Swindon celebrates Rath Yatra Hindu festival for first time

A colourful Rath chariot
Image caption,Rath Yatra is an annual chariot festival

Hundreds of people have paraded through a town centre as part of a Hindu festival.

Rath Yatra – or Chariot Festival – attracts millions in India and has been celebrated in Swindon, Wiltshire, for the first time.

The festival procession started from the Swindon Hindu Centre.

It featured a colourful chariot, a flag flown in from a temple in India and some special offerings, chanting and dancing.

Hindu deities
Image caption,The festival procession started from the Swindon Hindu Centre

Amala Manjari Devi Dasi travelled from Reading for the event.

She said: “Rath mean’s ‘chariot’ and Yatra means ‘procession’. This is a chariot festival where the Lord of the Universe Jagannath is coming.

“This festival originated on the east coast of India many thousands of years ago.”

Hindu deities
Image caption,The festival has previously been celebrated in other UK cities such as Reading and Bristol

Siddarth Patel from the Swindon Hindu Centre helped to organise the event.

“Swindon has never had this Rath Yatra before. Other cities like Reading and Bristol have had it so it’s really a pleasure to have it in Swindon.

“There’s a whole team of people who https://berdasarkanapa.com/ have put a huge amount of effort. It’s taken three months to build the chariot and we’ve got some really great DIY engineers who have done a fantastic job.”

Rath Yatra chariot being carried by people
Image caption,The chariot was assembled over three months
Festival crowd
Image caption,A large crowd gathered in Swindon for the event
People carrying the Rath Yatra chariot
Image caption,The procession featured chanting and dancing

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