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VIDEO: Big turnout for first Ratha Yatra celebration in Kelowna

The festival started with a parade through downtown Kelowna
The first Ratha Yatra celebration in Kelowna was held on June 23, 2024.

Kelowna's City Park was filled with about 1,500 people people on June 23 to celebrate the Hindu festival of Ratha Yatra. 

Held in Kelowna for the first time, Master of Ceremonies Peter Konikow was pleased with the turnout. 

“This is an ancient festival coming from India, it’s thousands of years old, and it was introduced to the west by a saint,” Konikow said. “He’s the founder of our movement ISKCON, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. He brought a lot of ancient traditions from India including this celebration.”

Konikow hopes the festival will encourage people to be more inquisitive about spiritual life.

The event started with a parade at 10 a.m. in which a cart is pulled. The pulling of the strings symbolizes devotees pulling Lord Jagannath closer to their heart.

The parade was led by famous Hindu monk Bhakti Maharaj, who is known as the walking monk after walking across Canada three times.

“Our city has really changed and we have people of all different faiths and cultures moving here,” explained Councillor Mohini Singh. “I saw people of all different backgrounds join in the celebration. That is what Canada is all about.”

Following the parade at City Park where attendees enjoyed free food, a cow petting zoo, dancing and music into the afternoon.


Brittany Webster

About the Author: Brittany Webster

I am a video journalist based in Kelowna and capturing life in the Okanagan
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