Rathayatra is celebrated by devotees of Lord Krishna all over the world. Lord Jagannatha, Lady Subhadra and Lord Balarama are the focus of the festival, which dates back many thousands of years, and each ride on a huge, wooden cart.
The extraordinary chariot festival originates in Jagannatha Puri on the east coast of India and dates back over 2,000 years. The story behind Rathayatra is during His time on this Earth, Krishna grew up in Vrindavana, and had great loving friendships there with all the residents, including the cowherd boys and girls.When Krishna grew up, He became King and moved away. After many years the residents of Vrindavana came to see Him, but He seemed so different to the mischievous cowherd boy they all knew and loved that they kidnapped Him and tried to bring Him back to Vrindavana on a cart. Being with Krishna like this they simultaneously felt the loving emotions of closeness and separation. The festival is a modern expression of this.
The Rathayatra will be held in London on 14 June 2015 for the 47th time. The parade will be from Hyde to Trafalgar Square. The procession will start at Hyde Park at noon, and reach Trafalgar Square at 2:30PM. The festival will continue there until 5:00PM. For further details see www.rathayatra.co.uk/london/. For other cities in the UK, the dates are as following:
Birmingham - Sunday 26 July
Cardiff - Saturday 1 August
Leicester - Sunday 2 August
Dublin - TBA Reading – TBA
Brighton - Sunday 13 Sept (TBC)
Plymouth – Saturday 3 October
Glastonbury – Sunday 4 October