for Asian News (UK) on Oct. 4, 2008
HUNDREDS of Hare Krishna devotees celebrated the festival of Rathayatra over the weekend.
The devotees from across the UK descended into Manchester's Cathedral Gardens where they played devotional music.
This was followed by a carnival procession where a colourful chariot carrying the Lord Jagannath was pulled by hand through the city streets, accompanied by members of the Indian community who were drumming, dancing and chanting.
The festival then culminated in a Gouranga - where devotees and members of the public where invited to feast on delicious Indian cuisine.
The event was organised by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness based in Whalley Range, Manchester.
Rathayatra which originates in Jagannatha Puri on the east coast of India dates back over 2,000 years.
It is a major Hindu festival associated with Lord Jagannath - who is considered amongst Vaishnavas to be a a very merciful form of Krishna and the festival commemorates Krishna's return to his home in Vrindavan after a long period of separation from the people there.
The festival has become a common sight in most major cities of the world since 1968 through the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) movement and now takes place on an annual basis in places all over the world in over 100 cities including London, Montreal, Paris, New York, Toronto and Venice.