Ratha Yatra in Juhu and Chennai


The Puri Ratha

Jan 17, USA (SUN) — By the mercy of His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhpuada, the Lord's Ratha Yatra procession can now be seen in cities, town and villages across the planet. The Ratha Yatra season stretches around the calendar, and a festival can be found somewhere in the world every month.

Last weekend, the Ratha Yatra was taking place in Juhu and Chennai, thanks to the efforts of ISKCON devotes in those locations. In an article from Bombay's Afternoon paper, we read:

The epics say that the gopis and other followers of Lord Krishna, in their ardent desire to get Lord Krishna from Kurukshetra back to Vrindavan, began pulling his chariot. The devotees of the Lord commemorate this event by celebrating the Rath Yatra festival. A chariot holding the idol of Lord Krishna along with his brother Shri Baldevji and their sister Smt Subhadra Devi, will proceed from 14 Societyís Ground next to Ritumbara College in Juhu and moving across various locations will return to the original spot before nightfall. On its journey, devotees will have the privilege of seeking the Lordís darshan.

This festival has been observed on the second day of the month of Ashad for centuries in Jagannath Puri Temple in Orissa where only Hindus are allowed within the templeís premises. Celebrated by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, (ISKCON), throughout the world on the same day that it is celebrated in Jagannath Puri, it was the enterprising Acharya His Devine Grace A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, the founder of this festival, who, in 1967 took this festival to San Francisco, and the rest of the world to enable everyone irrespective of caste, creed and religion to have the Lordís darshan and to be blessed.

For Mumbai, the yatra is still in its 26th year. The festival will continue for the second day, culminating on Sunday. Placed at the Juhu ground for the two days, there are a lot of activities held at the festival. Prayers, pravachans, classical dances and spiritual dramas are the highlights of this two-day Hare Krishna festival.

The pravachans will be delivered by senior ISKCON leaders, to help people pray and understand the purpose of our human forms of life."

Children dressed up as Krishna and Radha during the Chennai Ratha Yatra. - Photo: S. Thanthoni

The Hindu also described the Ratha Yatra that took place at Chennai this weekend, reporting that hundreds of devotees arrived for their 23rd annual Jagannath Ratha Yatra, which follows the lines of the Puri yatra.

Jayapataka Swami, Bhanu Swami, Bhakti Vragendra Nanda and Bhakti Vikas Swami were on board for the festival, along with a local dignitary from the Ahobila Math, Srimad Azhagiya Singar.

The large, brightly colored ratha cart, which is hydraulically operated, started off at the entrance of Kapaleeswarar Temple in Mylapore, and proceeded to the Kuchalambal Kalyana Mahal where festival programs were open to the public. The local City police commissioner pulled the rope to begin the grand procession.


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