Rathayatra London Juggernauts

Rath Yatra

Jagannatha, whose name means ‘Master of the Universe‘ is a form of the Hindu deity Krishna was one of three deities who were carried on large chariots through central London by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (better known as the Hare Krishna) last Sunday.


His half-sister Subhadra , again seen in the back of a car, was on the second of the large chariots in the Rathayatra procession, while the picture below shows brother Balabhadra beig caerfully lifted up to be installed onto the third of the chariots.


The festival follows the pattern followed for perhaps more than a thousand years at Puri in Orissa on the Indian east coast, and the giant wooden chariots used there to carry Jagannatha gave us the word juggernaut.

Unlike the huge diesels that power juggernauts along our motorways, these chariots are pulled by hundreds of people on two ropes in front of them. It takes a little more ‘horse-power‘ than the couple on this cake are showing:

ISKCON organised their first Rathayatra in the western world in San Francisco in 1967, and two years later held the first Hare Krishna procession London, making this year’s the 40th. You can see more pictures of the 40th London Rathayatra Chariot Festival

on My London Diary, as well as pictures from the Rathyatra festivals in 2001, 2004, and 2005.

Another Hare Krishna procession in London I’ve photographed is the Gaura Purnima Procession, which I went to again in 2008.

Gaura Purnima
Gaura Purnima Procession, 2008 close to Leicester Square

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