Ratha Jatra of Lord Jagannath being one of the largest religious festivals of India, is not just limited to its borders but also hugely celebrated outside India. Iconic cities like San Francisco, London, Los Angeles, Tokyo and even the remote corners of Russia celebrate Ratha Jatra in its full glory.
Apart from being celebrated originally at the majestic city of Puri in Odisha, here’s a list of the iconic cities outside India where the festival of Ratha Jatra is observed gallantly.
1. San Francisco, USA
Almost 49 years ago in 1967, the first Ratha Jatra outside India was celebrated in the city of San Francisco. Interestingly, until today, the people of this city rejoice in the festivity with utmost grandeur!
2. Prague, Czech Republic
Every year on Ratha Jatra, the streets of Czech capital, Prague are dotted with devotees who are seen pulling a 40-foot-high chariot carrying the idols of Lord Jagannath, Balabhdra and Subhadra. This crowd is also ardently followed by a procession of singers, musicians and dancers who revel in the festivity all along.
3. Durban, South Africa
Ratha Jatra firstly embraced the Durban shoreline in 1988 and is celebrated vibrantly ever since. Infact, besides the usual chariot parade, many other cultural activities featuring local & international artistes grace this spiritual day!
4. Rome, Italy
Even Italian devotees are no less in thronging and dancing down the streets in adoration of the Lord. It was way back in 1981 at the Tuscan town of Viareggio when the first Ratha Jatra in Italy was held. The image below depicts the debut Ratha Jatra celebrations in Italy’s capital, Rome.
5. Brisbane, Australia
Amidst colorful singing & merrymaking, the occasion of Ratha Jatra is honored in the beautiful city of Brisbane. And the cultural fiesta which ends up this jubilant street procession is worth witnessing!
6. Moscow, Russia
Here’s a splendid view of Ratha Jatra observance in Moscow wherein nearly 200 Russian devotees braved the severe 20 below zero weather and snow fall to pull the deities blissfully. Truly a sight to behold!
7. Bhaktapur, Nepal
Ratha Jatra in Nepal is spectacularly celebrated in the city of Bhaktapur. One can even visit the Jagannath temple in Kathmandu which miraculously survived the massive 2015 earthquake.
8. Florida, USA
It’s thrilling to view the colorful & decorative chariots being pulled through the beautiful beaches of Florida on the auspicious day of Ratha Jatra. With classical dance & music centering the chariots, the feel of this festivity gets elevated all the more!
9. London, England
The famous Trafalgar Square is filled with vibrant colours of the chariots as huge crowd gather every year to blissfully celebrate Ratha Jatra!
10. Auckland, New Zealand
Ratha Jatra is also famously celebrated in the beautiful city of Auckland. True to its fame, the devotees’ dance in front of the chariots take place with full fervour!
By tracing some of the best Ratha Jatra celebrations held across the world, we can deduce that Lord Jagannath is undoubtedly the supreme Lord of the Universe!