In Hartford, Chariot Festival of India celebrates culture

A chariot festival, complete with singing, dancing and celebration of Indian culture is coming to Hartford on June 15.

HARTFORD — The International Society for Krishna Consciousness of Connecticut announces the Chariot Festival of India is coming to Bushnell Park in Downtown Hartford on Saturday June 15, from noon to 6 p.m. There is no charge for admission and the public is cordially invited to attend. The event will be held on June 15, rain or shine.

This celebration of Indian cultural heritage begins at noon with a colorful chariot parade called “Ratha Yatra” accompanied by festive singing and dancing. The parade route begins near the stage in Bushnell Park, and then proceeds along local streets around the park: Jewell Street to Gold Street to Main Street to Capitol Avenue to Trinity Street, and then returns to the stage area in Bushnell Park. All are encouraged to participate in this lively parade.

Following the parade all remaining festivities will be held inside the park, beginning with a free vegetarian meal of delicious Indian food and drink served to everyone. There will be many informative exhibits and fun activities for the entire family to enjoy. The audience will be treated to traditional Indian music and dance, as well as dramatic plays. Visitors also can learn about reincarnation or get instruction on meditation and yoga. Entertainment for the children includes games, face painting, and a professional magic show. Many Indian goods will be available for purchase, featuring books, CDs, clothing, jewelry, drinks, vegetarian snacks, and more.

Special guest, His Holiness Niranjana Swami, is a direct disciple of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, the worldwide founder of the Hare Krishna Movement. Niranjana Swami accepted the renounced order of life (sannyasa) in 1986 and travels extensively throughout North America, the former Soviet Union, and India, lecturing on Krishna consciousness (bhakti yoga). His books on spiritual topics and recordings of devotional music are published by Garunga Press.

This is the 11th annual Festival of India presented by ISKCON of Connecticut, and the sixth one being held in Downtown Hartford. As a cross-cultural event the outdoor festival provides a wonderful opportunity for everyone, especially Westerners, to sample the rich heritage of India firsthand. Over 1,500 people from Connecticut, western Massachusetts, and beyond attended the Chariot Festival of India last year, and more than 1,700 have expressed interest on Facebook so far this year.

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Connecticut Media Group