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.