Old Indian festival will transform park

Liverpool's Festival of the Chariots
Liverpool's Festival of the Chariots

ONE of India's oldest traditional festivals will be coming to Liverpool this weekend.

Ratha-yatra, or the Hindu Festival of the Chariots, will be held from 10am on Sunday at Bigge Park.

There will be a parade, cultural performances and a free vegetarian feast.

Event organiser Govardhan Das said it was the eighth year the event had been held in Liverpool and it often attracted more than 5000 people from across Sydney.

"Ratha-yatra has been celebrated for thousands of years in the Indian holy city of Puri, where millions sing and dance in the festival," he said.

"Now it is held in more than 200 countries around the world."

The event in Liverpool will be held the same day as in Puri, in Orissa, in eastern India.

According to tradition the Indian Master of the Universe, Lord Jagannath, pretends to be sick to seek the attention of goddess Laxmi.

It is said that to cheer him up his servants must arrange for him to ride on a grand chariot accompanied by his devotees and a marching band with drummers, singers and dancers.

"The festival represents Lord Jagannath's longing to reunite with his dear devotees," Mr Das said.

"Devotees believe that one who helps pull the ropes of the chariot of Lord Jagannath will be closer to their release from the material world."

Details: Govardhan Das, 9601 0290.


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