The sport of swinging


The sport of swinging



The sport of swinging was popular all over India. The swing festival known as jhulan in the month of Sharavana (July-August) is associated with Krishna.The fact that Krishna was envisaged in the form of the cowherd, and led the life of a rustic youth, afforded the poets of the Krishna Lila endless opportunities to weave commonplace situations into the theme of Krishna's dalliances with Radha and the fair maids of Braj. Swinging was one such sport that provided this opportunity to the painters.Apparently the painting focuses on Radha on a swing tied to the branch of a tree, but the purport of the painting is different. As Krishna swings Radha high in the sky, she loses her hold and is about to fall. Her beloved holds her in his arms and she enjoys this intimacy.

A large tree with a huge canopy and strong branches, holds the swing. Radha's odhani flies high with the forceful swinging. The ropes of the swing are unevenly bent as it is pushed to a great height, much beyond the normal range, probably intentionally. Next we see Krishna and Radha in a tight embrace. Some of the gopis at the left corner of the painting are looking up and expressing their anxiety, while the others witness the lila of Krishna and Radha.

The lotus-filled river Yamuna, witness to all Krishna's pranks and mischief, flows calmly in the foreground. A cluster of plantain trees provides a beautiful background to Krishna highlighted with a white shadow around his face, typical of the Kotah painting of the period. The shading on the chins of the women is heavy.

Karl and Meherbai Khandalavala Collection.


Indian Miniature Paintings

Object Type

Miniature Painting


Opaque watercolour on paper






1760 CE




37.3 x 27.5 cms with border, 28.8 x 18.8 cms without border.