Jhulan Yatra is one of the most important festivals for the followers of Lord Krishna celebrated in the monsoon month of Shravan. After Holi and Janmashthami, it is the biggest and most popular religious occasion of the Vaishnavas. Known for its spectacular display of decorated swings, song and dance, Jhulan is a joyful festival celebrating the Radha-Krishna amour coupled with the romantic fervor of the rainy season in India.
Jhulan Yatra has its origins in the major Krishna legends and literature such as the Bhagavata Purana, the Harivamsa, and the Gita Govinda, and the metaphor of the swing of the monsoon or 'Sawan Ke Jhuley' have since been used by poets and songwriters to describe the romantic feeling that permeates the rainy season in the Indian subcontinent.
My childhood memories are etched with the fun activities that surrounded Jhulan, especially the care that we would take to construct the miniature landscape that would form the backdrop of the altar and beautifully decorate the set with every little household trinket we could lay our hands on. The centerpiece of the set would be the swing on which sat a pair of dolls depicting Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha. The swing would be wreathed with colorful flowers, fresh blossoms, leaves, creepers, beads, strings, and streamers and a replica of the forest groves of Vrindavan would often be created to relive the enchantment of the setting where Krishna courted Radha.
If this reminds you of how you celebrated Jhulan Yatra, do share your experience below.