By Paramatma das
ISKCON Guyana celebrated its 7th Georgetown Ratha-yatra on Saturday 29th June and Sunday 30th June, 2013.
On June 29th the chariot was drawn from the Better Hope Centre Ground to the Lusignan Tarmac on the East Coast of Demerara. And on Sunday 30th June from the Enmore Junction to the Lusugnan Tarmac. Each day the parade culminated with a grand religious and cultural stage program from 5:30 pm. Each day the hundreds of Hare Krishna members accompanied by villagers from adjoining villages paraded along the main East Coast highway from 3:00 pm. Special guest of honor was His Holiness Bhakti Sundar Maharaja from Caracas Venezuela and accompanied by His Grace Ajamil Das from India. Several hundred joined in the procession each day and the evening cultural program attracted two thousand.
Ratha-yatra has now become a yearly celebration for the past seven years in all three counties in Guyana, where many visitors from overseas, local Government Officials, the business community and the general public will attend. Present at last yearâ€™s Georgetown Ratha-yatra was the President and Prime Minister of the Republic of Guyana. The theme for this yearâ€™s festival is â€śCombating social and material problems with spiritualityâ€¦â€ť
Ratha Yatra is one of the biggest and most popular Religious and Cultural festivals held by ISKCON in Guyana, situated on the north eastern shoulder of the South American mainland, a country the size of Florida with a population of Âľ million people comprising six races.
There are three other Ratha-yatras scheduled for the summer in the other rural communities. The Berbice Ratha-yatra festival is on July 21. The Crabwood Creek festival on August 18 preceded by a two nights Bhagavat katha, and the Essequibo Ratha-yatra is scheduled for August 04. Special guests expected for these events will be His Holiness Romapada Swami and His Holiness Bhakti-bhusana Swami, His Grace Akrura Prabhu from Vancouver, as well as devotees from Trinidad. As a result of these festivals the people of Guyana are identifying more and more with ISKCON and they are coming to recognize Ratha-yatra as a festival that invokes auspiciousness for universal peace, harmony, brotherhood, and good will for humanity as well as all of Godâ€™s creatures.