Jagannath Ratha Yatra Solo

By Harinarayana Das - 9.3 2017

The Boyong Kedhaton carnival and the Adeging Kutha Sala dance celebrated the 272nd anniversary of the city of Surakarta on Saturday. Around 700 carnival group, 135 dancers and 35 musicians participated in the festivities and entertained the crowds along Jalan Jendral Sudirman (General Sudirman Street). Lord Jagannath and His chariot team were also one of the participants who were invited to take part in the carnival. This ratha yatra was the closing one for the three series of Jagannnath Ratha Yatra in the month of February in Indonesia, after Manokwari and Bogor.

It was from two years back that the devotees were approaching the authorities with the proposal to get invitation from Surakarta Government to participate in the event. It was difficult to get a place in the carnival parade but by the mercy of the Lord Jagannath, devotees could pull Lord Jagannath on His ratha yatra during the event. Garuda prabhu and Subhananda Prabhu who live in Jogjakarta had taken the responsibility to see new places around Jogjakarta to do Ratha yatra and they found Solo City to be perfect.

“Your vivid description of the pre-arrangement of Ratha-yatra ceremony was so nice and elaborate that it has moved my heart. I thank you very much for grasping the momentum of Krsna consciousness, by your advanced service attitude. I can only wish that Krsna may give you more and more strength in understanding His transcendental nature. The only process for perceiving Krsna and His name, qualities, form, is our sincere service attitude with our senses”. SPL to Upendra, 4th July, 1968

In 1745, Sala was merely a small village on the banks of the Bengawan Solo River. It later changed and developed after Surakarta King Pakubuwono II moved the palace from Kartasura to Solo. Solo was the neighbouring city from Jogjakarta and this city is also famous for its cultures and past Hindu kingdom. The remnants of Hindu culture can also be seen in the corners of the city, from the name of building, street and also statues of panca pandava in the road crossing of public area.

Garuda prabhu announced about the participation of Ratha on “The Boyong Kedhaton carnival” through social media where devotees made discussion about the ratha yatra. This ratha yatra was under the flage of Solo Hindu Parisad. The news was welcomed joyfully by the devotees and because it was Saturday, many of them prepared to come to Solo. The Bus coordinator, Adiprana das prepared two buses to facilitate devotees’ eagerness to participate in the ratha yatra.

“As far possible all of the devotees should attend it, as has been done in the previous years. You may also hold Ratha-yatra as described above in Los Angeles. In this way both festivals can be performed very grandly.” SPL to Ramesvara, April 17th, 1977

Since there was no Hare Krishna temple or centre in Solo, Garuda prabhu searched a place that could be used as base camp for the preparation of the ratha yatra and also devotees could stay and help the preparation. He booked one hotel, Kusuma Hotel as basecamp. A day before the ratha yatra, devotees arrived from Sulawesi, Bali, and Bogor. Then on the day of the festival, more devotees came and almost 150 devotees participated in the ratha yatra.

“This is the actual position that if we are sincerely chanting our rounds, following the prescribed regulative principles and avoiding the ten offenses then very quickly Krsna sees our efforts and He gives all encouragement to such a sincere soul. Then with this taste of Krsna consciousness, we become more and more attracted so more and more, Krsna gives encouragement, and then more and more we increase in our desire to serve Krsna in pure Krsna consciousness. So in this way there is an unlimited ocean of nectar of devotional service which eternally increases on and on”. SPL to Krsna devi, 15th June, 1969

At 11.00 the ceremony started, welcome speech was given by Subhananda prabhu as a host in Solo. Then speech was given by the leader of Hindu Parisad. He said that he was very happy to welcome all devotees to Solo, and also expressed his utter amazement because the Hindu community in Solo had been trying to get entry into the carnival for a long time without success as it is very difficult to have access to the government to participate in their event and he was surprise that the devotees from Jogjakarta gots invited by the government.

