Janmashtami, Lord Krishna’s birthday is celebrated across India with great zeal and pomp. It falls on the eighth day of the month of Shravan according to the Hindu calendar every year. Usually falling somewhere between August and September, it is eight days after the full moon.
This day of celebration of the revered God’s birth is also known as Krishnashtami or Gokulashtami.
Below is the insight of how it is celebrated across India-
- Mathura, Uttar Pradesh
As the legend goes, Lord Krishna was born to Devaki and Vasudeva in the kingdom of Mathura. So, as the birthplace of the Lord, Mathura dresses up in the most awe-inspiring way. The swings are meant to symbolize the cradle of Krishna. The festive look becomes even more prominent for the swings as ropes of flowers are attached to them. What is considered as the actual birthplace of Krishna has been converted into a temple called the Krishna Janma Bhoomi Mandir and the main celebrations in Mathura take place here.
The tale as old as time, Lord Krishna was born to King Kans’s sister Devaki and Vasudeva in the Kingdom of Mathura.
- Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh
Considered as one of the most important pilgrimages in India, Vrindavan is the place where Lord Krishna spent his childhood. Developed into a city, it is one of the places which have mythological importance since it is associated with Lord Krishna’s life. Janmashtami is celebrated here with great zeal. Some of the most important rituals are carried out here in the temples of great belief, like Radharaman Temple, Banke Bihari Temple, Shri Krishna Balram Temple, Rangnathji Temple ISKCON temple, etc.
One of the biggest attractions of Vrindavan is Madhuban, where it is believed to the spot of Lord Krishna’s Raas Lila, which comes alive around Janmashtami.
Janmashtami is one of the biggest festivals of the state of Maharashtra. Just like other parts of India, they also have their own way of celebrating Lord Krishna’s birth.
Dahi Handi which is another name for Gokulashtami is of great importance as a number of people symbolizing Lord Krishna, form human pyramid aiming for pitcher of dahi hung by a string. This trend has continued for years and is a much-awaited sight in the state.
While chanting ‘Govinda Govinda’ while forming the pyramid, the handi is cracked by the person on the top.
This whole ordeal is created to imitate the activities of Lord Krishna who is believed to steal the butter and curd hung on the ceiling with his friends from own as well as other houses.
Eastern and Northeastern India
Widely celebrated by Hindu Vaishnava communities of Eastern and Northeastern India, it is the effort of teachings of Sankardev and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the 15th and 16th Century. Along with the development of philosophical ideas, performance of arts also became a major part to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna. Arts like Borgeet, Ankia Naat, Sattriya and Bhakti Yoga are popular in West Bengal and Assam.
In further east, the people of Manipur developed a classical dance form, popular for its Hindu Vaishnavism themes, known as Manipuri Dance. It includes love-inspired dance and drama form, imitating Radha-Krishan’s Raslila.
Gokulashtami or Janmashtami is celebrated with great zeal in South India.
In Tamil Naidu, along with decorated floors with Kolams (decorative pattern drawn with rice batter), footprints of Lord Krishna are drawn from the threshold to their puja rooms depicting the arrival of Lord Krishna. The recitation of Bhagavad Gita is a popular practice of this occasion.
Since Lord Krishna savoured sweets, it is one of the most important parts of the festival. Mithai like Seedai, Verkadalai Urundai and sweet Sedai are prepared.
It is believed that Lord Krishna was born at midnight, hence the celebrations happens in the evening.
Delhi, Northern India
Northern India, famous for its extravagant celebrations, doesn’t stay behind when it comes to Janamashtami.
With excessively decorated temples and streets, Lord Krishna’s birth is celebrated with pomp and show.
The famous ISKCON Temple, Delhi experiences heavy decoration with flowers & lights with numerous people coming in with their offerings.
The aura created in unmatched and has a charm to it, year after year.
The city doesn’t sleep that night in awe of the Lord Krishna’s birthday. From small temples in the corners to the streets, the celebration is felt in all aspects.
Children dress up like different Gods of the Hindu religion and put up stalls for people to visit. Usually, a jhula is kept there, indicating a newborn in a cradle.
A sudden splash of colors is added with all the flowers, decorated markets, mithai shops, crowds visiting the temples and what not.
Festivals, no matter what belief they comes from, surely have their way of rejuvenating the aura from monotony.