India

In pictures: Hindus celebrate Krishna's birthday

  • 18 August 2014
  • From the section India

Hindus around the world are celebrating the festival of Janmashtami, marking the birth of Krishna, one of the most popular Gods in Hinduism.

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Krishna is regarded as an incarnation of Vishnu - the preserver of the universe. Vishnu is part of the Hindu holy trinity with the creator Brahma and the destroyer Shiva.

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On Janmashtami, children across India dress up as baby Krishna - darkening their complexion, adding a peacock feather to the crown and putting a flute to their lips. Here, a child participates in a fancy dress competition at a temple in the northern city of Chandigrah.

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Krishna loved milk and milk products like curd and butter and many of the stories of baby Krishna depict him as a "butter thief". On Janmashtami, many of the preparations to be distributed among the devotes are made from milk.

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Plays are enacted based on scenes from Krishna's early life. Some Hindus fast for the day and eat only after the midnight celebrations. Many girls - like the one in the picture above - dress up as Radha, Krishna's favourite consort.

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Devotees celebrate the birthday of the child Krishna by forming a pyramid with the last climber, usually a child, climbing to the top to break the "dahi handi," an earthen pot filled with curd. After reports of children killed or injured in falls from the pyramid in previous years, the Mumbai High Court earlier this month set the age limit for participants at 18. The ruling was challenged in the Supreme Court which said children as young as 12 could participate.

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The festival is also celebrated in the neighbouring Nepal.

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Hindus in Bangladesh too celebrate Janmashtami. Here, devotees carry a child dressed like Krishna in a basket in a scene depicting the story of his birth.