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Every January since 1994 the Sri Jagannath Rathayatra festival takes place in the southern Indian destination of Coimbatore, a city with a population of over two million people.
Five hundred kilometres west of Chennai, the former Madras, Coimbatore is the second largest destination for Hare Krishna worshippers outside of Tamil Nadu.
The Rathayatra is the second largest Hindi festival in the world and considered to be an occasion of joyful worship, singing, dancing and plenty of feasting amongst music performances, drama & other events all dedicated to Lord Sri Krishna.
The parade begins near the Coimbatore Town Hall. The procession of hundreds of thousands of worshippers all dressed in their Hare Krishna finest, and truly a sight to see, passes through various Coimbatore streets and walks a route which covers around three kilometres .
Hindu devotees follow Lord Jagannath’s Rath procession float, called Nandighosa, and whose extended canopy stands at an amazing 42 feet high, with offerings of sweets, coconuts and fruits. Continuous harinam sankirtan chants and dances are performed throughout the procession.
Traditional 'nadaswaram' musicians, playing nadaswarams drums and the thavil drums, and the Hare Krishna devotees also distribute 'pulihodarai prasad' (tamarind rice) in cups from a truck following behind Lord Jagannath’s Rath float to the masses of followers
Ratha Yatra, also known as festival of chariots, finds its origins in Puri, Orissa. It the oldest known Hare Krishna festival with devotees celebrating it for thousands of years.