Rathyatra procession

Geetha Patil

BOSTON, MA: The ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) Temple of Boston celebrated its Annual Magnificent Lord Jagannatha Ratha Yatra (‘Festival of Chariots’ Parade) program on Saturday, August 19 with more than four thousand devotees with their families, friends, and many young children from New England region.

Male devotees dressed in white dhoti and kurtas and female devotees in bright colored saris, lehenga skirts and churidar dresses with Gopi Chanda on their faces lined up before the tall yellow chariot wagon, garlanded with flowers, that resembled a temple on wheels.

After all the Vedic rituals, the crowd of devotees dragged on the long ropes to pull the wagon with small statues representing Jagannatha, “Master of the Universe who is also known as Krishna” his older brother Baladeva and younger sister Subhadra along with the statue of Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who brought the Hare Krishna movement to New York in 1965, which then spread across Western countries.

The Ratha Yatra processed down the Boylston Street with the music of drums, cymbals, tambourines and shell-horns and started growing bigger and bigger as they went toward Boston Common. Devotees took turns with a broom and swept the path before the wagon, because “the Lord of the universe was coming.” Devotees sang the traditional “Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna” songs that described the glories of the Lord, chanted his holy names and danced “a free-flow devotional dance with swami steps” throughout the procession

A bus full of devotees came from the ISKCON temples of New York and Maine. Park was filled with thousands of devotees. There were booths of books, clothes, snacks, Yoga, Henna, gift shops, information along with main program and deities pandals.  Delicious vegetarian Maha Prasadam was served to all the devotees by the dedicated temple kitchen committee

members and volunteers.