The Hindu Temple of Central Indiana will be filled with people on the morning of July 2 in celebration of an Odisha Ratha Yatra celebration. Odisha, formerly Orissa, is a state on the Bay of Bengal in eastern India.
The temple is at 3350 N. German Church Rd., Indianapolis.
Nearly 300 people will gather to celebrate the tradition of helping Indian deities, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra, begin their journey to their aunt’s place. The deities will be pulled around the temple to signal their going away as hundreds of people line the temple to celebrate. At the end of the nine-day festival, the deities will be brought back to the temple in the same celebratory fashion.
Shriya Una, a member of Jagannath Association of Indiana, said the event brings Indian people together from across the U.S. who now live in Indiana.
“They all just join in together and enjoy this festivity,” Una said. “It’s just a day to, you know, come together, have fun, but it also builds connections with the community. It’s something that people really love to do as it is a celebration to the gods.”
Ratha Yatra is a daylong event that is open to the public. It will start with chariots being pulled around the temple. That activity will be followed by a cultural program where kids and adults perform traditional Indian songs, dances and other forms of art. The celebration also will highlight traditional clothing, art and food.
The event, which was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic, was created in 2015. Approximately 400 people attended last year’s event, and organizers expect a larger crowd this year. The festival will conclude July 10 as the chariots are pulled back to the temple.