(David C. Photography.)
On Sunday 15 June, London's most famous landmarks were brought to life in a dazzling display of sound, music and colour, as thousands of devotees from across the country came to the streets of London's West End to celebrate the 46th annual Rathayatra festival.
Three beautifully decorated Rathayatra chariots carrying Lord Jagannatha, Lord Baladeva and Lady Subhadra, deities from ISKCON London's Soho Street temple, began their journey in Hyde Park and were pulled by hand to greet a huge gathering of devotees, visitors and tourists in the city's iconic Trafalgar Square.
North London MP Michael Freer, Mr S.S, Sidhu, Minister at the Indian High Commission, Atma Nivendana Maharaj and HG Jai Nitai Dasa, Temple president of ISKCON London took part in the opening ceremony of invoking auspiciousness and breaking of the coconuts in front of Lord Baladev's chariot.
After the street festival, the celebrations continued in Trafalgar Square, where visitors could sample plates of delicious free vegetarian prasad, visit a range of stalls as well as enjoy the vibrant stage show put on by devotees from temples across the country, which included classical Indian dances, soulful kirtan and a special performance of the Jagannathastakam by ISKCON Coventry. A total of over 20,000 plates of prasad were handed out in Trafalgar Square.
Rathayatra is the West End's biggest street festival, and the route takes the Lordships past some of London's most famous spots, including The Ritz, Piccadilly Circus and Nelson's Column. It was first celebrated in here in 1969, with the procession route running from Marble Arch to Trafalgar Square. This year marks 46 years of the Rathayatra festival in London.
Praghosa Dasa, UK GBC Secretary said:
"This year's Rathayatra was a resounding success, enjoyed by thousands of devotees, visitors, tourists and Londoners alike. It is a truly unique event in the city's calendar, bringing The Lord out to greet the city."
Speaking at the festival, Festival Organiser Titiksu Dasa, said:
'The joy of Rathayatra is incomparable. Seeing Lord Jagannath's cart being pulled through the streets of London by thousands of blissful devotees is awe inspiring. My sincerest gratitude goes to all those devotees, volunteers and donors who help make it possible.' Titiksu Das, Festival Organiser.
[ london ] [ lord-jagannatha ] [ ratha-yatra ] [ yatra ]