Press Release: Ratha Yatra: Dublin’s Ancient Festival of Chariots

Co. Dublin, Ireland — 18 Aug. 2013 — Dublin’s “Ratha Yatra” Festival of Chariots returns to the streets of the capital on Sunday 1st September 2013. Dublin will be illuminated by the wonderful colours and sounds of the annual Hare Krishna festival, a vibrant celebration of Indian culture and spirituality in our city.

Event schedule

When: Sunday 01 September 2013

Where: Parnell Square (North of Garden of Remembrance) to St. Stephen’s Green

Time: Procession starts 12:00 noon from Parnell Square and arrives at St. Stephen’s Green at 3:00 pm; Festival ends at 6:00 pm

Web site, with full schedule & description: rathayatra.ie

Highlights

Dublin’s Ratha Yatra, or Festival of Chariots, returns to the streets of the capital on Sunday 1st September 2013. Dublin will be illuminated by the wonderful colours and sounds of the annual Hare Krishna festival, a vibrant celebration of Indian culture and spirituality in our city.

Hundreds of festival-goers, pilgrims, and faith leaders will hand-pull the 40-foot high colourful chariot carrying the sacred deities of Lord Jagannatha, Lady Subhadra and Lord Balarama from the Garden of Remembrance to St. Stephen’s Green. The giant chariot will be accompanied by a procession of singers, musicians and dancers. Dublin will pulsate to Indian spiritual sounds with instruments from cross the globe.

At St. Stephen’s Green, where the procession comes to an end, the whole family can enjoy cultural and educational displays and exhibitions, revealing the spiritual heart of India. Revellers can participate in lively workshops, sample music, food, and literature, or try featured crafts and skills such as sari draping and face painting.

From the stage, festival-goers will be treated to traditional dance, drama, and music. In addition to all this, free sumptuous Indian vegetarian cuisine will add to a special family outing. It will indeed be a feast for the eyes, ears and the palate!

History

This Festival of Chariots, Ratha Yatra, is a celebration dating back over 3000 years, annually observed in the ancient holy city of Jagannatha Puri in Orissa, India, making it the oldest street festival in the world. Devotees believe that if they get the honour of pulling the ropes of the giant chariot, carrying Lord Krishna, known as Jagannatha ― the Lord of the Universe, then, at the end of this life, they will be granted eternal service to the Lord in the spiritual world.

Praghosa Das, Co-ordinator of the Dublin Festival of Chariots says: “Each year, we aim to make the Festival of Chariots a more vibrant and colourful festival for Dublin. Now in its 10th consecutive year it is amazing to see the festival go from strength to strength and witness the positive response from the citizens of the capital.”

This ancient festival was brought to our western shores by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. The first Ratha Yatra festival outside of India took place in San Francisco in 1967.

Media interest in the Hare Krishna movement

Over the last 35 years there has been much media interest in the culture and activities of the Hare Krishna community, ranging from two appearances on The Late Late Show to numerous other television and radio programs such as Would You Believe and the Nine O’Clock News.

Within the last two years, the Dublin Krishna Temple has inspired a television feature with Kairos hosted on RTÉ as well as two substantial Newspaper articles: one in the Irish Times written by Patrick Freyne and one in the Sunday Independent written by Joanna Kiernan.

Every year the unique spectacle of the Ratha Yatra parade has turned the heads of amazed onlookers all through the city, yet this astonishing event has yet to be covered in a television, radio, newspaper or magazine feature. The Ratha Yatra organisers greatly look forward to meeting the first media representative who will expose this festival to the public eye.

For public and media enquiries, contact:

ISKCON Dublin, 83 Middle Abbey Street, Dublin 1
Pragosha Das, +353 (0)87 992 1332
praghosa.sdg@pamho.net

Official online programme, with route and maps: rathayatra.ie/dublin
Press information with historical, high-resolution photos: rathayatra.ie/press

Complete, high-resolution image history of last year’s event: click Dublin 2012 Photos