Sunday, August 6th, 2023
After a long prairie ride on that familiar TCH (Trans-Canada Highway) from Saskatchewan, we finally landed in the next province, Manitoba, and more specifically, the city of Winnipeg, at 2 am. The next morning (today) was the inauguration of Winnipeg's Ratha Yatra (Chariot Fest), and for that, our team of four was required to be there at 10:30 am. Fine!
The popular Hindu temple on St. Anne's Road was the venue for the event. It was a good choice. The temple became packed in no time prior to our outdoor pulling of a modestly-sized chariot with onboard deities, Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subadra. This festival, by the way, is not a regular practice for the Hindu community. The rath (chariot) is a popular draw for the people on the eastern side of India, but more recently, because of the cultural thrust from ISKCON, the Chariot Fest is taking hold all over India and around the world. Who would have ever thought that in conservative corners of Canada and the USA, that people of a spiritual fervour would come out, without apprehension, and flaunt Their Lordships on the street.
In Winnipeg, the procession stayed on temple grounds, but next year's organizers vow to go to the streets. I guess this is all a small chunk of the Vedic diaspora taking tiny steps to be known.
At downtime after the event, I ventured to a park and there met a Burmese fellow new to the country and new to the university. He only came three days ago and let his homeland which he describes is in turmoil with a civil war. Currently there is an attempted coup. So here he is, Aaron, by name, with no friends yet, except for me, I suppose. I let him know I am indeed his amigo, and so is Krishna in the heart.
MAY THE SOURCE BE WITH YOU!