London’s Ancient Festival of Chariots
Radha Mohan Das:
When: Sunday 20th June 2010
Where: Hyde Park Corner to Trafalgar Square
Time: Procession starts 12 noon from Hyde Park, South Carriage Drive
Arrival Trafalgar Sq. 2.30pm
Festival ends 5.30pm
London’s ‘Ratha-yatra’ Festival of Chariots returns to the streets of the capital on Sunday 20th June 2010. London will be illuminated by the wonderful colours and sounds of the annual Hare Krishna festival, a vibrant celebration of Indian culture and spirituality in our city.
Thousands of festival-goers, pilgrims, and faith leaders from all over the world will hand-pull the three 40-foot high colourful chariots carrying the sacred deities of Lord Jagannatha, Lady Subhadra and Lord Balarama from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square. The giant chariots will be accompanied by a procession of singers, musicians, and dancers. London will pulsate to Indian spiritual sounds with instruments from across the globe.
At Trafalgar Square, where the procession concludes, the whole family can enjoy cultural and educational displays and exhibitions, revealing the spiritual heart of India. Revellers can participate in lively workshops, sample music, food, and literature, or try sari-draping and face-painting. From the stage, festival-goers will be treated to traditional temple dance, drama, and music. In addition to all this, free sumptuous Indian vegetarian cuisine will add to a special family outing. It will indeed be a feast for the eyes, ears and the palate!
This Festival of Chariots, Ratha-yatra, is a celebration dating back over 5000 years, annually observed in the ancient holy city of Jagannatha Puri in Orissa, India, making it the oldest street festival in the world. Devotees believe that if they get the honour of pulling the ropes of the giant chariot, carrying Lord Krishna, known as Jagannatha ― Lord of the Universe, then, at the end of this life, they will be granted eternal service to the Lord in the spiritual world.
Titikshu Das, Co-ordinator of London Carnival of Chariots says: “Each year, we aim to make the Festival of the Chariots a more vibrant and colourful festival for London. Now over forty years on, it’s amazing to see yet another generation of Londoners enjoying the Ratha-Yatra celebrations here in our capital”.
East meets West
This ancient festival was brought to western shores by His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami, founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. The first Ratha-yatra festival outside of India took place in San Francisco in 1967. This festival came to London in 1969, where it has been faithfully observed every year for over 40 years attracting more than 30,000 people throughout the day.
For public enquiries contact:
The Radha Krishna Temple, 10 Soho Street London W1V 5DA Tel: 020 7437 3662
For media enquiries:
Images available upon request
Varsana devi dasi
Tel: 01923 852819 / 07788453756
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