Starts: June 14 2014 @ 11:00am
Ends: June 14 2014 @ 7:00pm
Location: Fifth Avenue to Washington Square Park
About Ratha Yatra
The Chariot Festival of Lord Jagannatha (Ratha Yatra), the Lord of the Universe, has been performed at the spiritual seaside resort of Puri, India for more than two thousand years. Since 1976, this attractive, beautiful, and bliss inspiring annual Jagannatha Ratha Yatra festival has been celebrated by the Hare Krishna devotees on New York’s Fifth Avenue, the heart of New York City. This Jagannatha Ratha Yatra festival is performed in a mood of love and devotion and invokes auspiciousness for universal peace, harmony, and good will for all of God’s children.
Free Vegetarian Feast and Cultural Festival
Festival of India takes place at Washington Square Park on Saturday June 8 from 2pm to 7pm. Enjoy a free delicious Hare Krishna Vegetarian feast prepared with love and devotion by the devotees of Lord Krishna. Festivities also include Bharat-Natyam Dance, Rama-Lila drama, Hare Krishna Bhajans + Kirtans, and much more!
Directions to the Festival
To Ratha-Yatra Parade (45th Street & 5th Ave.)
- NYC Subway: B, D, F, or M Train to 42nd Street Station.
(walk East one block to 5th Ave. and North 3 blocks to 45th St.)
- PATH: Any of the trains that go to: 33rd St Herald Sq. From there, Take the Subway: B, D, F, or M train to 42nd Street Station.
(walk East one block to 5th Ave. and North 3 blocks to 45th St.)
To Festival of India @ Washington Sq. Park
- NYC Subway: A, B, C, D, E, F, M trains to West 4th Street (walk east to Washington Sq. Park
- NYC Subway: 6 Train to Astor Place (walk west to 5th Ave)
- NYC Subway: N, R Trains to 8th Street (walk east to 5th Ave)
- PATH Train to 8th Street (from New Jersey) (walk east to 5th Ave, then south to park)
- LIRR: From New York Penn Station, and then take the Subway as listed above to the various destinations.
- Metro-North: From Grand Central Terminal (4, 5, 6, 7 & S Trains) and then use the subway directions to the various destinations above.
- NJ Transit: Either take the buses to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City or trains to NY Penn Station, and then use the subway directions above to the various destinations above.
- In the event that you need to drive to any of the venues, please contact the ISKCON Temple, and they will give you driving directions. There are parking garages in the vicinity of Washington Square Park, which charge a nominal fee (from $20 – $25 for the day) for your vehicle. No street parking is allowed at the Washington Square Festival site.
Parade and Festival Information:
- Starting promply at 12:00pm, the 3 Ratha Carts will proceed from SE corner of 45th Street and Fifth Avenue down 5th Avenue to Washington Square Park.
- All devotees are requested to be present at the start of the Parade by 10:00am to greet with Hare Krishna kirtan His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, Lord Jagannath, Lady Subhadra & Lord Baladeva as they arrive from the Temple.
- The Parade will proceed down Fifth Ave. arriving at Festival of India in Washington Square Park across from NYU Campus. Approximate arrival time is 2:00pm.
- Devotees are requested to bring their own instruments to assist in the various kirtan parties throughout the parade. The temple has no extra instruments to supply parade participants.
- Only authorized persons will be allowed on the carts to perform pujari service to Lord Jagannath, Subhadra & Baladeva. The pujaris have been assigned their duties already and will be wearing special passes.
- Please be respectful of the Parade Marshals and Police Officers assigned to march with the parade. They are doing their duty to keep all the devotees safe and sound. If they give you any instructions, please comply with them.
- If you arrive early to the Washington Square Festival of India site, please try to assist the devotees there in organizing and setting up the festival area.
- Once the carts arrive, there will be many opportunities to render devotional service to Lord Jagannath. Although the festival is a time for the devotees to associate with each other, it is also a great time to serve the general public, by helping in the free feast booth, or book distribution tables, and cleaning up at the end of the festival.
History of the Ratha Yatra
The Ratha Yatra festival is a Vaisnava Festival that has its origins in the temple town of Puri, Orissa in India. Held during the months of June or July, 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.
Saturday June 14, 2014: Starting at 5th Ave. & 45th St. Manhattan, New York City. Please assemble by 11:00am, The parade proceeds down Fifth Ave to Washington Square Park at the Campus of New York University. The colorful Festival of India will be celebrated at Washington Square Park from 2pm – 7pm.