by Rasanandini dasi and Member Services Committee
(Publisher of FOLK – Friends of Lord Krishna Newsletter), Melbourne Hare Krishna Temple.
Now Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra have recovered from Their colds and returned quietly to Their altar. So when is Ratha Yatra? Mark Sunday February 13th. in your diary: “attend Melbourne’s first large scale Ratha Yatra Festival since 1976.”
This year Their Lordships will make Their way to the St. Kilda Festival, the second biggest free event in the southern hemisphere! There They will give Their darshana to 380,000 people. This is unprecedented in Melbourne! How fortunate can we be?
Each year we have taken Chota Jagannatha out on Ratha Yatra early in the New Year. That has always been a small intimate event where devotees carried Their palanquin and sang and danced for Them to their hearts’ content. But this year Their Lordships will be transported in style! A great festively painted chariot overflowing with floral arrangements will make its way at 11 am. from the corner of Jackson and Fitzroy Streets to Jacka Boulevard via Luna Park and on to its destination at Catani Gardens at 12:30pm.
Jagannatha Ratha Yatra offers us some truly special services: besides being able to pull the Lords in their Ratha, you may be Sweeper of the Road before Their cart.
Ratha Yatra will be a significant part of the St. Kilda Festival. We will establish a Vedic Village in Catani Gardens from 10am. till 8:30pm. to share Krishna conscious culture. It will include a small temple with a beautiful altar for Their Lordships and Srila Prabhupada.
Then there will be a stage for bhajans, kirtanas, drama, and a yoga meltdown; a prasadam tent; face painting for the kids. World-renowned chef Kurma Dasa also will give vegetarian master classes.
If you loved Gaura Vani & as Kindred Spirits last year, they will return for the festival to enthral us with their music! We are negotiating with outstanding performers and international guests including Gitanjali, and Holland’s Parividha Dasa to guarantee you a festival to remember.
Srila Prabhupada himself flew across the globe to attend Melbourne’s grand Ratha Yatra procession of 1974, and it was his strong desire that devotees here should continue this sacred tradition.
We look forward to seeing you there: make history, and bring your family and friends to join you. It promises to be a fun-filled day that will also make Srila Prabhupada very happy.