Ratha Yatra 2016

50th Annual Rathayatra

SAVE THE DATE

50th Annual San Francisco Ratha Yatra Parade

Sunday, August 14th, 2016


The “Festival of the Chariots,” known throughout India as the “Ratha Yatra” festival, has been performed for thousands of years in Puri, India, and today it is celebrated in all major cities through out the world. More than 3,000 people attend each year in San Francisco alone.

Typically at this annual interactive parade, people pull three large chariots by ropes throughout Golden Gate Park, ending at Sharon Meadow on the corner of JFK Dr. and Stanyan Street around 1 pm for the Festival of India.

Look forward to a free vegetarian meal, live music, ancient Indian dances, exhibits, books, and more.

50th Annual Festival of the Chariots
Sunday, August 14, 2016
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
– Parade Begins: 11 am (JFK & Transverse, GG Park)
– Festival: 1 pm (Sharon Meadow)

*** NO DOGS ***

Click Here to view photos from the 49th Annual Ratha Yatra Parade.


History of the Ratha Yatra

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The Ratha Yatra festival is a Vaisnava Festival that has its origins in the temple town of Puri, Orissa in India. It has become a common sight in most major cities of the world since 1967 through the ISKCON Hare Krishna movement. Founded by A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who successfully brought the festival to the western hemisphere, it is now celebrated on an annual basis in over 100 cities around the world.

Three richly decorated chariots, resembling temple structures, are pulled through the streets of Puri to commemorate the annual journey of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balarama, and their sister Subhadra to their aunt Gundicha’s temple, situated at a distance of 2 km from their temple. During the festival, devotees from all over the World go to Puri with an earnest desire to pull the Lords chariot with ropes. The huge processions accompanying the chariots play devotional songs with drums, tambourines and various instruments. The Rath carts, approximately 45 feet (14 m) high are built new each year only from a particular type of tree. Millions of devotees congregate at Puri for this annual event from all over the world.

The three chariots of Jagannatha, Balarama, and Subhadra are newly constructed every year with wood of specified trees like phassi, dhausa. They are made by a specialist team of carpenters who have hereditary rights and privileges. The three chariots are decorated as per the unique scheme prescribed and followed for centuries and stand on the Bada Danda, the Grand Avenue. Covered with bright canopies made of stripes of red cloth and combined with those of black, yellow and blue colors, the huge chariots are lined across the wide avenue in front of the majestic temple close to its eastern entrance, which is also known as the Singhadwara or the Lion’s Gate.

The Significance of the Ratha Yatra Festival

Lord Jagannatha is identified fully with Krishna. In his original manifestation as Nila Madhava, he was worshiped in a sacred banyan tree. The influence of Yama, the God of Death, is supposed to have been curtailed in the sacred city of Puri – Srikshetra on account of the presence of Lord Jagannatha and therefore it is also called the Yamanika Tirtha. A glimpse of Lord Jagannatha on the chariot is considered to be very auspicious and saints, poets and scriptures have repeatedly glorified the sanctity of this special festival. The significance of the festival is such that even a touch of the chariot or even the ropes with which these are pulled is considered enough to confer the results of several pious deeds or penance for ages. There is a famous Oriya song which says that on this occasion, the chariot, the wheels, the grand avenue all become one with Lord Jagannatha himself.


50th Annual Festival of the Chariots
Sunday, August 14, 2016
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
– Parade Begins: 11 am (JFK & Transverse, GG Park)
– Festival: 1 pm (Sharon Meadow)