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Celebration of Krishna Janmashtami

Krishna Janmashtami 2024

Janmashtami is celebrated all over India with devotional songs and dances, pujas, arti, blowing of the Conch and rocking the cradle of baby Krishna. On this day temples and homes are wonderfully decorated and illuminated. Night long prayers are offered and religious mantras are sung in the temples. Where Vaishnava temples exist, festivities begin before dawn and extend all day until midnight, the exact moment of the anniversary of Krishna's appearance.

Janmashtami is one such festival that is celebrated equally in North and South India. Preparations for the same start weeks in advance. Different parts of the country celebrate the festival differently.

Song and dance mark the celebration of this festive occasion all over northern India. Krishna's birthplace Mathura and Vrindavan celebrate this occasion with great pomp and show. Raslilas or religious plays are performed. The town of Dwarka in Gujarat, Krishna's own land, comes alive with major celebrations as hordes of visitors flock to the town.

The celebration of Janmashtami is at its peak in the city of Mathura-birth place of Lord Krishna. The city is about 145 kms from Delhi. The city of Mathura adorns a complete festive look and the devotional mood reaches its pinnacle.The main celebration takes place at the actual place of birth, now converted into a big temple known as Krishna Janma Bhoomi Mandir. Lord's idol is kept in a room also known as the 'Garbha Griha'.

Vrindavan is quite a famous place for pilgrimage in North India. Just about 15 kms from Mathura, it houses nearly 5000 temples both ancient as well as modern. The holy town of Vrindavan is where Lord Krishna spent his formative years. During Janmashtami, the entire city gets immersed in the spirit of devotion. Euphoric celebrations among the devotees is a common sight. The sound of bhajans and chanting echos in the city.

Dwarka, meaning 'Door to Moksha (Salvation)' is a popular city of Gujarat. It was established by Lord Krishna with his elder brother Balram. The celebration of Janmashtami in the main Dwarkadhish temple is very famous in India. Devotees from all over India throng the city of Dwarka during Janamashtami. The celebration on Janmashtami follows the daily routine or 'Nitya Kram' of Lord Krishna. Rituals are performed by Aboti brahmins, who are special brahmins performing these rituals for the past many centuries now.

In South India, the celebrations are most prevalent in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. In both the places, the idol of Lord Krishna is placed in a decorated mantapa. Bhakshanam (snacks and sweets in Sanskrit), are specially prepared for the festival, and offered to Lord Krishna. Along with it, fruits that are his favorites are also offered. In some parts of Karnataka, chakli, avalakki and bellada panaka are prepared especially for the festival.

In the eastern states such as Orissa and West Bengal, people celebrate it with fasting and doing puja at midnight. Though the rituals practiced vary from one region to the other, the spirit and devotion to the Lord is same everywhere. Thus, it wouldn't be wrong to say that Krishna is the most loved and celebrated God in India.

In the south western state of Maharashtra, people enact the god's childhood attempts to steal butter and curd from earthen pots beyond his reach. A similar pot is suspended high above the ground and groups of young people form humans pyramids to try and reach the pot and break it.

Various ceremonies on Krishna Janmastami

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