on Sept. 10, 2010
Lord Jagannath's cart rolls down Daytona Beach, past amazed sunbathers.
The forecast said that there would be heavy thunderstorms on August 28th, the date set for the Rathayatra parade at Daytona Beach, Florida. But that didn't stop the Rathayatra cart team from getting an early start on their way to the festival site.
Then, without warning, disaster struck. The truck began overheating and completely shut down. But driver Dharmaraj Dasa called Dharmatma Dasa, who has a similar truck, and within a few minutes he came to the rescue.
The crew finally arrived at the beach two and a half hours late, so there was no time to waste. But another calamity interrupted the proceedings. The truck and Jagannath’s cart sunk in the soft sand and wouldn’t move. The Lord was testing the devotees’ resolve. Rising to the challenge, they gathered half a dozen sunbathers to help—pushing the cart free and onwards to the parade’s starting point.
The race to prepare the carts began. The male devotees, including many ISKCON youth, worked feverishly, while the ladies wasted no time with the elaborate decorating process.
Finally, with everything ready, organizer Bhadra Dasa began the puja worship, while patrons, friends and supporters made their offerings to Their Lordships Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra.
“Jaya Jagannath! Jaya Jagannath!” they called out. And at last, the procession began.
Devotees danced and chanted jubilantly as bystanders smiled, waved and joined the celebration by pulling the carts and dancing along for the next two hours until they reached the festival site at Splash Park. There, Indian patrons and friends of Krishna served a wonderful feast to devotees and members of the general public alike.
And so, thanks to Bhadra, Dharamaraj, and their determined helpers, Daytona Beach Rathayatra was a great success against all odds.
View more photos of the Rathayatra here: