Devotees in Puri celebrate swinging festival

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Puri, Aug 21 : Devotees here celebrated 'Jhulan Yatra' which literally means swing procession ahead of Janmashtami, the festival marking the birth of Lord Krishna.

During the 17-day long festival, idols of Lord Krishna and his consort Radha are placed on beautifully decorated swings and nights are spent in singing and dancing before the deities.

"This is a festival where we swing the gods. In a way we show our gratitude by serving the god for giving us all we wished for. We feel happy doing this because we keep asking favors from god during our prayers," said Sriman Sagar Maharaj, a priest.

Though the origin of the festival is not known, it is believed 'Jhulan Yatra' is the first major festival after the famous Chariot festival.

"It should be celebrated with a lot of pomp and fervor so that we do not forget our traditional culture and can preserve our age old culture. The swings made in different designs and colours for God," said Urmila Krishna, a devotee.

According to Hindu mythology, Krishna is the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Lord Vishnu is believed to have taken human form to destroy the evil Mathura King called Kansa.

Krishna's imprisoned parents -- Vasudeva and Devaki -- had to smuggle their newborn out at midnight to save him from Kansa.

Vasudev carried his newborn child in a reed basket and left him in the care of another couple at Gokul'.

The birth anniversary of Krishna is celebrated as 'Janmashtami'. It is celebrated on two consecutive days. The first is the day when Krishna was actually born, and the second, when he reached Gokul. By Sarda Lahangir

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