|Since time beyond memory, the celebrated Deity of Krsna known as Jagannatha (literally Jagat (universe) Natha (lord) – Lord of the Universe) has been honoured with a great chariot parade at Jagannatha Puri (pictured below), a city in Orissa on the Bay of Bengal. It remains the biggest single religious parade of its kind on the planet. Every summer, over 10 million pilgrims gather from all over India to join in the awesome and magnificent celebration in which the Supreme Personality of Godhead graces everyone – highborn or low, pure or impure, rich or poor – with His presence.
The festival celebrates a time when Krishna left His palatial temple and travelled in state to His peaceful summer retreat. The Deity of Jagannatha memorialises Krsna, as He manifested Himself in Dvaraka city fifty centuries before. There, as part of His personal pastimes on earth, Lord Krsna had reigned as king in dazzling splendour, revealing the unsurpassable opulence and majesty of His Godhood.
The founder and Acharya of the Hare Krishna Movement, Srila Prabhupada was particularly enthusiastic to establish this festival in the Western countries. Since 1967, the ancient Rathayata festival has been staged in many cities of the world, including New York, Melbourne, Moscow, Rome, Los Angeles, Paris, Tokyo, San Francisco, and today London.
Posted by Kurma on 17/7/05; 3:21:52 PM from the Travel dept.