Janmashtmi is a much awaited festival in India. It marks the devoted celebrations of Lord Krishna's birth. The festival of Janmashtami is celebrated by Hindus across the world with immense jubilation and excitement. Dwarka, Mathura and Vrindavan are the places in India which attract the maximum visitors during the festival of Janmashtami. Festival of Janmashtami is also known as Gokulashtami or Krishnaashtami. During celebrations, Shri Krishna idols are bathed and decorated at midnight (The time on which Shri Krishna took birth) and many rituals are performed during the prayers offered to Shri Krishna. Other popular events like Dahi Handi are also held across the state of Maharashtra on Janmashtmi. During this event human pyramids are formed with an objective of breaking the dahi handi (earthern pots filled with curd) which are tied high above the ground.All in all, Janmashtmi is a festival which unites the nation and leaves everyone spellbound with excitement.
In 2010, the festival of Janmashtmi will be celbrated on September 2. Janmashtami comes every year on the eighth day in the Month of Shravana (August-September). According to Hindu scriptures, Sri Krishna was born in the "Rohini" star. Janmashtami is celebrated for two days, the first day is called Krishnashtami or Gokulashtami and the second day is called Kalastami or Janmashtami.
Fasting is an integral custom on the festival of Janmashtmi. Most devotees fast for the entire day on Janmashtami. There are two common and popular types of fast undertaken by different devotees,namely:
Phalhaar Vrat: In this fast, only the intake of juices, milk products, tea etc is allowed without cereals. One time food intake comprising of food made with vegetables and "Senda Namak" is allowed.
Nirjal Vrat: It involves total fasting including fasting from water.
Janmashtmi celebrations in Mathura & Vrindavan are the most prolific of all. Being the birth place of Lord Krishna, the city of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh is decorated in a festive look and people are purely in a devotional mood. The temple known as "Krishna Janma Bhoomi" and the famous "Rasleelas" (a kind of dance drama) form the core of celebrations at this place. Besides this, various stages of Lord Krishna's life are depicted by "Jhaankis". The most popular atraction of Janmashtmi in Mathura is are the swings, which are beautifully decorated with flowers and placed in the courtyard of every house and temple to depict Lord Krishna's birth. At Vrindavan, which is situated 15 kms from Mathura, the celebrations are more festive as it's the place where Lord Krishna shaped his life. During Janmasthami, the whole town is decorated and almost in every house people fast and observe the festival with pomp and splendor. Specially the temples in Vrindavan (more than 5000) are sparkled with lights and other decorations.
"Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the Lord, who has become the son of Vasudeva, the pleasure of Devaki, the boy of Nanda and the other cowherd men of Vrindavana, and the enlivener of the cows and the senses."
The festival of Sri Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated with so much devotion and enthusiasm. So many rituals and customs are followed on this day, some are common and some are very unique to a particular region. Devotees all over sings bhajans, chants hymn ?hare rama hare krishna? and offers special pooja and aarti to get the blessings of God. Devotees all over India congregates Krishna temples at Vrindavan, Mathura, Dwarka, to plunge deep in the religious atmosphere.
Mainly the fasting upto the birth of Krishna in midnight is observed. In the early morning the idols of Krishna is cleansed with curd and Ganga water. After that the idol is decorated with yellow clothe and glittering gems. Special dishes made of milk are offered to the Lord Krishna and at the midnight devotees have food to end their fasts.
Different forms of rituals are celebrated in different parts of India. In Maharashtra, a matka or earthen pot containing milk or curd is suspended high above the ground and groups of young men and children form human pyramids to try and reach the pot and eventually break it.
There are so many temples in India that are devoted to Lord Krishna. These temples are very significant places for worshipping Sri Krishna. Every year millions of devotees from all over the world queue up to have the blessings of Srikrishna. Krishna temples spread all over India are also considered so important in propagating the philosophy and practices of rich and ancient Vaishnava tradition. Here are the names of famous Krishna Temples in India :
The birth story of Lord Krishna is full of dramatic events.
In the ancient Northern India a very flourished town called Mahtura was ruled by a great Yaduvanshi King Ugrasen. He had two children a son Kansa and a daughter named Devki. Kansa was so rude and cruel, that he forcefully became the king of Mathura by confining his father to the jail.
eing a brutal King, Kansa also had lots of love for his sister Devki and married her off to Vasudev, one of the high ranking officer in his army. On their marriage a heavenly prediction echoed that the eight child of Devki would be the slayer of Kansa. Feared by the prediction Kansa imprisoned Devki and Vasudev in the palace dungeon and ordered them to handover all their children to him.
Kansa killed all the six new borns but could not kill the seventh child due to the divine intervention because that baby was born to Vasudev?s another wife Rohini. Thus Balram, the elder brother of Krishna was born.
However, when the eighth child was born, a miracle occurred. The gates of the dungeon flew open, the guards fell asleep and a voice from the heavens commanded Vasudev to take his child to Gokul where his friend Nand and his wife Yashodha lived and exchange his son for their daughter. Thus, Kansa's plan to kill Krishna was foiled and This eighth child grew up as Yashoda and Nand?s son in Gokul and later killed his maternal uncle Kansa, freeing all the people of Mathura from his atrocities.
Krishna means the most attractive. He is the divinity, the energy, that pulls everything to it. Janamashtami, commemorates the birth of Lord Krishna, born to destroy Kansa, the evil king of Mathura. Thus, birthday of Lord Krishna holds much significance in India and celebrated in different forms. This festival offers an Occasions for social get together and exchange of good wishes. Devotees observes fasts and indulge themselves in pooja ceremonies. The fast signifies the controlling of the senses and indulging themselves in activities that takes them to the divine enlightenment and destroys the ego within.