By Ananga Manjari devi
Lord Jagannath’s Rathyatra Festival of the Chariots was part of the 46th Annual Springtime Tallahassee Parade. Preparations began in the early hours of the morning in the midst of heavy pouring rain. Just as Mother Yadunandana’s effulgent Lords Jagannath, Baladev and Subhadra were being placed on the cart, it was as if the Lord’s smiles had pushed aside the clouds to allow the sun to welcome the Lord of the Universe on Their magnificent chariot.
This Rathyatra was unique in that The Mayapuris, with Visvambhara and Bali, arranged a lively coordinated Kirtan group while The Bhakti Dancers with Anapayani, and The Temple Dancers, with Gangi had choreographed a cultural performance while dancing to the rhythm of the Mayapuris kirtan throughout the whole parade route. All the participants wore flowing devotional dress in whites, reds and yellows; and each had a bright Harinama Chadda draped around them.
Our colorful presentation was very well received by the audience of thousands who enthusiastically waved, danced and gave us many smiles and thumbs-up as we danced by. The float that pulled the Lords’ Chariot was covered in a beautiful bouquet of leaves and flowers and featured a huge 9 foot high Lord Chaitanya, all designed by Luz Marina. The whole Rathyatra presentation was awe inspiring for the participants as well as the observers.
We especially appreciate Dharmaraj and his family for arranging the gorgeous Rathayatra cart. We also express our gratitude to all the enlivened youth of Alachua and to the Rathayatra Coordinator, Bhadra das. All together they made this an amazing cooperative transcendental event.