Traditionally held in Puri, eastern India, where millions of people sing and dance in the procession, the Rathayatra or Festival of Chariots now takes place in cities all over the world.
Here in Sydney, the Festival will be held on 14 July. It begins in Bigge Park, followed by a street parade in the main streets in Liverpool. It will be celebrated in a grand manner showcasing the best of Indian culture—dance, drama, music, colourful festivities and free delicious vegetarian snacks.
The festival truly represents what it means to live harmoniously in a multicultural society, increasing awareness of Indian culture/art and to promote peace and harmony among local communities.
Everyone is welcome to join, irrespective of background, colour, caste or religion. It is a very vibrant festival and celebrates the harmony of different cultures coming together, through dance, music, delicious vegetarian food, yoga, meditation.
Befitting the religious sentiment of its origins, the Rathayatras reach out to the wider community and generate greater awareness and interest in India, its age-old traditions and the unity in its amazing diversity. Rathayatra is a procession of Lord Krishna in his form of Jagannatha. He has large eyes and features which seem to display symptoms of ecstatic bliss. Lord Jagannatha, together with His brother Lord Baladeva and His sister, Lady Subhadra, are pulled through the streets on chariots.
The Vedic scriptures state that anyone who sees Lord Jagannatha or pulls His chariots achieves immense spiritual benefit, attaining liberation from the material world and entrance into the eternal blissful pastimes of the Lord. Anyone who has experienced the Rathayatra has surely experienced ecstasy. Srila Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON, organised the first Ratha Yatra in the Western world in 1967 in San Francisco. This festival now takes place in cities all over the world.
Join the festival at Sri Sri Radha-Gopinatha Temple, Sydney, 180 Falcon Street, North Sydney. Tel: 9959 4558. For more details, contact Govardhana Das 9601 0290 or Ananda Moya Das 0412 474 295; Those interested in mediation, yoga, kirtan, bhajans, and Bhagavat-Gita reading sessions can also call at these numbers