The first Ratha-yatra was held 5,000 years before, when Krishna, Balarama and Subhadra came from Dwaraka to Kuruksetra. Similarly, Jagannath, Baladev and Subhadra Ratha-Yatra is being observed in Jagannath Puri from time immemorial. In the Sankirtan movement started by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, conducting Ratha Yatra is a very integral part of the movement. In the same tradition, Srila Prabhupada introduced this Ratha-yäträ festival in the western world for the first time in San Francisco in the year 1967, which is now conducted in all the major cities of the world.
In the Brahmäëòa Puräëa it is said, rathe ca vamanam drstva punar janma na vidyate, “A person who sees the Lord’s Ratha-yäträ car festival and then stands up to receive the Lord can purge all kinds of sinful results from his body.”
A similar statement is there in the Bhaviñya Puräëa, in which it is said, “Even if born of a lowly family, a person who follows the Ratha-yäträ car when the Deities pass in front or from behind will surely be elevated to the position of achieving equal opulence with Viñëu.”
The colourful SRI SRI KRISHNA BALARAM Ratha-Yatra festival in Mysuru is conducted every year in the month of January, beginning from the Palace Anjaneya Temple at 6 pm and proceeding through the main streets of Mysore. Devotees in large number enthusiastically offer their service by pulling the ropes of the chariot with love and devotion. They also sing kirtans and dance in awe of chanting the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra.
The splendor of the procession is enhanced by few students from, chanting the auspicious Vedic mantras leading the way. A troupe performing the nadaswaram adds more sparkle to the entourage. Along with the blessings of receiving darshan of Their Lordships on the Chariot, everybody also receive prasadam.
A brilliant display of fireworks through-out the route of the yatra is arranged for the pleasure of Sri Krishna Balarama. Women come out of their homes to decorate their door front with rangoli, bringin offerings of arati and flowers and seek the blessings of Their Lordships.
After travelling for about 6 Kilometers, the Chariot arrives at the ISKCON Mysuru campus to witness thousands of devotees waiting at the gate to offer a grand welcome to the procession which lasts for nearly 3 hours. The gorgeous Ratha Yatra comes to an end with the distribution of Puliyogare prasadam to more than 30,000 devotees.