The chariot festival of Lord Jagannatha (the Lord of the Universe) originated 5,000 years ago in India on the East Coast of Orissa, in a city called Jagannath Puri.
This festival involves taking the deities of Lord Jagannath, Lord Baladeva and Lady Subhadra on hand-drawn chariots through the streets. On this day the deities come out of the temple to offer blessings to all living entities. This festival is performed in a mood of love and devotion and evokes auspiciousness, harmony and good will for all!
The Festival of Chariots was introduced to the west in 1967 by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness. This festival is now celebrated annually in major cities such as Moscow, New York, London, Rome, Berlin, Paris, Los Angeles, Toronto, Kuala Lumpur, Auckland, Johannesburg and many more!
The parade has its basis on a famous story from the scriptures of India: Krishna, playing the role of a rich, powerful king, ventures on His chariot with a secret notion to return to the place of His sweet memories, where He lived as a child growing up in a rural cowherd village. On the way He pauses to rest his horses and some old former village friends discover Him. They pick up the ropes that yoke the horses to His grand chariot and affectionately force Him to return with them to His old home.