Radha ki bhakti, Murli ki mithas, Makhan ka swaad aur Gopiyon ka raas
Inhi sabse milke banta hai Janmasthami ka ye din khas
Come August and the country of India is immersed in the celebrations of Janmashtami. Janmashtami, also called Gokul Ashtami, celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna. It falls on the 8th Day (Ashtami) of Bhadrapad month.
Janmashtami considered as one of the biggest festivals of India is celebrated by ~930million people around the world. Some play Raas Leela (divine play) by way of drama, music and dance considered as romantic aspect of Krishna whereas some worship by fasting and and staying up until midnight, the time when Krishna is believed to have been born. The temples are decorated with flowers, priests perform abhishek of Gangajal, Yoghurt, Milk, Water etc and continue with arti and bhajans. Bal Krishna is placed on a swing and is offered milk & butter by the devotees.
This year Janmashtami will be celebrated on the 28th August with great enthusiasm. Here is an account of how this festival is celebrated across various parts of India and around the world.
Janmaashtami/ Gokulashtami popularly known as Dahi Handi in Mumbai and Pune , is celebrated with enormous zeal and enthusiasm. The handi is a clay pot filled with buttermilk placed at enormous heights prior to the event. On the day of Janmashtami, a group of people form a pyramid and the topmost person on the human pyramid breaks the handi by hitting it with a blunt object.The buttermilk from the claypot spills over the entire group symbolizing their achievement through unity. In 2012, the Govinda Pathak Mandal from Jogeshwari made an entry into the Guinness World Records by forming a human pyramid that was 43.79 ft tall, rivaling the height of a five-story building.
Handis are set up around the city and groups of youngsters, called Govinda Pathaks, travel around in trucks trying to break as many handis as possible during the day. Youngsters dance to the tunes of Govinda Ala re Ala and spread Krishna’s love.
Around 80 percent of Nepalese celebrate this festival by fasting and enchating slokas of Bhagvad Gita.They observe fast till midnight.The temples of Lord Krishna are decorated and bhajans and kirtan are played. Numerous devotees flock to the ancient Krishna temple in old Patan Durbar Square to keep vigil through the revered night of his birth. Crowds of men and women edge their way through the seated devotees to the temple’s dark interior to where the main idol stands.
Shrinathji in Rajasthan
Located at Nathdwara in Rajasmand district, Shrinathji Mandir is one of the most revered shrines of Lord Krishna.Nathdwara is a small town that is truly famous for this temple.Shrinathji lies at a distance of 48 kms from Udaipur, the city of lakes in Rajasthan. Devotees throng to the shrine in large numbers during occasions of Janmashtami.The deity is treated like a living image and is attended with daily functions like bathing, dressing, meals called “Prasad” and the resting times in regular intervals.Since, the deity is believed to be a child form of Krishna, special care is taken and attention is given to the deity.
Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, celebrates Janmashtami in an exclusive way. Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi temple is the most sought after devout centers in Mathura.Its predominance over the other holy spots is due to the belief that the temple stands at the same place where Lord Krishna was born to Devaki and Vasudev. Mathura, the birth city of Bhagwan Krishna is situated on the banks of river Yamuna and is approximately 145 kms from the capital city Delhi.
During Janmashtami,the entire city gets immersed in the spirit of devotion.The sound of bhajans and chants echos in the city. Rasleelas (enact of Krishna’s life) are played everywhere . Devotees observe all day long fast and break it at midnight signifying the arrival of Lord Krishna.
Madhuban – one of the most significant and popular temples of Vrindavan – is the exact place where Lord Krishna is said to have performed rasleelas with his beloved Gopis more than 5000 years ago. A famous folklore associated with the place is that Lord Krishna till date ascends to perform rasleela with the gopis here. Anyone venturing into the place during night either dies or becomes insane. Thus no localite ventures into Madhuban during night. The place becomes alive during Janmashtami with rasleelas being performed in the premises during the daytime.
Janmashtami is celebrated with a huge fanfare at Jammu as large number of devotees congregate at temples. Special religious discourses,hymns and kathas are held in flower-decorated temples on the occasion of Krishna Janamashtami. Tableaux, also called ‘jhankis’, depicting life and message of Lord Krishna, pass through several areas of the city.’Baal-Gopal’(child Krishna) is placed in ‘jhulas’ (swings) which are ceremonially swayed by devotees. Women observe fasts and all the city markets have a festive look thronged with people.Children & adults also celebrate by flying kites and crowded rooftops with people playing loud music are a common sight across the city.
This festival is celebrated not only in India but also other parts of the world.Organizations like Hare Rama Hare Krishna have been promoting Lord Krishna teachings all over world. Only in USA around 2 millions devotees celebrate this festival.
Celebration of Janmashtami is like a palette of worship, joy and peacefulness as that’s Lord Krishna, the savior of earth in its different forms.
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