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Ancient Babylon's Akitu - Rathayatra Festival
Written by Vrndavan Parker   
ImageAncient Inscriptions reveal that the Babylonians celebrated an annual Rathayatra Cart Festival over 2,500 years ago. In fact this festival is regarded as one of the earliest recorded such celebrations known to history. 

During this 11 day festival "the statues were cleaned and received new dresses. On the next day, the festival reached its climax when all statues were brought out from their rooms and shown to the Babylonian populace. The gods started a tour through the city to the river. Here, they boarded a small fleet, that brought them to the house of the New year. The king himself guided the Supreme God Marduk, (who rests upon a winged serpent Garuda-Ananta). On the last part of the route, the ships were placed on chariots, so that the gods were driven to the house of the New year. This festival was called Akitu by the ancient Babylonians and continued for centuries not only in Babylon but in Palmyra and the temple of Baal was inaugurated on the same date as Akitu. At the beginning of the third century AD , it was still celebRated in Emessa in Syria, to honor the god Elagabal; the Roman emperor Heliogabalus (218-222) even introduced the festival in Italy." 
 
Research shows that today a very similar festival is celebrated annually in Jagannath Puri, Odisha in Eastern India. It is the annual Jagannath Rathayatra Festival in which hundreds of thousands of people gather to celebrate and honor Lord Jagannath, Subhadra and Baladeva. 

This evidence is yet another reminder that it is Hindu India's living ancient culture and traditions that allow us an accurate window into the past. To Know Vedic India is to Know the Ancient World in all its mystery and wonder.
 
It is also interesting to note that Krishna's city of Dwaraka and Babylon both have the same meaning. Dwarka means "gateway to the Supreme" or "city of gates," and Babylon was called Babilli in early 2nd millennium BC, meaning "Gate of God" or "Gateway of the God."

Unlike Babylon, Egypt, Peru, Greece or Mexico India's ancient civilization continues to this very day. As noted in this documentary India is indeed the last place where one can still experience the festivals and the rhythm of the ancient world. 
 
Detailing the Connections between ancient Babylon and Jagannath Puri, Odisha, India
Start at 0:35 till 4:00 English Transcript Below
 
 
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Hindu Today Magazine March-April 2014 Edition
Written by Vrndavan Parker   

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