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ISKCON Rathayatra in Penang

by Gopati Krsna dasa

Posted January 1, 2009

December 24, 2008

About 4,000 devotees took part in the annual Ratha Yathra (Chariot Festival) orga-nised by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) Penang recently.

The procession, which included two main chariots bearing the idols of Lord Jaganath (Lord of the Universe), Goddess Subadhra Devi and Lord Balarama, and a smaller cha-riot of Nitai Gauranga (the incarnation of Lord Krishna), left the Wisma Nattukottai in New Lane at 5.15pm.

The procession ended at the Penang Chinese Town Hall in Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling about 8.30pm.

Organising chairman Ramananda Dasa said the festival originated from India's Orissa state where the celebrations were held over five days.

"The festival is held to signify how a group of gopis (Krishna devotees) pulled a chariot with Lord Krishna to welcome him to the holy land of Dwaraka.

Devotees and tourists following the chariot procession.

"ISKCON founder Srila Prabhupada introduced this festival all over the world and here in Penang, we have been hosting this festival for the past 22 years,'' he said.

Ramanda added that His Holiness Banu Swami from Japan, His Holiness Jananandasa Goswami Maharaj from New Zealand and His Holiness Bakti Vrjanandana Maharaj from Malaysia also took part in the procession.

There were also a kollatam (stick dancing) performance, a lion dance and Indian cultural dances at the procession. A fireworks display was also held.

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