Rath Yatra To Roll Down Yonge St.
Toronto: South Asian culture today frequently conjures up images of lavish Bollywood dance numbers and ornate henna tattoos. As beautiful as these things are, the real and lasting eastern riches are far more spiritually compelling. Acknowledging this truth, the third weekend of July will see the 40th Annual Festival of India – a free, two-day event – unveil South Asia’s most enduring spiritual culture in the heart of downtown Toronto in a contemporary, exhilarating, and family-friendly fashion.
The main festival officially kicks off on Saturday, July 14th when thousands will take to Yonge Street alongside three magnificent 40-foot tall floats. This surreal parade – also known as Ratha-Yatra – will be accompanied by a fervid menagerie of drumming, singing, and dancing all the way from Bloor to Queens Quay. The focus then shifts over to Centre Island for the remainder of the weekend where festival-goers will find a massive, tented outdoor pavilion that pulses with soul-enlivening music, shows, events, and activities. Specific Centre Island highlights include a free vegetarian feast, an acclaimed arts and culture showcase, a South Asian Bazaar, a fun-filled kids area, cooking demonstrations, and more.
On Sunday, July 15th, bespeaking a rising awareness that yoga isn’t just about those form-fitting pants, the Festival of India will present the Fifth Annual Yoga Meltdown. Celebrated as a “festival within a festival”, Yoga Meltdown is Toronto’s only free, outdoor spiritual yoga exhibition. This unique event provides all yoga enthusiasts, from the simply curious to hardcore yogis, with a chance to explore yoga in a distinctively holistic way. With free outdoor yoga classes led by professionals from across the GTA,
vegan cooking demonstrations, mantra meditation seminars and more, this mini-festival promises the public a rare opportunity to unwind and revitalize themselves amidst the splendor of Centre Island, one of Toronto’s most naturalized and picturesque locales.
“For forty years, we’ve been presenting an aspect of India that has flourished over centuries and across boundaries,” comments Krishna Sharma, Chairperson of the Festival of India, “and that is what really distinguishes our festival from the city’s other South Asian events. The Festival of India is geared towards all Torontonians and promotes conscious living and spiritual understanding in a dynamic and incredibly fun-filled way”.
The festival is officially presented by Toronto’s famous Hare Krishna Centre, also known as ISKCON Toronto.
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