Saturday, 10 March 2012


Second stage on the Holi Yatra Sponsored Walk with Leicester Friends of Oxford Centre for Hindu StudiesThe goal is to visit 15 Hindu places of worship in Leicester on foot today. Two down ...

Holi (Hindi: होली) is a religious spring festival celebrated by Hindus, also known as the Festival of Colours. It is primarily observed in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal and in countries with large populations from India or of Indian descent who follow Hinduism.

Yatra (Sanskrit: यात्रा, "journey", "procession"), in Hinduism and other Indian religions, means pilgrimage to holy places and is generally undertaken in groups. One who goes on a yatra is known as a yatri. It is desirable, but not obligatory, for a Hindu to go on a yatra. One can go on a yatra for a variety of reasons, including festivals, to perform rituals for one's ancestors, or to obtain good karma. To traditional Hindus, the journey itself is as important as the destination, and the hardships of travel serve as an act of devotion in themselves. Visiting a sacred place is believed by the pilgrim to purify the self and bring one closer to the divine. (Thanks to Wikipedia for these definitions.)

On the way from Shree Jalaram Prarthana Mandal on Narborough Road (the first stage and starting point of the walk) to the Jain Centre on Oxford Street, we briefly stop off at what appears to be a disused shop in the West End. Although the place is locked this morning, we're told that the effigy of Lord Jagannath is inside, making this one of the smallest Hindu places of worship in Leicester. This effigy is one of three deities (along with that of Lord Baladeva and their sister Subhadra Devi) which are pulled along in chariots during the Rath Yatra celebration (or Festival of Chariots) which is observed annually in Leicester. The photo above (by Kiran Parmar, by permission) shows the three chariots arriving in Cossington Park during Leicester's celebration of Rath Yatra, 2009. The chariot bearing Lord Jagannath is the one in the front, with the red canopy.

Since the building is unattended today (and at many other times) I've decided (in the interests of security) not to state its location or take a photo of it - although there's nothing about it from the outside that would suggest there's anything special inside.

No comments:

Post a Comment