Welcome to the web site of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in Bulgaria.
You are welcome to our weekly gatherings. We hold them each Sunday, strating from 17:00 PM. Please, feel free to contact us for more information about the congregational Sunday programs.
Briefly: ISKCON exists in Bulgaria since almost two decades. It follows the same standard programs and activities as it does worldwide. Among them are the book-distribution, congregational chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, festivals, like Ratha Yatra (hold in Bulgaria since 1996), weekly gatherings and spiritual programs for the congregation and new comers.
No boubts, the annual RATHA YATRA Festival is the biggest festival organized by the Bulgarian branch of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
Here is a brief history of our festival, as published in the Back to Godhead magazine:
The first Rathayatra parade in Bulgaria was organized in 1996, the centennial year of the birth of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Srila Prabhupada celebrated Rathayatra as a child in Calcutta, his hometown, and later introduced it in cities worldwide.
The Bulgarian Rathayatra festival was the first in the Balkans. Ananda Chaitanya Dasa carved the deities of Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra. Sasa Bindhu Dasa, an art-college graduate, painted them to match the deities in Zurich. Nicki, who studied architecture, designed the chariot according to the scriptural specifications. And an elder wheelwright in the village of Manolovo made the chariot in three months, with Nicki and Indrasena Dasa helping him.
Rathayatra has now been held every summer in Sofia for eleven consecutive years. The national TV stations often show reports, and the main newspapers publish color photos of the festival. The parade passes the main buildings of downtown Sofia: the National Palace of Culture, the President’s office, the Council of Ministers, and the Parliament.
On the evening before the event, to invoke auspiciousness, devotees perform a public Vedic fire sacrifice at the place where the parade begins. The Indian ambassador, the religious adviser of the former Bulgarian president, a university teacher, and other VIPs often come to the opening ceremonies of the parade and festival.
Naturally the festival in Sofia is not as well attended as those in London, Los Angeles, or Jagannatha Puri, but the citizens of Sofia like it. Many join the parade, pull the chariot ropes, and learn about the sacred meaning of the festival. Rathayatra is one of the major Vaishnava holidays celebrated by Krishna’s devotees in Bulgaria, and it is attended even by devotees from neighboring Macedonia and Serbia.
After riding through the main streets, Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra finally stop at a pleasant small park, full of venerable trees that generously shade the deities and devotees after the procession under the hot summer sun. The festival site takes on the mood of a garden party. The program includes traditional devotional songs and dances and a talk on Vedic wisdom. Hundreds of plates with prasadam are distributed to guests and passers-by.
If you are interested to meet the Bulgarian devotees, if you want to know more about the Hare Krishna movement in Bulgaria, if you need assistance in Krishna-consciouss topics - we'd love to help you as much as we can. Please, contact us!
You may also take a look at our Ratha Yatra gallery, where we have published some pictures from our annual Chariot Festival of Lord Jagannatha.
This site is not fully available in English. We are sorry for the inconvenience! If you need to know more about the Bulgarian Society for Krishna Consciousness, please, contact us, as listed bellow.