Monday, June 25, 2012


Dear Readers,

Every festival brings with it, a flavour unique to the festival. So if Ramanavami was predominantly the day of observation and introspection, then Krishnashtami or Janmashtami is the day of gaiety and celebration, albeit with a relegious tinge. This maybe because the life of Lord Krishna is the most eventful and filled with variety amongst all of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu.

The festival falls in the months of August-September. This year it falls on 10-Aug-2012. Generally the festival includes fasting till midnight when Lord Krishna is believed to have been born followed by a big feast. The next day witnesses grand celebrations in places like Mathura, Vrindavan and Dwarka which are places associated with Krishna's life and times.

In Mathura a grand puja is performed in the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi temple which is considered as the exact location where Krishna was born. In the sanctum-sanctorum of the temple the idol of Shri Krishna is worshipped and the whole city is immersed in festivities.

Some highlights of the festivities are Raas-Leela performances which is a dance performance depicting the dance of the Gopis of Vrindavan with Lord Krishna. These performances are held in Mathura and many parts of north India. Please find the following video footage of one such performance.

Video courtesy Abhinava Dance Academy.
Various stages of Krishna's life are depicted in the form of Tableaus or Jhankis in Mathura. These are very colourful affairs and also very engaging. Following are some Pictures of  Jhankis. Pic1, Pic2, Pic3. Photos courtesy
Also in Mathura many houses install swings or Jhulas to welcome Lord Krishna. This is known as the Jhulanotsav. The swings are decorated nicely with flowers and look very appealing.
The celebration of Janmashtami also includes a month long Ghata celebration. This includes decorating all the temples in Mathura in colours of the same theme. Even all the houses and the idol of Krishna in the temple are decorated in the same colours.
The festival also includes the Dahi-Handi Event which although is performed in many parts of India, is most famous in Mumbai. A group of youngsters form a human-pyramid and their target is to break a clay-pot filled with curd or butter hung high above the ground.
This event is at once a sport and also a depiction of the ways in which child Krishna would steal butter from the houses of Vrindhavan and create mischief. There are various groups in Mumbai and Maharashtra which participate in this event and are called Govinda-Pathaks. The event of Dahi-Handi is considered a sport with the human-pyramids growing taller and taller with each coming year. It is not an easy task considering the fact that to build a tall human-pyramid itself is challenging. On top of that the group is not given an easy ride. The onlookers and ladies throw water on the participants to distract them and to prevent them from breaking the pot. Overcoming these hurdles the Govinda-Pathaks manage to achieve their goal. The whole event is very thrilling and enjoyable for the participants as well as the onlookers. The whole community is entertained. Many Govinda-Pathak groups take pride in the celebrtions and there are prizes and trophies to be won in the event. Click here for a nice photo gallery of one such celebration. Photos courtesy Anupama Kinagi.
In the temple town of Udupi in Karnataka, the festivities start at midnight with the Arghyapradanam by the priest in which the pontiffs of all the eight mutts which take care of the temple participate. Then a clay idol of Udupi Sri Krishna, prepared specially for Krishnashtami is taken as a procession on the streets of the town. Clay pots filled with Butter or Milk are hung at several places and youngsters dressed as Gopas break the pots as the procession passes through. The seers then distribute the butter to the devotees. People dressed as tigers perform a tiger dance called Huli Vesha. At the end of the procession the idol of Krishna is immersed in the Madhwa Sarovara. Click here for some photos of the festival. Photos courtesy Akshath. You can view more photos with an article here. Courtesy
In the southern parts of India, Krishnashtami is generally a homely affair which includes puja and prayers. In some houses dolls are arranged depicting the life and times of Krishna. Friends and relatives are invited and bhajans and songs are sung in the praise of Lord Krishna. Various fruits and delicacies are offered to the Lord on this day.
Travel Tips   Places to be during Krishnashtami are in Mathura to witness the various public Raas-Leela performances as also the Jhankis and other drama performances from the various stages of Lord Krishna's lifetime. Following is the map showing a search for accomodation in Mathura. View Larger Map  Or wittness the Vittal Pindi celebration in Udupi, Karnataka.
Udupi can be reached from Bangalore or Mangalore by bus but Mangalore is the nearest city to Udupi. Following is the map showing the search results for accomodation in Udupi.
View Larger Map
If you are more sportive minded and would like to see some adventure then head over to Mumbai where practically every locality will be holding a Dahi-Handi event which will certainly make for a thrilling experience.
For those who would like to spend the day in their homes, click here for some recipes of Krishnashtami delicacies to make your day.
Hope you enjoy the festival. Bye for now!!
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