Ratha Yatra Festival Vedic Village ISKCON Melbourne 2011

iskcon.net.au Sri Sri Jagannatha, Balarama and Subhadra Devi from ISKCON Melbourne Mahaprabhu Mandir take a limousine ride to St Kilda, board their waiting chariot and are pulled by the joyful crowd to their Temple for the day at the Vedic village in the Catani Gardens. After a 30 year break, St Kilda hosted the Festival of the Chariots. The Grand Chariot Parade started on Fitzroy St and toured the St Kilda Festival grounds, and arrived at the Vedic Village. There was live entertainment, yoga, cooking classes, dance, theatrical sketches, and kirtan (participative singing meditations). The Ratha Yatra, or the Festival of the Chariots is perhaps the oldest continuously celebrated spiritual festival in the world. As far back as human records and memory extend, the splendidly decorated chariots of Jagannatha (‘Master of the Universe’ in Sanskrit) have rolled each summer in the town of Puri on the Bay of Bengal in India, to the delight of millions of joyous pilgrims. Their towering red-and-blue silken canopies rise into the sky as drums and cymbals resound in joyous celebrations. People young and old, their eyes bright with excitement sing and dance in the street, as if swimming in an ocean of overwhelming happiness. Over forty years ago, Hare Krishna devotees brought this tradition to the streets of over 100 big and small cities around the world, including Tokyo, Dublin, Belfast, Birmingham, London, Budapest, New York, Montreal, Paris, Moscow, Singapore, Toronto, Antwerp
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