Kolkata celebrates Janmashtami

Kolkata, Aug 28 : The eastern metropolis Wednesday celebrated Krishna Janmashtami with great fervour through idol worship, dance-dramas, "satsangs" (religious gatherings) and vegetarian feasts as a mark of respect to Lord Krishna.

The main focus of the 5,239th birthday of Krishna in the city was on artistically crafted tableaux crafted by families belonging to the Marwari, Gujarati and Bihari communities.

Traditional tableaux or "jhaankis" depicted the infant form of Krishna in Vrindavan, while a giant "jhoola" (swing) with baby Krishna, put up by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in Gurusaday road in the central part of the city, drew thousands of visitors.

"The celebrations began at 4.30 a.m. and 'prasad' (holy food) will be offered throughout the day. The final 'raajbhog' will be offered to devotees after midnight today," Radharam Das of ISKCON told IANS.

"Ours is a joint family of 22 members, and every year we make elaborate 'jhaankis'. This year we made 'jhaankis' too, and the street kids helped us out," said Vinay Shroff, a Marwari businessman.

Devotees, with foreheads smeared in vermilion, greeted each other with the customary "Hare Krishna".

People participated in "bhajan" (devotional songs) programmes and distributed "raajbhog" to people from all walks of life.

Delicious vegetarian fare like "khichdi", daal, pooris and a plethora of desserts were on everybody's platter.

Curd was sold in huge amounts due to its religious significance.

Braving the downpour, enthusiastic Krishna devotees formed a human pyramid to break the traditional "dahi handis" (curd in clay pots) strung high above the street-level.

Refreshing "lassi" made from curd, after being offered to the god, was the drink of the day.

--IANS (Posted on 28-08-2013)

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