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First Ratha Yatra Festival in Adelaide, Australia

By: for ISKCON News on Jan. 29, 2014

Joyful devotee children leading the first Ratha Yatra parade in Adelaide, Australia

For the first time ever ISKCON Adelaide Hare Krishna Temple celebrated Jagannath Ratha Yatra (Jagannath Chariot Festival) on Sunday 26th January as part of the Australia Day celebration which included a parade, concert & fireworks.

Jagannath or the Lord of the Universe is a very merciful form of Krishna and can be easily identified by His big round eyes, huge smile from ear to ear and stunted limbs. He was placed on a chariot and was hand-drawn by about 50 delightful devotees.

Men and women in their traditional Vaishnava attire sang kirtans glorifying the Lord. At the appropriate time the chariot began to move to loud chants of 'Jai Jagannath' with children in their prams leading the parade reflecting a family-friendly mood.

The kirtan was led by Ramai Swami who kept the crowd spellbound with his vocal expertise. 

The chariot began in Franklin Street and after passing through the city's main King William Road ended in Elder Park. About
50,000 people cheered on as the chariot wound its way through the streets. 

Ratha Yatra originates in Jagannatha Puri on the east coast of India and dates back thousands of years. It is India's biggest festival held to commemorate Krishna's joyful return to his home in Vrindavan after a long period of separation from the people there. Over a million pilgrims gather at Puri in the state of Orissa during June or July to haul gigantic chariots through the main street, the air filling with the reverb of metal gongs, meditative chanting and the blowing of conch shells and trumpets. 

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