Rath Yatra is a huge festival for Lord Krishna and His devotees. It is an extraordinary chariot festival that originates in Jagannatha Puri on the east coast of India that dates back over 2,000 years and is celebrated every year on the second day of shukla pakshya of the Ashadh Maas.
The festival of Rath Yatra has at present become a common sight in the major cities since 1967 when Srila Prabhupada introduced Rath Yatra to the west in 1967 in San Fransisco. Since then, Rath Yatra is celebrated by devotees of Lord Krishna all over the world and it’s one ISKCON’s biggest street festival.
The deities – Lord Jagannatha, Lord Balarama and Goddess Subhadra along with Sudarshana, the celestial wheel are taken to the respective chariots followed by an elaborate ritual procession. The original inner meaning of Ratha Yatra is extremely beautiful which can be explained in brief.
In this auspicious time, Lord Krishna grew up in Vrindavan and used to enjoy a great loving friendship with all the residents present there. It also included the cowherd boys and girls. When Krishna grew elder, he came to be known as the King and moved away. After several years, the residents of Vrindavan went to meet him. There he seemed to be so different to them that he was kidnapped.
Then, he was brought back to Vrindavan by a cart. They all enjoyed being with Krishna in this way which provided the best feeling of simultaneous loving emotion associated with separation and closeness. Hence, the festival of Rath Yatra is considered to be a modern expression of this particular pastime.
At TODU, their Lordships will all travel on one cart together and just like the ancient days, all devotees will gather in front of one chariot and will pull together. All the way through the procession, there will be melodious singing, kirtans, chanting and dancing to mrdangas and kartals. The festival will end with stage shows and delicious vegetarian feast.
Rath Yatra procession will usually be held during the month of December, during Christmas holidays at TODU. Procession will depart at 530PM from the entrance of the temple, and Their Lordships on the Rath will be travelling around the district of Seberang Jaya, distributing their loving glance to everyone before arriving back at TODU.
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