Crowds at the ISKCON Auckland New Zealand Rath Yatra.
ISKCON Auckland, New Zealand, orchestrated a splendid series of Rath Yatras spanning from November 25 to December 16, 2023. This grand celebration magnetized thousands of people who assembled fervently around the majestic chariots carrying the Deities of Lord Jagannath, Baladeva, and Subhadra.
In 1976, Srila Prabhupada installed the deities of Lord Jagannath, Baladeva, and Subhadra in Auckland, and since that auspicious installation, the annual Rath Yatra, a festivity venerating the chariots of Their Lordships, has grown into a cherished tradition, attracting a diverse assembly of participants.
Kalasamvara Das, President and Chairman, ISKCON Auckland New Zealand, said, “Expanding Rath yatra had been a long desire of ours in Auckland as part of our outreach preaching strategy to reach the wider community. Seeing the many Xmas parades going on yearly and already having a smaller rathcart which would fit the purpose, we decided to approach the organizers of each place, and the rest is history.”
In addition to the Auckland Central Business District (CBD), or Auckland city center, which is the geographical and economic heart of the Auckland metropolitan area, the rathcart also traversed through suburbs and other cities like Orewa, Kumeu, Onehunga, Hamilton, and more.
Kalasamvara revealed, “We sometimes hold up to 12 Rathyatras within three weeks leading into Christmas, in addition to our annual big parade in the CBD. We also go to the suburbs and other cities around the North Island, giving darshan to a wider and more diverse public to experience Lord Jagannath and Harinam,” he continued, “It has been a major hit not only with the organizers who love to have us and invite us back yearly but to the people also who turned up in their thousands. On many occasions, we win the first prize.”
Most recently, they held a Kirtan Mela celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Sri Sri Radha Giridhari temple opening. Their next public event is Krishna Holi 2024. For more details about ISKCON Auckland, New Zealand, visit their website or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.
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