BOSTON– Boston chapter of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) will its annual Jagannatha Ratha Yatra festival on Aug. 19th at Boston Common in Boston.
Every year in the summer, one of the world’s largest and oldest festivals happens in India – the Ratha Yatra. A Sanskrit phrase, “Ratha Yatra” literally translates into English as “chariot procession.” As such, three richly decorated chariots, resembling temple structures, are pulled through the streets of the small coastal town of Puri in Eastern India. The chariots carry the original deities of Lord Jagannatha, his brother Lord Baladeva, and their sister Subhadra.
Starting at 11:30 AM on Aug 19th, a large chariot carrying the deities will make its way down Boylston Street, starting from 1 Cambria Street ( intersection of Boylston St. and Massachusetts Avenue) and culminating at the Boston Common Park, where a cultural festival near Park Street T station will follow.
The procession will be accompanied with an assortment of thunderous instruments, chanting, and dancing by Krishna devotees from all over New England. Followed by the procession, there will be series of cultural activities in the Boston Common Park and free sumptupous lunch will be served to all the attendees.
In 2017, about 4,000 people enjoyed the festival. This year, organizers expect five to six thousand people.
“The mood created will be no different to that in Puri India,” organizers of the event said in a statement. “The procession will be accompanied with an assortment of thunderous instruments, chanting, and dancing by Krishna devotees from all over New England.”
In Boston, congregation members from ISKCON have been taking a similar chariot out on the streets for almost three decades now.
ISKCON celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2016. This bhakti movement led by Swami Prabhupada introduced the spiritual science of devotional service to Lord Krishna to the west in 1966, when ISKCON was formally established as a non-profit. The movement has been growing in strides ever since, spreading the message of peace and eternal bliss through chanting and singing of the holy names of the Lord, distribution of vegetarian sanctified food, and distribution of spiritual knowledge.
The procession in Bosrton is open to all. Regardless of religious or cultural background, anyone and everyone has the opportunity and is encouraged to pull this special chariot.