On Sunday I was in Ipswich, the oldest continually inhabited Anglo-Saxon town in the UK. It goes back to around 400 AD, when those Angles, Saxons and Jutes first came over here to take our jobs and marry our women. Because they called themselves Englisch they gave our country and people the name. They lasted in power until the Norman French invaded in 1066 and stayed for quite some time.
The region is still known as East Anglia and its been a favourite travelling area of mine for several years. I distributed books there for many years, and have taken festivals and follow-up meetings to many towns in the counties of Suffolk and Norfolk which make up the region. On the map you’ll see the famous 13th century university town of Cambridge where we have a thriving Hare Krishna group, Ipswich, where we have a lively group of newcomers, and Norwich, where we have many friends and supporters. St. Albans, at the bottom of the map, is very close to Bhaktivedanta Manor.
Maps show where those foreigners invaded, and what the region looks like now
So Saturday it was the turn of the descendants of all those Anglo-Saxons to experience Rathayatra for the first time. The parade was held in conjunction with an Indian Mela, a local celebration of Indian arts and performance as part of the Ipswich Arts Week. Its an event that’s grown over the past six years and attracts a few thousand people from the region who are interested in all things Indian. So a good place for us to demonstrate the best of India’s spiritual culture.
Antardwipa das came down from Leicester with his mini-chariot, and the new preachers for the area, two young married couples, Kishor-murti and Dhunya, Karuna-Sindhu and Hana, came with their combined kirtan enthusiasm. Local coordination was provided by Lila Patel and Sejal Patel, with support from Vinay who hosts the local meetings at his home. Pictures taken by Vaibhav.
The procession through the streets of Ipswich begins. Karuna on accordion and singing, Kishor on mridanga drum, Karuna’s wife Hana on hand cymbals
Dhunya and Hana, two happy bhakti-yogis
Through the park, more devotees joining us as we walk
Mastermind of the Mini-Rathayatra phenomenon and architect of the online virtual temple: http://www.iskconlife.com – Antardwipa das
How an idea turns into a movement. Just do it – and the people will come
Karuna and Kishor created some strong and melodic kirtan
The police drop by to see what all the music and flags are about…
…and give Lord Jagannatha a police escort to the Mela
A good-sized crowd of Anglo-Saxons, all interested in things Indian
The Holy Name arrives, together with the Rathayatra. Later, many people stop by to speak with us.