted only for one day where the Gods took a round of the Burabazzar area of Kolkata, on palanquin lifted by Raja Shewbuxjee and his family, and came back to the Temple by the evening. After purchasing their house in 1889 in Howrah, the procession began four- five days before Holi, on Dashmi and lasted till the day before Holika Dahan.

Kumar Gangadharji brought some changes in the procession by replacing the palanquins by horse driven chariots. Soon it was replaced by a gold silver chariot buil on top of the vintage Minerva Car, later transferred onto a Packard. In 1935, Kumar acquired Rolls Royce Silver Ghost solely for the procession and installed a lavish ‘Singhasan’ made of gold and silver on the car for Shree Shree Iswar Satyanarayanjee and other Deities. Since then, this has been the Sawari of the Gods.

Video Courtesy:- Sukanta Pal



The Deities are taken in their Rolls Royce in a spectacular mile long procession, followed by cchariots carrying huge pictures of the Moulmein and Varanasi Deities and three cars carrying the pictures of the Founder Raja Rai Bahadur Shewbuxi Bagla, Kumar Gangadharji Bagla and Satyanaryan Bagla respectively on their roofs. Dressed men carrying different flags, musical trucks playing Bhajans throughout the journey and Devotees dancing all the way are also the part of the procession.

The Procession is headed by 100 years old Nagar Khana. The procession passes through Cotton Street, East Rabindra Sarani, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Mullick Street, Jamunalal Bajaj Street, Netaji Subhas Road, Howrah Bridge to Mukhram Kanoria Road, Temple where the deities take abode for 3-4 days.

On the day just preceding the Holika Dahan the procession returns to the Temple through Howrah Bridge, Mahatma Gandhi ROad, Nalini Sett Road, Manohardas Street, Sir Hariram Goenka Street, Burtalla Lane, Burtalla Gali and Kalakar Street. The return is equally elaborate and colorful with Holi colours all over the sky and people dancing with even more energy and faith.

For the festivals of the Deities the Howrah premises is fully repainted since a month ahead and vastly illuminated. In the special halls Theistic exhibition by clay models of Krishna Lila, Ram Lila and Shree Satyanarayanjee Lila are exhibited besides the several procession chariots.


On the occasion, morning puja after wearing yellow silk pitambary is performed by the Trustees and Shebayets and their family members. There are five aartis, performed by the Pujariji, Trustees and family members and other devotees. These occur at fixed timings with three in the first half of the day starting from 5.30 am, 7.30 am, 11.00 am after which the Gods take rest, and again at 7.00 pm and the last one at 10.30 pm. In the evening the time between the two Aartis are filled with Bhajans and dances by all the devotees. Prasad is distributed to all after the last Aarti and everyone including the Gods rest for the night after this.

Its truly a one of a kind celebration where Bhagwanjee themselves come to rejoice with the Devotees.