Watch | How Vrindavan and Other Cities Celebrated Janmashtami


While the celebrations all around the country are fascinating, there are a few areas in India that deserve special notice. The essential spirit of Janmashtami celebrations can be found at these places.

By Yashika Goel/The Newster

Man Posing as Krishna on Janmashtami (Pic: Sampath Nandi/Twitter)

The entire nation gets together to celebrate Lord Krishna’s birthday with great zeal and passion. Children costumed as Krishna, markets lined with sweet stores and gorgeous handis, people preparing for the plays (also known as Ras Leela), and temples decorated with flowers are also familiar sights. On this day, Hindu shrines hold recitations of verses from the sacred books Bhagavata Purana and Bhagavad Gita.

While the celebrations all around the country are fascinating, there are a few areas in India that deserve special notice. The essential spirit of Janmashtami celebrations can be found at these places.

1. Uttar Pradesh, Mathura-Gokul-Vrindavan

Mathura, Gokul, and Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh – the three places linked with Krishna’s childhood – are the go-to destinations for people planning to spend Janmashtami away from home. Mathura, Lord Krishna’s birthplace, has over 400 temples devoted to Him, all of which are gorgeously decorated during this time. At all three locations, shloka chanting, enactment of Raas Leela, fireworks, and jhulotsava are some of the common ways to greet Krishna. Almost ten days before the birthday, the festivities begin.

2. Karnataka’s Udupi

During Janmashtami, the southern part of India also gets into the festive spirit. Vittal Pindi (or Rass Leela) is a dance-drama performance performed by the natives in Udupi, Karnataka. The Lord’s idol is transported around the city on a chariot pulled by gopuras. Curd-filled earthen pots (or dahi handi) are hanged on gopuras and then smashed with sticks. Aside from local events showcasing people dressed up in ethnic costumes, huli vesha dancers are a big draw during the celebrations. At temples, prasada is distributed to devotees, and devotional hymns are sung.

3.Imphal, Manipur

Unlike other North Indian celebrations that aren’t as well-known in this region of the country, Janmashtami draws a large audience to Mahabali Temple Sri Govindjee Temple. People observe a fast and pay floral devotion to Lord Krishna at the shrine. In Manipur, folk dance performances are a big feature of the Janmashtami celebrations.

4. Maharashtra, Mumbai-Pune

This day is known as Dahi-Handi in Maharashtra, and it is marked by competitions for smashing a high-hung clay pot filled with yoghurt, milk, water, and fruits. Youths establish groups known as Govinda Pathaks in order to compete with one another by creating a human pyramid in order to reach the high-hung pot and break it, as Krishna did in his prankish childhood. The victorious team is rewarded accordingly.

5.West Bengal and Odisha

States in eastern India, such as Odisha and West Bengal, celebrate Janmashtami by fasting and presenting Gopal, or baby Krishna, with a variety of regional sweets. Puri, known for the Jagannath Temple, has its own set of celebrations that are unique to the state. The Bhagavata Purana is read beginning with the tenth chapter, which is dedicated to Krishna’s life. As prasad, Lord Krishna receives a lavish meal, or bhoga, consisting of almost 400 edibles. During Janmashtami, Bengali households prepare the Taler boda, or sugar palm fritter, which is a delicious sweet meal.

6. Dwarka

Dwarka, Gujarat (where Lord Krishna established his empire). Dwarka was originally recognised as Lord Krishna’s kingdom. He is honored at the Dwarkadhish temple in Dwarka. The temple is attractively decked for the celebrations of Krishna’s birth on this day. Lord Dwarkadhish is adorned with gold, diamonds, and other priceless jewels, and kirtans and bhajans are sung. On this day, women all throughout Gujarat play cards and refrain from doing domestic chores. In Dwarka, celebrations akin to dahi-handi are held, although they are referred as makhan-handi. Tourists travel from all over the world to view the spectacular event. To participate in theatre, children dress themselves like mythological characters pertaining to contemporary era. In the morning aarti, conchs and ringing bells are played.

7. Tamil Nadu & Andhra Pradesh

The celebrations differ from different parts of south India. People in Tamil Nadu observe a fast, make Kolams (rice batter designs), and recite the Bhagwad Gita. During this event, Andhra Pradesh devotees sing devotional songs and recite shlokas. Delicious foods such as verkadalai urundai are prepared, when visiting friends and neighbors, young boys in the state dress up as Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna is presented with a wide variety of fruits and sweets. Instead of idols, people here mainly worship Krishna paintings.

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