MORE THAN 4,000 spiritualists, meditative gurus and normal Reading residents flocked to Forbury Gardens on last weekend for the fourth Reading Rathayatra Festival.

Organised by the town's branch of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), the event provided a non-secterian day of activities rooted in Eastern tradition.

At 12pm Dr. Shahrar Ali, Deputy Leader of the Green Party, and Councillor Sarah Hacker, former Lord Mayor of Reading led a colourful procession from Town Hall Square to the festival's site.

Once there punters enjoyed a line up of kirtan bands and mantra music, magic and henna tattoo drawing as well as free meditation classes.

Around 100 volunteers served the masses 2,500 plates of vegetarian food on a warm Reading afternoon.

Festival organiser Phil Alexander said: “It was such a positive day. There were hiccups but the general experience was exceptionally positive.

“It attracted a lot of people that were interested in learning more about the self and the soul.

“The message of the free food is giving without motive. On a spiritual level the festival is raising conciousness. On a material level, it gave people a chance to come together.”

For more information about Reading ISKCON go to