9th Chariot Festival, a Unique Spiritual and Cultural Event: Shree Jagannath Rath Yatra, 2016


HOUSTON: The Orissa Culture Center, in collaboration with Sri Sitaram Foundation, will celebrate the Ninth Chariot Festival on Saturday, July 9 at India House on 8888 West Bellfort.

This year, OCC is proud to present several classical dances presented by eminent dance schools in Odisha and Houston. The classical dances will include Bharat Natyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak and Odissi from different schools in Houston and most notably, two by the Odissi dance troupes Adruta and Ananta from Odisha. Adruta, a unit of the RAWA (Art for Service and Blessedness), has the sole objective of nurturing deserted and deprived children to gain excellence in the art of dance. Adruta has have achieved excellence under the tutelage of Guru Bharat Charan Giri  and earned recognition in India for its performance of folk dances and the unique Odissi style as improvised by the late Guru Devaprasad Das.


The core belief system that binds all humanity is rooted in the ancient Vedic philosophy of universal brotherhood which dates back to the dawn of human civilization and identifies every soul as the manifestation of the ultimate divine force that we call God. For over a thousand years, the rituals surrounding Lord Jagannath in Puri, Orissa, have influenced art, culture and spiritual evolution in the Indian subcontinent in many ways. Odissi dance has evolved from temple dance to one of the most popular Indian classical dances that we see today. Jayadeva’s lyrical Geeta Govindam in praise of Lord Jagannath has influenced Indian literature and music, resulting in numerous immortal compositions.

Many saints and Vedic scholars have visited the shrine at Puri to seek spiritual uplift and have spread the philosophy of religious tolerance among masses. In the 8th century, Adi Sankara visited Puri and established the Govardhana Matha for propagation of Rigvedic Philosophy and established three other Vedic centers in West, North and South India. In the 14th century, Lord Chaitanya visited Puri and saw Lord Jagannath as the manifestation of Lord Krishna and propagated the Bhakti movement to other parts of India.

Celebration of this festival is possible by generous support and sponsorship by participating organizations, individuals and is partially funded by a grant from Houston City Arts Alliance.

For sponsorships and details, visit www.houstonrathyatra.org, or call 832-225-2376, or e-mail at info@houstonrathyatra.org, or connect on https://www.facebook.com/HoustonRathYatra.