Janmashtami, one of the most vibrant Hindu festivals is celebrated all over India in honor of the birth of one of the most loved deities – Lord Krishna. Celebrate Janmashtami with a twist by exploring different parts of India, where the festivities are celebrated with unmatched zeal & grandeur. Here are a few destinations you must self-drive to; during the time of Janmashtami and feel the magic of it.
Vrindavan & Mathura
The holy town of Vrindavan is where Krishna spent his childhood and his teenage years. Situated on the banks of the river Yamuna, Vrindavan is where Krishna performed the famous Rasleelas with his Gopis. The celebrations start 10 days prior to the day of Birth in Vrindavan. Rasleelas and plays on the life of Krishna and even scenes from the epic Mahabharata of which Lord Krishna was an indispensable part are performed by professional artists on the occasion of Janmashtami.
Also, there are over 4000 temples in Vrindavan of which Ranganathji Temple, ISKCON Temple, Radharaman Temple are the main temples where people flock for the ceremonies and ritualistic events that take place throughout the day of Janmashtami; especially the ‘Abhishek‘ which is the grand sacred bath of Lord Krishna before the ceremonies begin. A majority of the devotees and tourists come to see these famous performances before heading to Mathura. With thousands of temples in the city of Mathura, celebrations start over a month before the day of birth. Two most important aspects of the Janmashtami festival celebrated here are Jhulanotsav and Ghatas.
Jhulanotsov is the ritual where people put out swings in the courtyard of their houses and temples decorated with flowers and rangolis to welcome Lord Krishna to their dwellings and to symbolize the cradling of the infant Krishna. Ghatas is another unique feature of the celebrations here at Mathura, where all the temples in the city are decorated with the colour of the chosen theme including the clothes of the Idol Krishna as well. This tradition is followed for an entire month!
Also, Jankis are made, which are clay model figures that depict various stages of Krishna’s life. They are showcased all over the city of Mathura.
Also known as the golden city of India, Dwarka is particularly famous for its massive and fabulous Janamashtmi festival. Devotees from all over India throng the city of Dwarka during Janmashtami. The celebration of Janmashtami in the main Dwarkadhish temple is very famous and it follows the daily routine or ‘Nitya Kram’ of Lord Krishna.
The rituals here are performed by Aboti brahmins, who have been performing the same for the past many centuries. Rows of lights are lit everywhere, kirtans and bhajans are sung, sermons are delivered and Krishna is worshipped in his infant form all over this city.
Known as Gokulashtami, this is the best time of the year to visit and marvel at the festivities in the versatile city of Mumbai. Devotees remember how the Lord was very fond of butter and used to go to great lengths to obtain butter. In honour of the beloved Lord, Dahi-handis filled with curd, puffed rice and milk are strung high up above the streets. Groups of enthusiastic youngsters form human pyramids to reach up to these and break them open – the way Lord Krishna and his friends would, after sneaking into the houses of gopis to steal butter.
People throng in great numbers to see these human pyramids and their attempts at breaking the pot of butter. One of the biggest Dahi Handi competitions takes place at the Jamboree Maidan on G M Bhosle Marg in Worli. Bollywood celebrities often make appearances and perform there.