Janmashtami marks the celebration of 8th human incarnation of Lord Vishnu Birthday. This festival is huge holiday in India which is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm every year in the month of July or August. Lord Krishna is considered to be the most powerful incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The sole objective of Lord Krishna's birth was to free the earth from evilness of demons.
This holiday in India is where millions of people offer prayers to Lord Krishna and celebrate his birthday by decorating his idols with new clothes and flowers , light up temples, fireworks, plays, etc. Janmashtami showcase the importance of religions, cultures. Devotion and believes.
How to People in India Celebrate Janmashtami
Lord Krishna's birthday is celebrated across India with full enthusiasm and prayers. It is common to see kids dressed up as Lord Krishna, markets are very well decorated and lined up with sweets and elegant Handis, people preparing to do to prayers and temples are decorated with lights and flowers. All Lord Krishna temples organize meetings, prayers, recitation of Holy book.
The celebrations take place in two parts Jhulan Utsav and Ghatas. During Jhulan Utsav, Krishna devotee puts a swing in their home and place God's idol inside. Then the idol is bathed with milk and honey. The popular ritual of Dahi Handi is also celebrated on this day where boys gather in the compound and form a human pyramid to break the earthen pot fixed at the height of 20-30 feet in the air. The boy who stands on the top is called Govinda and other boys are called Handis.
Some devotees also keeps one day fast where throughout the day they do not consume anything but they can take a meal comprising of fruits and water. The day after fast or after Janmashtami is referred to as Nanda Utsav where devotee put a list of 56 food items which is referred to as ‘Chappan bhog’. This is later distributed among the people having fast. All the food items consist of Krishna's favorite dishes such as fruits, dry fruits, sweets, drinks, pickles, etc.
Advise from Locals on Janmashtami
Though this festival is celebrated all across India with the same enthusiasm and energy, there are few places that locals suggest which show an all-new level of celebrations.
Mathura is considered to be the best place to visit during Janmashtami. Three places are associated with Lord Krishna’s childhood – Matura, Gokul, and Vrindavan. There are about 400 temples dedicated to Krishna in Mathura. All these temples are very beautifully decorated with lights and flowers. On the day of Janamashtami, Chanting of Shlokas, the enactment of Raas Leela, fireworks and Jhulan Utsav are some common traditions that are followed in all three places from years.
The southern part of India also celebrates this day with the same passion. Udupi in Karnataka is also considered to be a great place to visit the time of the festival. A dance drama event called Vital Pindi is performed by locals. Earthen pots filled with curd are hung up around 20-30 feet in the air and boys form a pyramid to break the pot. Huli Vesha dancers are also very famous.
In the North East of India, Imphal Manipur has a famous temple named Sri Govindjee temple where thousands of people come and pray to Krishna. Folk dance performances are a major part of Janamashtami in Manipur.
Other places such as Mumbai – Pune celebrates this festival with the ritual of Dahi-Handi and witness competitions for breaking eternal pot hanging above filled with curd, milk, water, and fruits. The winning team might get cash for up to 12 Lakh.
Overall Feeling of the Festival in India
The celebrations usually start at midnight, the time when Lord Krishna was believed to be born. People from midnight start offering prayers, singing and reciting his deeds special baby cradles are put in the temples and a small statue of Lord Krishna is placed over it. The day is marked fasting in appeasement to the Lord, exchange of gifts and offering prayers. Lord Krishna's idols are washed and decorated with new clothes, jewelry, and flowers. The idol is placed on the cradle-which symbolizes his birth.
Lots of chanting with huge crowds at a temple devoted to Lord Krishna. Children get dressed up as Lord Krishna and his companion Radha, play games, organize plays depicting the life of Lord Krishna. The Dahi-Handi festivals are a must-watch experience but sometimes get very intense leading to injuries and broken bones.