Curitiba is one of nine Ratha Yatra sites in Brazil.
On Saturday, April 24th, Brazil’s model master-planned city, Curitiba, held its 6th annual Ratha Yatra festival.
The procession began at XV November Avenue, and part of the parade took place along a large boardwalk located on this major road. The festival continued to the local temple, where there was distribution of sanctified food; lectures on Sanskrit, yoga, astrology and Indian cooking; and Indian dance and cultural presentations. These festivities continued on Sunday, culminating in a giant puppet show, featuring actors dressed up as characters from Vedic epics.
As the event fell on Ekadasi, a special day of the month on which grains are prohibited, the feast was special: Gauranga potatoes (a variation on potatoes au gratin using sour cream), farofa (a Brazilian food), banana and coconut candy and a wheat-free cake, among other items.
Over two thousand locals and three hundred devotees from around the country attended the event, which had been well-publicized on television. A week of smaller events leading up to the weekend also helped bring attention to the celebration.
Dhanvantari Swami, in addition to leading some of the seminars, spoke of the early days of ISKCON Brazil. He reminisced about a letter he wrote to Srila Prabhupada asking for help, and the subsequent arrival of the first devotees in Brazil.
Curitiba, in the south of Brazil, is noted worldwide for its organization, efficiency and beauty. Its public transport system and education system are considered the best in the country.
Jay Vrndavan Das and Sri Radhe Vrndavanesvari Dasi, the leaders of ISKCON Curitiba, organized the event, in cooperation with the ISKCON Franco da Rocha Mandir. The event is one of nine Ratha Yatras held in Brazil.