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Nag Nathaiya Leela of Varanasi

Varanasi is world famous for annual celebration of Ram Leela and Krishna Leela. Leela or Lila means an act or dance. Particular chapters of the Leela have got associated with particular places in the city. Like, Bharat-Milap (when Ram returns to Ayodhya and meets his younger brother Bharat) of Naati Imli, Ravana-dahan (burning the effigy of Ravana on the tenth day of Dussehra) of RamNagar and Nag Nathaiya of Tulsi Ghat.
Krishna and Balram at the Leela
It’s said that the Leela of Nag-Nathaiya was started way back in 16th century by Tulsidas. The tradition is still being followed at the Tulsi Ghat and is being organised by Tulsi Das Akhada. Tulsi ghat is almost adjacent to famous Assi Ghat. Nag Nathaiya is celebration of young Krishna’s victory over a gruesome serpent Kaaliya. It is organised on the Chaturthi tithi of Karthik month of Hindu calendar. This is the fourth day from Diwali and falls in the month of November-December. Nag Nathaiya basically means 'controlling (Nathaiya-to put a nose ring) a serpent (Nag)'.

Embarrassingly, this was for the first time I witnessed the Leela, though I have been a city dweller for over 24 years. We got to know about the event two days before the date when we stumbled upon Krishna Leela on Tulsi Ghat. It was about the chapter from Krishna Leela, where a young Krishna was ashamed about his ignorance of art of milking a cow. His friends came forward and taught him how to do it.
Sangeet Mandli - The Chorus group
An embarrassed young Krishna
Friends of Krishna planning how to teach Krishna
Krishna learning to milk the cow 
An spectator saving the memories :)
Later, my best friend got us arranged VIP passes for the world famous Nag Nathaiya. When we reached the ghat, it was already packed with thousands of people. There was literally no place to place a foot. Thanks to our passes and the camera we were carrying, we received a welcome deserved by VIP+Media personnel. We got a place next to Mahant ji of Shri SankatMochan Hamnuman temple. Following is the description of Leela with the photographs:
A panoramic view of Tulsi Ghat filled with devotees
Balram and Krishna (Krishna-swaroop)
Krishna swaroop means the it's Krishna Himself and not just the Actor
Kadamb Tree - Krishna will climb the tree and jump in the River Yamuna (Ganga)
Mahant ji of Shri SankatMochan Hamnuman temple
Notice the Krishna in the Background and Krishna-Swaroop in front
(Krishna in background is the Actor, and in foreground is the embodiment of the Krishna)
Krishna-swaroop climbing Kadamb
Krishna-swaroop on the Kadamb
Krishna-swaroop jumping in the Yamuna to bring the ball that he and his friends including Sudama
threw into the river, where lies a notorious serpent Kaaliya
Krishna-swaroop fought with the Kaaliya and emerging out of water
A victorius Krishna on to the Kaliya (an effigy propelled by boatmen)
Kashi Naresh watching the procession
(As a tradition, Kashi Naresh gifts a golden coin to the actor)
A brahmin doing aarti of Krishna
Krishna-swaroop Darshan
Balram and Krishna
Our own Krishna on my friend Kaaliya ;) 
and this is me :)

Our VIP pass ;)
This old city of Varanasi, Banaras or Kasi has lot to say. I feel overwhelmed, every time I try to write something. This time, I am able to write it sooner, and must thank Arti for motivation :) And, due thanks to Ashwini (Kaliya with our own Krishna in above picture) too arrange VIP passes ;)

Would soon be sharing pictures from Subah-e-Banaras and a few of Chatt puja.

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