By Radha Mohan Das
London’s Ratha Yatra illuminates the city
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Londonâ€™s ‘Ratha-yatraâ€™ Festival of Chariots returned to the streets of the capital on Sunday 20th June 2010. London was 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 devotees from all over the world hand-pulled 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 were accompanied by a procession of singers, musicians, and dancers. Among them were eight ISKCON sannyasis. London pulsated to Indian spiritual sounds with instruments from across the globe.
At Trafalgar Square, where the procession concluded, families enjoyed cultural and educational displays and exhibitions, revealing the spiritual heart of Vaishnavism. Revellers participated in lively workshops, sample music, food, and literature, or try sari-draping and face-painting. From the stage, festival-goers were treated to traditional temple dance, drama, and music. In addition to all this, free prasad was added to a special family outing. It was indeed a feast for the eyes, ears and the palate!
UK Ratha Yatra Website: www.rathayatra.co.uk