Contact:JANICE WLOCH 215.287.8433(c); 215-426-4039(h)
India’s Unique Parade of Chariots Returns to Philadelphia for the 7th Year
The Hare Krishna Community Celebrates an Ancient Traditional Parade & Festival
|WHAT:||ISKCON Ratha Yatra Parade of Chariots & Krishna’s Bhakti Fest|
|WHERE:||Parade: Benjamin Franklin Parkway – from Love Park to Art Museum
Festival: Eakin’s Oval in front of Philadelphia Art Museum
|WHEN:||Saturday, September 22, 2012
Parade: 12:00PM to 1:30PM
Festival: 1:30PM to 7:00PM
Philadelphia – On Saturday, September 22, 2012, the City of Brotherly Love will once again experience the lively sights and sounds of the ancient Indian cultural parade known as the Ratha Yatra Parade of Chariots. This event is sponsored by the Philadelphia chapter of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and will feature a vibrant procession from Love Park to the Philadelphia Art Museum, culminating in the entertaining and informative Krishna’s Bhakti Fest.
Several thousand festival-goers will have the unique opportunity to participate in the parade by helping to hand-pull the 40-foot high traditional Indian chariots, which will be carrying the Deity forms of Krishna. The giant chariots will be accompanied by bagpipers, singers, drummers, dramatic characters, and dancers of all ages. The performers will be dressed in festive Indian attire. The public is encouraged to participate in the parade.
At Eakin’s Oval, where the procession comes to an end, revelers will participate in Krishna’s Bhakti Fest, an international traveling exhibition of India’s rich culture and deep spiritual traditions. The site will be decorated with a host of tents offering delicious Indian delicacies, yoga demonstrations, mantra meditation, and philosophical discussions, craft markets, spiritual literature, children’s activities, family fun and more. Vendors will be selling beautiful saris, aromatic incense, books and exotic Indian jewelry at the various booths dotting the site. The entire family will be entertained by the many events and activities scheduled throughout the day.
One of the most popular attractions of the festival will be the complimentary vegan/ vegetarian feast that will be provided for the thousands of guests. An expected 6,000 people will be served a free mouthwatering lunch of Indian cuisine.
“This Ratha Yatra Festival will be an exciting East-meets-West experience for the greater Philadelphia community,” explains festival coordinator Vishnugada dasa. “It is a celebration of the common spirituality that unites us all.”
The traditional Jagannatha Ratha Yatra is an over 5,000 year-old celebration, observed in the ancient holy city of Jagannatha Puri in Orissa, India. It is one of the oldest street festivals in the world. The procession features the sacred Deity of Krishna, known as Jagannatha, or Lord of the Universe, seated on a large chariot and hand-pulled in a lively procession accompanied by traditional Kirtan (sacred sound of devotion) and dancing.
Ratha Yatra in the Unites States
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness, first brought the festival to the West in 1967. This first Ratha Yatra Festival outside of India took place in San Francisco. Today, ISKCON chapters worldwide continue this custom in their respective cities.
ISKCON, or The International Society for
Krishna Consciousness Popularly known as the Hare Krishna Movement, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is a worldwide confederation of more than 400 temples, 100 vegetarian restaurants, and a wide variety of community projects. ISKCON belongs to the Gaudiya-Vaishnava sampradaya, or denomination, a monotheistic tradition within the broad Hindu culture. In 1965, at the age of 70, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada journeyed alone from India to America, to bring the teachings of Krishna West. On July 11, 1966, ISKCON was officially registered in New York City. Srila Prabhupada passed away in 1977. This nonsectarian, monotheistic movement’s mission is to advance the well-being of society by promoting the science of Krishna consciousness. To that end, Srila Prabhupada enunciated ISKCON’s mission statement in seven purposes.
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The Seven Purposes of ISKCON