Sunday, June 14th – for one day a year in London, Hindus and guests of all faiths come together to celebrate Lord Jagganath’s yearly parade called Rathayatra by the thousands! Lord Jagganath comes of course with His entourage: His sister Lady Subahdra and brother Lord Baladeva, to see and bless all of humanity with His extra-large gazing eyes.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper, one of the top papers in London, covered the event the day after; putting a ½ page photo of the famous dressed up sister couple of Radha-Krishna for its audience of more than 500,000 people. The MP of Hendon Matthew Offord was in attendance, arriving back from Paris just before, but making it in time for viewing Lords on Their cart at Trafalgar Square.
This 47th annual Rathayatra was a little different than usual, as there was only one large cart (vs three) making its way through the city centre landmarks of London, due to an unforeseen circumstance by the organiser of the event. But one cart – or three, the sight of the Rathayatra was magnanimously seen throughout the streets, with a flood of devotees for a mile of each side of the cart! The procession began at 12:00 Hyde Park and made its way to Trafalgar Square by 14:00. The festival at Trafalgar Square was lasted until 17:00, full of tents and a large main stage sitting just beneath the famous Lord Nelson’s column. The column is a symbol of the victory of the British in the Napoleonic wars, and now a victory for diversity and Vedic culture!
It is a time when Hindus, especially members of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) reflect, appreciate and reaffirm their faith in their spiritual path of Bhakti Yoga (yoga of devotional service).
There was plenty of music, drums, and dancing as well as colourful attire all around for this celebration along the parade path and pouring into Trafalgar Square. Senior spiritual leaders in ISKCON such as H.H. Kadamba Kanana Swami and Kripamoya das led the enormous kirtan party, in old-school rock-styled melodies, accompanied by a drum set and bass guitarist. But don’t be mistaken: for this type of party is considered indeed service in their devotion to Lord Jagganath.
Attendance of the festival was estimated at 5,000 people on the procession, and about 30,000 people passed through the square through the afternoon. More than 13,000 free plates of vegetarian food consisting of: rice, paneer (fresh cheese) and chickpea vegetable dish, halvah (sweet semolina dish), srikon (pressed yogurt dish) and chutney as well as 20,000 drinks distributed to passer-byers, sponsored by the Hinduja Foundation.
There was also an array of modern and ancient mantra music, by artists such as Jahnavi Harrison, Ananda Monnet and Gopi Bhava; all artists who have their own albums in the devotional/mantra music area.
There were also stalls of different interactive sessions on meditation, kirtan and yoga as well as a children’s tent doing face painting (gopi-dots) for all who came through.
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For more photos and information for next year: Fb: London Rathayatra and ISKCON-London, Website: rathayatra.co.uk/
Media: Demotix:http://www.demotix.com/news/7864162/hare-krishnas-hold-46th-london-ratha-yatra-festival#media-7863641[ jagannatha ] [ london ] [ ratha-yatra ] [ uk ]