‘Rathayatra’ is celebrated all over the world.

Rathayatra originates from Jagannatha Puri in Orissa on India’s east coast. It dates back to pre-historic times. Featuring three huge wooden carts, each with a 40ft tall, brightly coloured canopy. The carts are pulled by hand in a grand procession.

London Rathayatra. Photo: Maha Das

London Rathayatra. Photo: Maha Das

There is singing, chanting and dancing to rhythmical drums and cymbals. The procession ends with a festival and a delicious vegetarian ‘prasadam’ feast – served free of charge.Anyone can join in the festival. It is a fully inclusive event. Learn more about Rathayatra >

Brought west by Srila Prabhupada.

Srila Prabhupada

Rathayatra was introduced to the west in 1967 in San Fransisco by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and his first American disciples. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami is the founder-acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

Rathayatra – the Lord’s Divine Festival.

Rathayatra is a non-sectarian celebration. It is attended by people from all faiths and is universal in its scope.

The smiling figures of ‘Jagannatha’, ‘Subhadra’ and ‘Balarama’ ride on the three wooden carts. Each cart is accompanied by a chanting party and a full crew of priests, drivers, attendants and stewards.

Jagannatha, Subhadra and Balarama

Left to right: Baladeva, Subhadra, Jagannatha.

The Deities identity and role in the festival are briefly explained by His Holiness Visnujana Swami speaking in 1975 in this video >

The Hare Krishna ‘maha-mantra’.

Hare Krishna Maha-MantraThroughout the entire Rathayatra festival there is constant singing and chanting of the maha-mantra – ‘the great mantra for deliverance’.

If you’ve not heard the chanting before then why not take a moment to listen to one of the audio files on this page. They are recordings from previous festivals.

More on why chant Hare Krishna >

Happy chanters of Hare Krishna

Chanting Hare Krishna with the devotees can lead to high levels of happiness.

Dancing through London

Dancing while chanting is also very popular and can be enjoyed by one and all.

 The kind Lord is for everyone.

Sweeping for Lord Jagannatha

“The common man, if he has no time to worship the Lord, may at least engage his hands for a few seconds in washing or sweeping the Lord’s temple.

Mahäräja Pratäparudra, the greatly powerful king of Orissa, was always very busy with heavy state responsibilities, yet he made it a point to sweep the temple of Lord Jagannätha at Puri once a year during the festival of the Lord.

The idea is that however important a man one may be he must accept the supremacy of the Supreme Lord. This God consciousness will help a man even in his material prosperity.

Mahäräja Pratäparudra’s subordination before Lord Jagannätha made him a powerful king, so much so that even the great Pathan in his time could not enter into Orissa on account of the powerful Mahäräja Pratäparudra.
And at last Mahäräja Pratäparudra was graced by Lord Sri Caitanya on the very grounds of his acceptance of subordination to the Lord of the universe.

So even though a rich man’s wife has glittering bangles made of gold on her hands, she must engage herself in rendering service to the Lord.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 2 Chapter 3 Verse 21 – Purport His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

Three Rathayatra carts on the North Terrace, Trafalgar Square, London.

Three Rathayatra carts on the North Terrace, Trafalgar Square, London. Photo: Maha Das

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Jagannatha, Balarama and Subhadra at London Rathayatra

Jagannatha Swami Nayana Patha Gami
Nayana Patha Gami Bhavatu Me