New York : A Ratha Yatra (chariot festival) organised by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) drew hundreds of people in New York.
The festival, the 31st held here Saturday, is modelled after the Ratha Yatra organised every year in Puri, Orissa, by the famed Jagannath temple there. During the festival, the temple deity is taken out in a procession on a decorated chariot. Worshippers come and pull the chariot to express their devotion.
One of the highlights of the procession in New York was a mobile exhibition depicting India's spirituality and culture, Desi Talk, an ethnic magazine reported. It featured cultural performances, showcasing the rich traditions of India.
In 1976, Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the worldwide Hare Krishna Movement, inaugurated the New York City version of the procession. It has been celebrated annually since then and has become a New York summer tradition.
Indian handicrafts and books were available for sale during the event. The festival also featured presentations on the Bhagavad Gita, one of the holiest Hindu scriptures, by Joshua M. Greene, an author and lecturer on religion from Hofstra University.