Jacksonville Beach Ratha Yatra
Posted June 6, 2011
If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting colorful, exotic India, we have a treat for you. Get a taste of India without leaving Florida.. Saturday, June 18, 2011. The 7th Annual Festival of the Chariots & Ratha Yatra Parade, an Indian multi-cultural extravaganza, will take place at Jacksonville Beach from I PM to 5 PM.
There will be lots of family-friendly activities and entertainment: live music, classical Indian dance, books. But the big draw is the delicious vegetarian food. There will be a sumptuous feast served free of charge to all.
The procession route is about a mile long and can be easily walked by all age groups. It begins at 1PM at 8th Avenue North and goes to 5th Avenue South. The parade will move in a leisurely fashion, stopping here and there along the route, giving way to song and dance. The procession’s unique feature is a huge chariot with a blue, red and yellow canopy decorated with swans, lotus flowers, flags, Hanuman and a brass chakra on top. This chariot has two very thick ropes attached to it that are over one hundred feet long. These ropes are pulled by the parade-goers, propelling the chariot along the parade route. Riding on the Chariot are the beautiful Deities of Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra, decorated with stunning silk outfits & real flowers. It’s a vision from another world. Accompanying the procession is lively Indian music and dancing, backed by double-headed mrdanga drums & karatala hand cymbals. It’s an ecstatic, exciting event.
The festival is sponsored by ISKCON Alachua, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness whose Founder/Acharya, His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, came to America from India forty-five years ago and introduced the timeless tradition of the Festival of the Chariot (called Ratha Yatra in India). Since the 60’s this festival has been held yearly in over 50 major cities in the United States, Canada, and all over the world. Nine Ratha Yatras are held yearly in the state of Florida: Miami, Jacksonville Beach, Tallahassee, Orlando, Tampa, Gainesville, Daytona Beach, Clearwater Beach & St. Augustine.
All are warmly invited to attend this joyous, colorful festival, free of charge. Take advantage of a rare chance to experience the vibrancy of India, right here in Florida. Questions? Call: Bhadra das at 352 316-4560 or Bhadradas@gmail.com or Dharmaraja das at 352 538-0292.
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