Rath Yatra 2012

The Rath Yatra is a Chariot Festival that’s held in midsummer, that is supposedly the time that Lord Jaganath goes on vacation with his brother, Balabhadra, and sister, Subhadra, from their temple in Puri to the grand palace in the countryside. They make this trip on grand chariots, and devotees pull the chariots. This festival was held for the second time in Singapore, and since we pride ourselves in organising events such as these with much care and order, this chariot festival was held at a sports stadium, with the chariots being pulled around the bitumen track. A little bit of digging around tells me that this festival’s also held in places like Las Vegas, Hartford CT, and Toronto. It’s being celebrated in different ways around the world, and I think that’s pretty cool.

I was handed a flyer about the event the week before when I was at a temple, and asked my parents about it, and they suggested we go down and take a look together since none of us had seen this festival before. The whole event was incredibly well organised, the crowds had arrived though we wondered if it would be crowded, and the atmosphere in the stadium was really lively.

The coolest bit? Hindu gods are pretty awesome, in many different ways, but this was one very colourful festival, and I feel like these are definitely amongst the cutest depictions of Hindu gods I’ve ever seen. The state of Orissa is one that I don’t know much about, other than their beautiful form of dance Odissi, but clearly they know how to put together a good celebration.

One of the three chariots going around the track, pulled by devotees.

Giant Balloons of the three Gods. When the wind was blowing, their heads moved like bobble-head dolls. Incredibly amusing and adorable. (Guess which one’s the sister! I had trouble myself :P )

Lord Balabhadra

Goddess Subhadra

The Super Smiley Lord Jaganath. Can’t help but break into a smile looking at this.

Close-up of a chariot. I loved the way the chariot itself is multi-coloured. The flowers and balloons just make it even more awesome. It was really like a big party going on.

There were a lot of kids around, and they were clearly having a lot of fun with the colours and flowers and balloons everywhere. There were kids dressed up in costumes to look like gods and goddesses, and they went around looking adorable and collecting donations.There were snack stalls, henna-tattoo stalls, and there was a full-fledged multi-course dinner being served for free for everyone. It was a great atmosphere going around, and in that stadium, you felt like you were away from everything else for a little while.

You can see more official photographs from the event over here.

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