A golden coloured chariot that passed by the busy Kamarajar Salai on Monday morning attracted a lot of attention.

A large number of school and college students and dignitaries gathered near Gandhi Statue, the Marina Beach, to pay tribute to the Swami Vivekananda Ratham that entered the city.

Visitors to the Marina Beach also joined in as the chariot that had visited places across the State entered Chennai. Organised jointly by Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Gandhi Peace Foundation and Gandhi Integral Forum Trust, the event aimed to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Vivekananda and take his teachings to the people.

Several dignitaries, including U.S. Consul-General in Chennai Jennifer McIntyre, Consul-General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Chennai Stefan Weckbach, the Prince of Arcot, Nawab Mohammed Adbul Ali, and Madras High Court judge V. Ramasubramanian paid floral tributes.

Mr. Stefan Weckbach said he was proud to be part of the celebrations and it provided an opportunity to learn about his teachings. Mr. Abdul Ali said the yatra would help to refresh, for the younger generation, the messages of Swami Vivekananda and inspire them to lead a simple life.

Gitasarananda, co-ordinator of the event, said the procession that started in Coimbatore in April covered over 23,000 km and reached out to 19.56 lakh people. “We plan to cover 100 km on the first day in Chennai. The ratham will stop at Porur, Anna Nagar and Adyar before completing its journey on January 8,” he said.

Women’s initiative

To reach out to women on Swami Vivekananda’s vision for them, a group of eminent women have formed ‘Swami Vivekananda 150 Women’s Initiative.’

Renowned danseuse Padma Subrahmanyam launched the logo and website of the initiative, www.sv150wi.org, here on Monday. SV150WI seeks to create awareness of the spirit of Indian womanhood.

As an effort to make women to realise national and global responsibilities, SV150WI will host a women’s conclave on January 23 at Narada Gana Sabha, according to Akhila Srinivasan, vice-chairperson of the organising committee and managing director, Shriram Life Insurance Company.

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