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Indian Sights Bring Delight to Sydney Residents
By Shery Demian   |  Jul 12, 2008

One of the oldest and most important Indian celebrations was held in the Liverpool CBD [Sydney, Australia] last Saturday when about 4000 people attended Rathayatra, the Festival of Chariots.

It was the second year the festival had been held in Liverpool and organisers said it could become an annual event.

A parade started in Bigge Park at 10am and wound its way along Moore, George and Northumberland streets with bright colours, traditional Indian dances and singing.

Two eight-metre ropes were used by participants to pull a 10-tonne truck with a ceremonial float on top.

The sounds of Indian instruments echoed through the streets as the procession wound back to Bigge Park at 1.30pm for a stage show.

Classical dancers entertained the crowd and vegetarian cuisine of rice, curry, halwa and chutney was available.

A number of small stalls were also set up with books about Indian deities.

Govardhana Dasa, a member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, which organised the event, said the good weather helped everyone enjoy themselves.

The group displayed a model of a cultural centre it plans to build in western Sydney.

“The area is very convenient, the train is close by, and many people of our community live here,” Mr Dasa said.

The festival has been celebrated for thousands of years and organisers say it commemorates Lord Krishna’s love for his devotees.

The chariot procession represents the deity’s longing to reunite with the followers of the Hare Krishna faith.

“This festival is very important because it’s about maintaining our culture and passing it on to the younger generation to carry into the future,” Mr Dasa said.

“We want to thank the community for all their efforts, as well as Liverpool Police and the security.”

Liverpool City Council also sponsored the festival.

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