The Rathotsavam (Chariot Festival) at Prasanthi
Nilayam is a tradition that goes back to the early 1950’s.
This festival marks the beginning of the Birthday Celebrations
of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. On this day, the students
of Bhagawan, chanting Vedic hymns and singing Bhajans, lead
a procession with the idol of Lord Krishna on a rath (chariot)
and the idols of Lord Rama, Lakshmana and Mother Sita on a
palanquin from Sai Kulwant Hall to the Old Mandir, or what
is now the Kalyana Mantapam, in the village of Puttaparthi.
After worship is offered to the deities, the idols of Rama,
Lakshmana and Sita return to the Mandir. Later, in the evening,
the idols are taken out in a procession in the village of
Puttaparthi, amidst joyous celebration by the villagers.