KOLKATA, India – Artists in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata were busy on Friday putting the final touches to colorful chariots and accessories for one of the most important Hindu festivals in the country.
Painters applied red, yellow and blue to gigantic chariot wheels with motifs like maces and conch shells for the festival on Saturday, locally known as “Rathyatra,” an efe-epa journalist reported.
Also known as Jagannath Rath Yatra, it is an annual event dedicated to Lord Jagannath (Lord Krishna), his sister Goddess Subhadra and his elder brother Lord Balabhadra, and is celebrated in eastern India, especially in Orissa and West Bengal states.
During the festival, huge chariots are pulled along the streets with crowds of onlookers trying to touch the thick tow ropes, believing it brings them good luck.
Smaller streets are filled with mini chariots being pulled by children and teenagers, decorated with flowers and paper chains and lamps and idols of the gods.
On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of devotees are expected to pull the chariots down major roads for the Kolkata Rathyatra, which has been organized by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) since 1971.
Devotees are also expected to visit the Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri, Orissa to attend that local Rathyatra.