Chakra Announcements

Chariot fest

by Caru das

Posted June 16, 2004

What: Chariot Fest
Where: Krishna Temple, 8628 S Main St., Spanish Fork, Utah 84660
When: Saturday, June 26th at 5 pm
Contacts: Caru and Vai 798-3559/787-1510

The Chariot Festival will be held Saturday June 26th at the Krishna Temple one mile south of Spanish Fork on Main St. This festival is modeled after the oldest ongoing festival known to man.

For the last three thousand years the Jagannatha Chariot Festival has been observed in Puri, a town in the Indian state of Orissa. Annually in the month of June, the town of 70,000 swells to one million population as pilgrims arrive from all parts of India (and the world) to help pull the gigantic Chariot of Jagannatha (Jagat=Universe, Natha=Lord, Lord of the Universe). The chariot in Puri is built afresh each year, is five stories high, has sixteen massive wheels, and takes hundreds of people to hand pull it through the streets.

The festival was introduced to the western countries in 1965. Today it is celebrated all over the world: London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Madrid, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, etc. Our Spanish Fork version of this epic event will naturally be more modestly staged, yet remain true to its content.

Familiar with the festival since birth, America's premier teacher of Orissan dance, Nandita Behera, of Los Angeles, is sending four of her best students to perform:

Rittika Roy, Nupur Behera, Reni Biswas & Seema Choksy are all high school students and disciples of the Odissi Dance Circle. They have danced throughout the United States.

The Dance items are as follows.....

  1. Mangalacharan: Odissi dance begins with an invocation. After the auspicious beginning salutations are offered to mother earth, the guru, and the audience.
  2. Sthayi: It is a pure dance depicting the beautiful temple sculpture of Orissa.
  3. Pallabhi-Raga Sankarabharan: Pallabhi is another item of pure dance with movements of lyrical grace. Beautiful dance passages run parallel with rhythmic syllables sung musically.
  4. Hindi Bhajan (devotional song set to dance)- By Saint Tulshi Das.

Other elements of the celebrations will be: Film narrated by movie actress Hayley Mills entitled, "The Famous Chariot Festival of Puri."

Two Plays: Drama of Savitri, the world's foremost chaste lady who brought her husband back from death: The complete, unabridged 30 minute version of the all-time favorite devotional comedy, Scholar and the Boatman. Actors in the plays will be Karuna Manna, Sydhartha Manna, Jai Krishna Perry, Jon Chavez, Gusseiv Hussein, & Caru Dasa.

The Timpanogas Pipe Band will give a concert of stirring bagpipe tunes from the stage and lead the parade of Lord Jagannatha's horse drawn carriage around the roads circling the temple. Festival goers are invited to join the parade by playing musical instruments (their own or those supplied by the temple), leading gaily decorated llamas, carrying torches, holding flags, and/or singing and dancing. The parade will be a grand finale to the event which starts at 5 pm.

Throughout, festival goers can purchase hot meals, consisting of curries with homemade cheese (paneer), rice pilao, cherry hallava, Indian breads, mango lassi etc.

There will be exhibits on the art, culture, dance styles, history, and cuisine of India.

Admission fee is $ 3.00 adults, $ 1.00 children.

For more information contact Caru or Vai at 798-3559/787-1510 or visit the web site