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Devotees throng Vrindavan

Thousands participated in the chariot procession to mark the homecoming of Lord Krishna.

india Updated: Mar 30, 2006 13:31 IST

Thousands of devotes participated in the chariot procession in Varanasi to mark the mythological homecoming of Lord Krishna.

The procession, part of the ongoing ten-day religious fair from March 17, began at the famous Rangnath temple and culminated at the same site after traversing the length and breadth of the religious city.

Devotees from across the state thronged the temple to pull the chariot that carried the idol of main deity Krishna.

Krishna is believed to be the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the Preserver and one of the trinities of the Hindu pantheon, the other two being Brahma, the Creator and Shiva, the Destroyer.

According to Hindu mythology, Krishna is believed to have taken human form to destroy an evil king called Kansa, his maternal uncle.

Krishna's imprisoned parents had to smuggle out the child born at midnight to save him from the evil king.

The day is celebrated to mark his arrival in Varanasiwhere he spent his childhood.

"It is considered to be one of the biggest religious festivals in Uttar Pradesh. People from all across the state visit the place to participate in the chariot festival. The idol of the Lord is decorated and the devotees participate in the procession with fervour," a priest Acharya Rajendra said.

The unique festival also attracts a large number of tourists, both from home and abroad.

Lolita, a tourist from Russia, compared it with the annual Rath Yatra or Chariot festival at eastern Puri.

"I am pretty familiar with the festival as I have been following Krishna festival for the past 15 years. The same festival is also held in Jagannath Puri," Lolita said.

Puri's chariot festival of Hindu God Jagannath is billed as the biggest in the world, and each year about a million devotees from India and abroad gathers at the seaside resort to witness it.

First Published: Mar 25, 2006 15:52 IST