Although India is the home of the “Festival of Chariots”, it is celebrated all over the world and Historic City News has learned that this Saturday, for the fifth year, ISKCON of Alachua will hold the parade and festival in downtown St. Augustine.
Introduced to the Western world over 40 years ago, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness performs the procession; which consists of a large decorated chariot pulled and escorted by pedestrians.
Hindus believe that 5,000 years ago when Lord Krishna was on this planet he rode a chariot from his palace in Dwarka in the west of India to his home in the north, Vrindavanthe. When Krishna approached his home town, local people came out in anticipation of his arrival; they couldn’t wait to have him back after a long separation. Ratha Yatra is about remembering and replicating this chariot return of Lord Krishna five millennia ago.
Public Information Coordinator Cathy DuPont has advised local news reporters in St. Augustine that the procession will necessitate some minor interruptions of traffic along the city’s Bayfront, Cordova Street and the area around the Plaza.
The procession is set for 11:00 a.m. until approximately 12:30 p.m. with a cultural festival until 4:00 p.m. in the Plaza.
The procession departs Government House and continues west on Cathedral Place, north on Cordova Street, east on Orange Street, south on S. Castillo Drive-Avenida Menendez, west on Cathedral Place back to Government House.
Traffic in the area should expect slow downs, congestion or brief halts to allow for the procession. St. Augustine Police will escort the procession and monitor key points to facilitate vehicular traffic and ensure the safety of the participants.