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A weekend of chanting Hare Krishna in Sandton

Sandton comes to life with Krishna Consciousness on Ratha Yatra – a parade celebrating Lord Krishna, and his siblings Balabhadra and Subhadra.

It was an auspicious occasion in Sandton on May 11, when the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) hosted the Sandown community for a Ratha Yatra chariot festival.

Nutan, Praneel, Dayita and Bhavin Bhaga.

Historically, Ratha Yatra is the most ancient, annual chariot festival. The Festival of Ratha Yatra is held annually within the Hindi international community in veneration of the Lord of the Universe (Lord Jagannath).

Devi Tanya Ammon with Pareshni Rama.

Ratha Yatra festival, globally, is generally characterised by the pulling of three chariots: one for Lord Jagannath, and two others for his divine siblings Balabhadra and Subhadra.

Lord Jagannath is veneered as Lord Krishna, the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu – a principal deity within Hinduism.

Aditi and Praksha Maharaj.

In Sandton, where the City is praised by Iskcon for having accommodated the Ratha Yatra chariot parade: only a single chariot was used, instead of the traditional three.

Iiskcon marketing, social media and communications liaison Shakira Rajcoomar explained that the organisation elected to simply host a single chariot towards refraining from impacting traffic between Grayston Drive and Rivonia Road.

The Naidoo family: Sharadya, Uttara and Kribashan.

“The three siblings travelled together, blessing devotees in Sandton, as Jagannath came out with his siblings,” Rajcoomar said. “All three lordships were in one chariot.”

The festival was, furthermore, characterised by an eclectic market day held on the Sandown High School sports field.

Devotees heave together, as they guide the divine siblings’ chariot onto the sports field at Sandown High School.

The most unique feature of this festival was in how Iskcon had set up a tent designated to freely feed every single person who felt ready to eat something.

Navisha Ghansoon with Katelyn Narasimulu.

For two days (May 11–12), Lord Krishna (celebrated as Lord Jagannath) and his siblings were celebrated by scores of merry devotees chanting the Hare Krishna (Maha Mantra) through the streets of Sandton.

The Iskcon movement’s founder, Srila Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, brought Ratha Yatra (as well as Krishna Consciousness) to San Francisco in 1967. Now, the movement is international.

Devotee Sagree Nagesar.

Ratha Yatra celebrations take place all over the world, showcasing the cultural diversity of devotion to Lord Krishna. Sandton Iskcon temple president Vibhu Caitanya Das expressed a desire to thank especially Gauteng MEC for Economic Development Tasneem Motara for attending the event.

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