What am I talking about? Well, those few who are Indian or very familiar with Indian culture will know that: Ratha – Yatra is a Hindi festival, in celebration of Lord Jagannath for East Indians all around the world, but especially in Puri, Odisha, India.

In our city known for festivals, Montreal offers it’s locals and tourists a Summer chalk full of festivities from the grand to the obscure. A large majority of them are Entertainment related, Jazz fest, OSHEAGA and Just For Laughs drive crowds from all over the globe in eager anticipation of the front liners of that year.

Because of our diverse cultural heritage, we also cater to many festivals in celebration of foreign lands. Nuit D’afrique has been gaining popularity over the years and every year, our little piece of Ratha – Yatra dots the outskirts of Parc Jeanne – Mance (the side closest to Mount-Royal) with little kiosques and curious crowd clusters.

This festival is relatively unknown to most, other than plateau neighbors who surround the park, or those who pass by and suddenly remember that THERE IS  an Indian festival every Summer in MTL.

Ratha Yatra

One year, I caught the tail end of Ratha – Yatra and was disappointed that I didn’t know when it started. No one told me, I complained to myself, which meant that in fact, no one I knew (which is a lot of people) was on the pulse of when it was or that we needed to go.

Well, this year, I am taking initiative in my entourage and letting everyone know when it starts, and what it entails!

Ratha – Yatra runs from July 8th until July 9th and this is why it is easy to miss!

It is the 39th Festival of India in Montreal. There is a chariot parade that starts Saturday the 8th,  on St-Laurent (The Main) and Milton and goes up to Parc Jeanne Mance for the next 2 days.

As per their official site, this is what will be happening:

  • Acclaimed music, dance, & drama performances
  • A South Asian souvenir corner
  • Intriguing exhibits on ancient culture and heritage
  • Traditional face-painting
  • Yoga workshops
  • A fun-filled and educational children’s area

Shh.. What they do not advertise on their site so that a zillion starving artists are not the only ones interested, is that there are FREE vegetarian curries for all – while they last.

You can thank BKM for letting you in on that one, but come early they typically run out of food in the later part of the day.