Ratha Yatra in Ahmedabad

The Ratha Yatra, also called the chariot festival, is a Hindu parade complete with elephants, “muscle men” and the throwing of candy. It’s held all over India, the second biggest one in the country being in Ahmedabad.  The reason for the festival is to bring the idol, Jagannath (in the form of a deity) to their aunts house. Basically, they are having a large procession to bring a deity from one temple to another. Side note: I asked like 10 Gujaratis what the parade was for until I got tired of shrugging shoulders  and just went on wikipedia. Interestingly, the procession is on a 450 year-old fixed route that happens to go straight through a large muslim neighborhood in Old City. There are still sizable tensions between Muslims and Hindus in these parts of the country (majorly due to the 2002 riots which killed more than 800 Muslims and 250 Hindus) so there were police EVERYWHERE to make sure everything was under control. There were no problems though, and most police men just stood around throwing candy and drinking chai.

Fun Fact: During the parade myself and around 10 other foreigners found a balcony to stand on. When everyone in the procession would see us, they would wave, laugh, and point; basically act like we were the entertainment and not them. The next day, a group of us were in the paper for attending the parade. I think the best part is the caption which instead of saying “foreigners witnessed the Yatra”, reads “The Yatra witnessed foreigners”. I guess we were part of the the entertainment!


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