June 24.: Ratha-Yatra Festival of Chariots: Krishna-valley and India – guests of Budapest for a whole day  

Fodor Angol, NEWS, Sajtópont

Indian streetfood, ox cart procession from Krishna-valley, festival of music and dance, peace meditation, and a glimpse of the largest ecovillage in Hungary (for that matter, Europe). This is the programme of the Festival of Chariots this year.

Colourful tradition from India

Ratha-yātrā, i.e. the Festival of the Chariots is one of the most ancient festivals coming from India, which is a celebration of the most cheerful form of God coming out of His temple so that everyone can see Him. No one can resist the spirit of the jubilation of the public festivities, which, in India, involve approximately 2 million people.

According to the tradition, the form of Kṛṣṇa who is worshipped in Puri as the „Lord of the Universe”, Jagannath, is taken from His permanent temple to another one where He stays as a guest for 10 days, then returns. The transfer from and back to the permanent temple is by people driven chariots, which is accompanied by a huge festival. In the city of Puri, the citizens prepare for this great festival during the whole year. Special food preparations are made at the temple on clay fireplaces where the fire has been maintained for thousands of years. Others are building the chariots, making flags or flower decorations, others dance or perform dramas about the many wonderful pastimes of the Lord. The various tasks have been performed by the same families for thousands of years: such privileges are guarding the chariots, or perform ceremonies, for example. The event is attended also by the King of the state of Orissa who demonstrates his humility by personally sweeping the road before the chariot.  

The real importance of the festival  
Although the festival originates from India, it has become very popular also in the West since 1968 as part of the tradition of Kṛṣṇa believers. It is organised in nearly 200 countries of the world and many thousands of believers and onlookers join the procession.

The Festival of the Chariots brings spirituality and sacrality into our lives. It points out that God is not a distant, obscure person but part of ur lives, the guardian of our soul and the best friend of people. He resides in our heart, in our goodness, in the strength of the community. The spiritual importance of the Ratha Yātrā lies in that at this occasion, Lord Kṛṣṇa reuinites with His beloved devotees, therefore this is the festival of recognitions and reconnection.  

Colourful procession and a Festival of India in the City Park (Városliget)  

The festive procession will start from Vörösmarty tér at 2pm and will pass on Andrássy út and is expected to arrive in the City Park at approximately 4:30. The stage programme at the City Park will have been on for quite some time because it will start already in the morning. The procession will be led by dancers, singers and a real ox cart from Krishna-valley, which is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its inception. The special mood and inhabitants of this ecovillage will come to the capital for one day. All are welcome to join the procession, withou regard of any religious affiliation.  According to the tradition, those who pull the cart will be freed from all difficulties and will enjoy good luck for the rest of their lives.  

Indian Vegan streetfood and mantra singing  

The guests are most welcome from 10:30am till 9pm to the City Park. Entrance is free.

Indian Vegan streetfood will be availablre, from vegetable main courses through savoury and sweet fingersnacks, including pizza. Whole families will find entertainment watching Indian dance, yoga presentation, henna and face painting, children’s entertainment etc. Those interested in filosophy can meet Bhaktipada Goswami as well as the Hare Kṛṣṇa Tiktok star, Vallabhi. In the Temple Tent, the Lord of the Universe will be the chief guest where the visitors can learn how to offer flower petals and other items to God. Traditional Indian music and jam session is also on the programme – so don’t forget to bring along your instrument. The festival will be concluded with a concert of peace meditation  from 7pm to 9pm given by Sivarāma Swāmi!

Surely the festival of the Chariots is the most colourful festival of the summer. It will bring close the Kṛṣṇa-valley of Somogyvámos as well as the world of the mystic India.

The route of the procession will be: Vörösmarty tér -> Andrássy út -> Hősök tere -> Városliget

A map of the route can be seen here:  https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1O6O0JtiWU2dbOqf7jB_2bLjIAwL5iF4&ll=47.506415999807714%2C19.064340000000026&z=14