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New hue to Krishna's birthday

New hue to Krishna's birthday

Author: Times News Network
Publication: The Times of India
Date: August 22, 2011

Introduction: Janmashtami Morphs with Innovative Idols, Paintings & Youth Fests

Over 3,000 youngsters in the city are busy these days practising electric guitar leads and drum rolls. Some others are rehearsing for an upcoming play. These hotshots are not your everyday followers of Ozzy Osbourne or Guns 'N' Roses: they are devotees of Lord Krishna and are part of a youth festival on the occasion of Janmashtami.

They are among many others who have added a new dimension to the popular perception of this centuries-old festival, which, for long, was limited to j h a n k is, or small tableaux depicting episodes of Lord Krishna's childhood. Janmashtami in the capital today is grander and more colourful.

"We are holding a youth festival, which will include a rock music concert of chants, and a theatre performance. About 3,000 students are expected to take part through the festival. We have decorated Lord Krishna idols in a more opulent manner with exotic flowers like orchids and chrysanthemums," said Rishi Kumara Dasa, director, English media, International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), Delhi.

Shopping malls are dotted with stalls selling Janmashtami merchandise. There are swings in different colours and sizes, embellished with stones and peacock feathers; small marble figurines of Krishna sitting on tables surrounded by bright outfits embroidered with z a r i, g o t a, and sequins; and wall hangings, ornaments, copper stools, key chains, lockets, and m a t k a s (pots). Lladro, a luxury brand for porcelain figurines, has showcased their range of four Krishna-oriented pieces.

The display has peacock as theme and is decorated with white and blue flowers. A stream of bright turquoise sequins, depicting a stream of water, runs through the scene and is surrounded by pebbles on both sides. "The figurines are expensive, but we still find many takers for them throughout the year. The small Lord Krishna statue is very popular with youngsters, as is the sacred cow piece," said Ashu Gupta, marketing manager of Lladro India. There is increased awareness about the importance of Janmashtami among toddlers, too.

"We tell children stories about Lord Krishna in a simple way, underlining all the milestones. We also talk about his playfulness and love for butter, so they feel more connected to him," said Megha Gupta, a teacher.Several art galleries like Krish Art Gallery and Gallery Joie have displayed works by artists, some of whom are from Vrindavan, the village where Krishna spent his youth.

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