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Rath Yatra literally means “cart festival”. Jagannath Rathyatra is celebrated every year on the 2nd day of the Shukla Paksha (waxing cycle of the moon) in the month of Asadh, the 3rd month (May/June) according to the vedic lunar calendar. Originally the festival has its foundation in the residents of Vrindavan bringing back their Lords, Krishna and His siblings, Balaram and Lady Subhadra from Kurukshetra.

Jagannath (Lord of the Universe) travels from his temple in Puri, to his garden temple, located outside the town centre called Gundicha. Many thousands of Hindus flock to see, and to pull the grand chariots from one temple to the other. The pulling of the cart symbolises the pulling the Lord back to our hearts thus developing bhakti (love of God).

The English word “Juggernaut” comes from the giant chariots of Lord Jagannath of Puri.

San Francisco 1967

Rathyatra festival was introduced to the western world by Srila Prabhupada, founder of ISKCON, in San Francisco 1967. Since then this festival is celebrated in many cities worldwide at various times of the year.