Bringing a bit of brightness to the capital this Sunday is the Hindu festival Rathayatra, a huge event for Lord Krishna and his followers.
Starting at Hyde Park Corner at 12.00pm, three enormous, highly decorated beautiful carts each holding a deity will lead a procession to Trafalgar Square. The three deities transported by cart are the centrepiece of this celebration; Hindus and non-Hindus are welcome to follow the progress of Sri Jagannatha, Srimate Subhadra, and Sri Balarama as the carts take them along Piccadilly and in to the square for a big welcome under Nelson's column. These deities are normally worshipped inside temples but for Rathayatra, they go outside and it is a rare chance to see them for those normally not allowed to enter Hindu places of worship.
The full story of Rathayatra and the significance of the carts can be found here and there will no doubt be many opportunities to find out more on the day as this promises to bring together many, many Hindu worshippers. In Trafalgar Square, there will be stalls with information, books, talks and a free vegetarian prasadam feast for everyone. Sounds like a great way to spend Sunday afternoon!
London Rathayatra, Sunday 29 July, procession starts at Hyde Park Corner, 12.00pm. It is advised to arrive early for the start of the procession or to go straight to Trafalgar Square where the procession will end at approximately 2.30pm. For more information, go to the London Rathayatra website here. Image of the London Rathayatra 2006 by pkaruna on behalf of the London Rathayatra Festival Committee.