ISKCON Hubli-Dharwad conducts its Annual Sri Sri Krishna Balarama Ratha Yatra, every year on Saturdays in the month of February in the twin cities of Hubi and Dharwad.
The splendidly decorated 40 feet high colourful chariot carrying their Lordship Sri Sri Krishna Balarama transforms the City skyline. The Ratha with its gigantic telescopic canopy is unique which can be lowered when passing through roads with electic wires hanging quite low, typical to busy roads of Hubballi-Dharwad. The Ratha rolls down the important streets of Hubballi and Dharwad. Their towering red-and-yellow silken canopy rise into the sky as drums and cymbals resound in joyous celebrations. People young and old, their eyes bright with excitement sing and dance in the street, as if swimming in an ocean of overwhelming happiness.
The Ratha is pulled by thousands of enthusiastic devotees amidst heart throbbing & ecstatic Bhajans and Kirtans. Thousands of devotees and general public participate in the yatra. Throughout the Ratha Yatra procession, donna prasadam is served to all the public. At the end point, full meal prasadam is served to all the participants.
History of Ratha Yatra
The Ratha Yatra festival is perhaps the oldest & grandest continuously celebrated spiritual festival in the world. As far back as human records and memory extend, the chariots of Lord Jagannatha have rolled each summer in the town of Puri on the Bay of Bengal, to the delight of millions of joyous pilgrims.
Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement, was very fond of Ratha-yatra. He began celebrating Ratha Yatra when he was just five years old, using a small home-made cart and pulling it around the neighborhood with his friends. Srila Prabhupada introduced this Ratha Yatra for the first time in the western countries. Later in life, from 1967 until his passing, Srila Prabhupada joined thousands of disciples in cities around the world as they celebrated elaborate Ratha Yatra chariot festivals in the streets of London, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and hundreds of cities around the world.
The Significance Of Ratha Yatra
This festival sees different communities coming together thus the Ratha Yatra truly aims at integrating people in which people from different ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds can truly celebrate what all of us have in common at the same time retaining and being proud of our distinctive identities. Such wonderful festivals help us all to celebrate the values and benefits of different Indian cultures.
The Ratha Yatra is a special arrangement of the lord to give his darshan to the public who otherwise may be very busy in the modern age setup and may not find time to go to the temple. Ratha-yatra signifies the Lord’s love for His devotees. He personally comes to visit His devotees and the public who welcome Him in the streets. In fact during the Ratha Yatra, the chariot become mobile temples, which sanctify the city.
Ratha Yatra signifies the Lord’s love for His devotees. He personally comes to visit His devotees and the public who welcome Him in the streets. Befitting the sentiment of its origins, Ratha-yatras in the Hare Krishna movement also serve as reunions for devotees who come from far and wide to participate, meeting up with old friends around their common goal of serving Lord Jagannatha, Sri Krishna.
This year, we are celebrating Ratha Yatra in Hubballi and Dharwad.