51st Annual FESTIVAL OF INDIA in TORONTO
The Festival of India has taken place in Toronto for over 50 years, yet its rich history actually stems from thousands of years of tradition and heritage. The festival begins with a vibrant parade down Yonge Street in which three giant floats are hand-pulled by thousands of attendees and spectators amidst melodious singing, chanting, drumming, and dancing.
Everyone is invited to come, walk, chant the holy names: HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE, sing and dance in the parade. Celebrations then continue throughout the weekend.
Above, Ratha-Yatra on Yonge Street, Downtown Toronto 2015
The parade down Yonge Street echoes an annual procession that has occurred for centuries in the ancient city of Puri, India. There, three mammoth chariots, known as rathas are taken on a jubilant procession, called a yatra. Hence, the Festival is also known as Ratha-Yatra or “chariot procession”. In Puri, this age-old Ratha-Yatra procession continues to attract over a million people every year!
Seated on each float (chariot) are beautifully bedecked Deities of Jagannatha (another name for Krishna or God), Baladeva (Krishna’s brother), and Subhadra (Krishna’s sister). The procession itself symbolizes the pulling of the Lord into our hearts and this is done with great pomp and grandeur.
Above, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada at an early Ratha-Yatra in San Francisco
In the mid 1960s, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acarya of the worldwide Hare Krishna Movement (ISKCON), and the greatest exponent of Krishna consciousness in the western world, inaugurated the North American and international versions of this ancient Indian festival. With roots steeped in spiritual traditions, the festival is now celebrated in every major city around the world, including London, Paris, Sydney, Los Angeles and New York.
Inspired by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada
Founder/Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare