"Also in San Francisco, in 1967, Srila Prabhupada inaugurated Ratha-yatra, the Festival of the Chariots, one of several festivals that, thanks to him, people all over the world now observe. Ratha-yatra has taken place in India's Jagannatha Puri each year for two thousand years, and by 1975 the festival had become so popular with San Franciscans that the mayor issued a formal proclamation--"Ratha-yatra Day in San Francisco."
Science of Self-Realization, Foreward
Ratha Yatra is a yearly celebration of the original chariot festival of Jagannatha Puri in Orissa. This event marks Lord Krsna, in the form of Lord Jagannatha, traveling in the chariot with His brother, Lord Balarama and sister Subhardra.
Each year, the large Deities of Lord Jagannath, Baladev and Subhadra are transported from the temple, each to their own ratha cart. These enormous carts are then pulled along with ropes, giving all the devotees and people living nearby an opportunity to take darshan of the Deities, and to get the mercy of helping transport them on their way.
Srila Prabhupada established the yearly Ratha Yatra festival in the West, and the event is carried on by ISKCON centers throughout the world at various times of the year. Thousands - and sometimes tens of thousands of devotees join the procession, accompanying the Deities with ecstatic kirtans all along the parade route.
After the parade, the devotees provide a festive atmosphere called the Festival of India, where prasadam is distributed to many thousands of guests who come to see displays about Vedic culture, listen to music, watch dramatic presentations from Mahabharata, and generally enjoy Krsna Conscious culture.
On Ratha Yatra day, temple staff and congregational members cook enormous quantities of foodstuffs, and everyone gets to enjoy as much Krsna prasadam as they care to consume. For that reason, instead of presenting a Ratha Yatra feast here, we've included a simple menu called the “Ratha Yatra Tiffin”. These preps might be enjoyed by the devotees who travel long distances to get to the Ratha Yatra parade route. Our tiffins are packed with breakfast foodstuffs sure to give you great energy for a day of Jagannath kirtan and enthusiastic rope-pulling.
We start with a round of warm, moist Breakfast Samosas filled with golden scrambled curd and a spiced moong crumble. Fresh Fruit with Yoghurt Tahini offers seasonal fruits with a light, sesame-lemon sauce with ground nuts and aromatic spices. A bag of mixed Chidwah includes savory fried yam, nuts, raisins, boondis, and ginger. From the Jagannath Temple in Orissa, we offer an original recipe for Khaja, a sweet fried dough. Our Ratha Cart Khaja's are shaped like ratha carts wheels, golden crisp and sugared.
A chilled Date Milk goes perfectly with the sweets and savouries, and hot Spicy Ginger Tea takes off the morning chill as you head to a Ratha Yatra near you!