It was Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu’s mission that Hare Krishna Mahamantra will be chanted in the villages and cities all throughout the world. After the ceremonial peerformances the Lords Were carried to the chariot, then arati and coconut lamps was offered to the Lord. Before the chariot pulled to the start point the devotees and the guest honoured prasadam prepared by the prasadam team from Bogor. Our gratitude to mataji Saraswati and her team who prepared the nice prasadam.

At 1.30 Pm, the chariot was pulled to the start point where other participants were already there. One officer from tourism department led the devotees. On the way to the location, tumultous kirtan lead by Sridar prabhu energized the devotees to forget the heat of the sun. Arriving on the venue the devotees join with other Hindu community groups in Solo. They brought Gambelan or traditional music instrument. After waiting for an hour the carnival started.

The carnival kicked off at the Ngarsopuro area in Mangkunegaran prior to going to Jl. Jenderal Sudirman. Among the participants were gambelan players, dancers, abdi dalem (royal servants), palace guards and various statues of elephants, monkeys and lions; just like the original boyongan procession 272 years ago.

When the parade arrived at Jl. Jenderal Sudirman, around 5 kilometers away from the starting point, it continued with the Adeging Kutha Sala colossal dance.

Thousands of residents could be seen watching the show alongside the road.

“A show like this serves as a reminder of our history. We should not forget where we come from. Let’s develop the city together and not forget our origins,” said Surakarta Mayor Mr. FX Hadi “Rudy” Rudyatmo during the opening ceremony.

Waiting the performance of the participant finished, the devotees with their fired up kirtan enthused the residents who watched alongside the road. The last participant after us was a group called Barong Sai or Mythical lion-like creature. They also performed on the street. But because have to wait for long time the instrumental players became tired and stopped play the instruments. Then the Barong Sai dancer raced to the front of the chariot and danced along with the devotees.

“This Narada Muni song is in your country tune and I think it will attract many more of the common men to join the kirtana, so you should practice this standard kirtana more conveniently so that during your Ratha-yatra festival you can have this singing with the procession.” SPL to Mukunda, 6th June, 1967

“but just yesterday we saw how they were chanting Hare Krishna and dancing in ecstasy throughout the whole Ratha-yäträ procession [an annual festival sponsored by the Krishna consciousness movement in cities around the world]. Do you think that was artificial? No. Artificially, nobody can chant and dance for hours together. They have actually awakened their Krishna consciousness by following a bona fide process”. The Science of Self-Realization

When all the participants performed their cultural presentations in front of the stage of honour then the devotees entered with the gopi dancers in front. The leader of ISKCON in Indonesia His Grace Vrajendra nandan prabhu presented a mahaprasad flower garland already offered to the Lord and a Bhagavad-gita to the mayor of Solo. They were delighted to receive the book. Then they were amused seeing the Lord on the chariot. The carnival finished at the mayor’s office yard. Many participants took the opportunity to take picture in front of the chariot. Many also asked for the flower garland that decorated the chariot. The prayer to the Lord Nrashinga deva concluded the ratha yatra. Devotes then took rest and prasadam was distributed to all. Book distribution team distributed 150 Srila Prabhupada’s books, and people scrambled to get Lords’ maha parasadam. An officer of Sragen regency approached Garuda Prabhu and Tapana Misra prabhu to invite the devotees to participate in the carnival in his city. It means that Lord Jagannath already captivated the heart of people in Central Java and paved His way into the next city for yet another enchanting Ratha Yatra festival.

“The main thing is to distribute books…. Introduce Ratha-yatra very nicely and distribute books.” SPL to Balavanta dasa, 4th October 1976

Our ever grateful obeisances are due to HH Kavichandra Swami and HH Ramai Swami, the GBCs of Indonesia, for their support and guidance to always look for new avenues for sankirtan. Our humble obeisances to HH Subhag Swami for always reminding us of the importance of the Sankirtan movement of Mahaprabu and inspiring us with the dedication of Sriman Jayananda Prabhu, for bringing us closer to Srila Prabhupada and keeping us united in family of ISKCON. Our gratitude to Leader of Surakarta Hindu Parisad.

Jay Jagannatha…Jay Baladeva…Jay Subadra devi ….

Jay Srila Prabhupada…..

here is the pictures link: