Jhulana Yatra or Jhulan Jatra is one of the major festival in Odisha. Krishna and Jagannath are but the different incarnations of Vishnu as described in Jayadeva’s Gitagovinda. Moreover due to strong Vaishnavite influence on the religious spirit of Odisha, Krishna is also widely worshipped and festivals like Jhulan Yatra are observed for Him. Between the Mukti-mandap for sasana Brahmins and the main temple on a raised open stage the Krishna-Radha idols are placed in a decorated swing and whole array of Leelas, Bhajans and festivities goes on till late night in the precinct of Jagannath temple.
Though Vaishnavism prevailed in Odisha much earlier, the cult of Krishna worship was made popular during the 15th century by Sri Chaitanya and his followers. Though temples exclusively dedicated to Krishna are few in Odisha, the representative deity of Lord Jagannath is no other than Krishna known as Madan Mohana, Ramakrishna, Gopala, Gopinatha etc.
To the Vaishnavas the festival is known as Jhulan Purnima or the Swing festival which is observed in most of the Vishnu temples and monasteries following the cult. Beginning from the Tenth day of the bright fort-night, it culminates on the Purnima day. The metal images of Radha and Krishna are placed on beautifully decorated swings and nights are spent with singing and dancing in front of the deities. As an important festival of Lord Jagannath, the celebration of the festival in the shrine and monasteries at Puri attracts visitors from far and near. The festival in the temple was first initiated by the Gajapati king Dibyasingha Dev-II (1793-1798).