In the News

In the News:
UK temple installs ratha lift system

Contributed by Richard Wyndham

Posted March 6, 2005

Bhaktivedanta Manor Temple in Watford, England, recently installed an pneumatic system for quickly raising and lowering the dome of its Rathayatra cart. The original design required devotees to slowly raise and lower a 20-foot column manually using a hand turned crank, whereas the new pneumatic system quickly raises the temple dome to its full height, enabling obstacles to be quickly avoided and events easier to set up.

"The event was to be held in June and consisted of a march from Marble Arch to Trafalgar Square," explains Narahari das, secretary at the Bhaktivedanta Manor temple. "There are many overhead cables and telephone lines along the route, which required us to lower the domes on the chariots by hand, taking a lot of effort and accurate timing to avoid accidents."

The system for lifting the ratha dome canopy was designed and supplied by the Luton, England branch of WYKO Industrial Services. "Members of the temple approached us with the idea that a lot of time and labour could be saved by using a pneumatic ram system to erect a shrine on the back of one of the large chariots," said Ian Clark, WYKO's accounts manager.

The chariot itself is 30 feet long, has wheels over 8 feet high and, adorned with flowers and other decorations, carries the Deities of Jagannatha, Balarama and Subhadra during the annual Rathayatra parade. Teams of enthusiastic devotees grasp strong ropes to pull the cart during the procession.

WYKO supplied a pair of custom 80mm bore cylinders complete with control gear that provide two metres of extension in order to erect the three-stage pergola. The entire package was manufactured and delivered within only ten days. A pneumatic solution allowed the column to be quickly raised to erect the domed tent over the chariot and manoeuvre it through the streets of London with the minimum of fuss and danger. The London devotees had "a rough idea" of what they wanted, said Clark, "but it was down to one of our specialists, Peter Lebihan, to produce a workable solution."

If other ISKCON temples are interested in such a device, they may contact Sarah Evans, at WYKO Industrial Services, Amber Way, Halesowen, West Midlands, B62 8WG. Tel: 0121 508 6341. Fax: 0121 508 6333. Email: