New Goloka Childrenís 3rd Annual Ratha Yatra
Posted August 4, 2007
The children of New Goloka community in Hillsborough, North Carolina organized and lead the annual Ratha Yatra festival on Saturday 21 July. This is the only childrens Ratha Yatra festival that is held in the state of North Carolina for the past 3 years.
These children were assisted by their parents and other devotees all throughout from construction of the cart to the final parade setup. The Goloka kids came out in huge number to pull the chariot of Their Lordships, Lord Jagannatha, Lord Baladeva and Lady Subhadra.
The day was filled with many spiritual fun activities such as dances, gurukul studentís play, drama and musical performances. Those children who worship Jagannatha deities brought their personal sets and displayed Them in the temple room.
The program started at 10.00am with the kids craft fair. Each child was supposed to create an art and decorate them to be displayed on the cart. Meanwhile the elders were busy setting up the deities on the cart and fixing flower garlands all around. At 11.30am the transcendental chariot parade began. With all their strength, the Goloka kids pulled the Lordís chariot enthusiastically around the temple property. They drove the deities through the main driveway, all around the temple compound and even through the flower gardens.
From 12pm onwards there were a series of performances staged by the kids and their parents. The first performance was the Gurukula kids reciting several slokas from the Bhagavad-Gita As It Is. Then the Gurukula teacher, Mother Kamilini dd (Srila Prabhupada disciple) performed a mime pleading Lord Jagannatha to become visible to her eyes. This was followed by a dance item by 2 talented devotees of the community. Drama of Lord Jagannatha was next. This was well directed play. All casts had put in all their hearts in preparing for this play. The audience equally reciprocated with each artistís performance, particularly when the Sabara villager Visvasu (played by Mahamantra Dasi) appeared on stage.
The final presentation was the offering of the arotik to the presiding deities, Sri Sri Radha-Golokananda and Lord Jagannatha, Lord Baladeva and Lady Subhadra. Mahamantra das and Govinda das Prabhuís concluded the days program by chanting the Sri Jagannathastakam. All eyes were upon the duo as they chanted the verses of this sweet prayer while expertly strumming through the strings of their acoustic guitars.
Parents and guests who attended this program for the first time said there is a great need for their children to be engaged in such activities so they can grow up learning about their original cultural heritage. They were pleased with the efforts of New Goloka officials who work very hard to make such wonderful programs possible.
Everyone seemed to relish the wonderful prasadam prepared by New Golokaís own cooks led by Apurva Prabhu assisted by Gaurangi-priya and Nanda Gopal das.