By Atma Tattva Das

The streets of Sandton came alive on the weekend of May 11-12, 2024, as ISKCON Sandton hosted its third annual Sandton Festival of Chariots.  This spectacular event, steeped in centuries-old tradition, brought together a diverse assembly of devotees, spiritual leaders, and curious onlookers to celebrate the journey of Lord Jagannath, Balarama, and Subhadra. Originating from Puri, India, the Ratha Yatra festival has been observed for thousands of years, and its rich historyresonated deeply in the heart of Johannesburg.

The festival commenced with a procession that spanned approximately 2.5 to 3 kilometers, making it one of the largest street parades in Johannesburg. Lord Jagannath and His transcendental siblings, adorned in magnificent attire, rode through the streets on a beautifully decorated chariot. The procession weaved through Sandton City, known as “the richest square mile of Africa,” passing under the towering Leonardo, the fourth tallest building in Africa, and looping around the iconic Mandela Square before returning to the festival site at Sandown High School.

This year, the festival was graced by the presence of esteemed spiritual leaders, Rama Govinda Swami and Svayam Bhagavan Keshava Swami. Rama Govinda Swami, a disciple of Krishna Das, is renowned for his profound knowledge of Vedic scriptures. He guided attendees on a journey of spiritual discovery, helping them apply ancient insights to modern life. Keshava Swami, hailing from the United Kingdom and on his first visit to South Africa, brought over 25 years of deep study of Sanskrit texts. He has authored ten enlightening books and created over 50 transformative courses, empowering audiences to elevate relationships, find purpose, and cultivate holistic well-being.

Read more: https://iskconnews.org/3rd-annual-sandton-festival-of-chariots-was-a-vibrant-celebration-of-devotion-and-culture/

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