Festival of the Chariots s will travel from Santa Monica to Venice.

Main Street will welcome its second parade of the year this weekend with the 47th Annual Festival of the Chariots.

Described as a “feast for the senses,” the Chariot Festival is a cultural celebration featuring elaborately decorated chariots, vibrant processions, traditional rituals, and captivating performances.

ISKCON, which stands for International Society for Krishna Consciousness, hosts the yearly celebration in concert with similar parades and festivals that take place the world over called Ratha Yatra, which began in India millennia ago. ISKCON is a part of the Hindu religion and its followers, sometimes referred to as Hare Krishnas, will gather in Venice following the parade for a large celebration open to anyone and everyone.

The chariots are massive wooden structures on wheels with 30-foot canopies that raise and lower to go under power lines along the parade route. Each chariot honors a deity — Lord Jagannatha, Lord Balarama, and Lady Subhadra — and is decorated with vibrant colors and flowers.

The Chariot Festival holds deep cultural significance for participants, representing unity and community spirit. Like many events, the parade was suspended during the pandemic but returned to much joy last year.

This year, the Civic Center parking lot will be closed overnight for set-up. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. traveling down Main Street from Pico towards Rose. The three hand drawn floats will turn right on Rose and travel into Venice for the celebration. Main Street will be closed as the parade passes through but streets will reopen on a rolling basis behind the event.

The festival begins at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 6. Visit https://www.larathayatra.com/ for more information.


Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...