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Festivals - Jhulan Yatra
 

One of the most popular events in the holy town of Vrindavan, India - where Lord Krishna appeared 5,000 years ago - is the celebration of Jhulan Yatra, the Radha-Krishna swing festival. In Vrindavan among the local villagers and inhabitants this festival lasts for 13 days. In Vrindavan this is one of the biggest festivals of the year and Vrindavana is very crowded at this time, literally hundreds of thousands of people from surrounding towns and villages visit Vrindavan over this period in the auspicious sacred month of Shravana (July-Aug). Opulence or simplicity, everything is used in Vrindavan for the service of the Divine couple, so during this time you may see swings made simply, out of love, but often the swings are made of gold or silver.

In Sri Vrindavan for five days, in many of the 5000 temples there, the small Utsav-vighraha functional Deities (Vijay-utsav bera) are taken from the altar and placed on an elaborately decorated swing in the temple room. After receiving the traditional arati worship, the Deities are pushed on Their swing. Members of the congregation are invited to participate. Each person offers flower petals and personal prayers, and then pushes the swing several times as the other members chant Hare Krishna, Jaya Radhe Jaya Krishna Jaya Vrindavan, or Jaya Radhe, Jaya Jaya Madhava dayite in kirtan. The atmosphere of this festival is especially sweet as everyone has the chance to intimately serve Radha and Krishna.

    The same festival is observed in other parts of India too in this sacred month of Shravana. For example in Jagannath Puri, for the pleasure of Lord Jagannath's utsav vighraha (Madan-mohan ji, this festival is celebrated from Shravana Shukla Dashami (10th Tithi/phase of the Moon of the light fortnight) until Pratipada (1st tithi of the dark fortnight), a period of seven days. Sri Madanmohan, Lord Jagannath's representative deity (vijay utsav), as well as Laxmi and Vishwadhatri are placed on a decorative wooden swing on Muktimandap (Jhulanmandap). There, worshippers have a chance to swing the Lord, thus entering into His pastimes. On the day of the full moon (Gamha Purnima or Jhulan Purnima), Lord Balabhadra's appearance day is celebrated.

In Vrindavan it starts on the Tritya (third day) of the bright fortnight of Shravana and lasts until the full moon night of the month. During this festival the Radha-Krishna Deities in the temples are swung on a swing.   Some of the main temples that this festival is celebrated at are the Banke Bihari Temple and the Radha-Raman Temple in Vrindavana, the Dwarkadish temple in Mathura, and the Larily Lal Temple in Varsana.

In this month of Shravana (which is during the rainy season), the clouds in the sky begin to make a thundering sound and extremely fine mist-like rain drizzles everywhere. The atmosphere is very beautiful and pleasant after the heat of the summer months, for at that time all the forests of Sri Vrndavana Dham begin to bloom. Many types of flowers on both sides of the Yamuna can be seen, such as beli, chameli, jui, and madhavi all begin to appear in bloom. The entire place becomes alive again and bumblebees look here and there chanting, "Radhe Radhe" and the cuckoos also call out, “Radhe Radhe.”

The peacocks and peahens all call out “Keka keka.” The sound Ke means: “Which male person has the ability to do a very wonderful thing? Srimati Radhika’s maan (Her sulky mood of transcendental loving jealous anger), as well as Her shyness and patience, are like a very tall and immovable mountain. However, which male person, ‘Ke,’ can crush that mountain into powder so that there is nothing left? This person is none other than Sri Krsna.” Ka means: “Which female person can do a very wonderful thing? There is a powerful, mad elephant named Sri Krsna-chandra whom no one can control. One person, however, by the goad of Her maan, can catch that elephant, bring Him under Her control, and then bind Him in the shackle of Her love. Who is that? It is Srimati Radharani.” In this way the peacocks and peahens in their mystic calls glorify Srimati Radharani and Lord Sri Krsna

 
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