Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Janmashtami celebrations

This year Krishna Janmashtami is on the 28th of August 2013. This festival is celebrated to commemorate the birthday of Lord Krishna, who is the 8th and the most powerful incarnations of Lord Vishnu. This festival is celebrated all over India with much zest and fervour.

To know more about Janmashtami, click here - Krishna Janmashtami

Lord Krishna

Well... In this article the main topics that we are going to cover regarding the celebrations of Krishna Janmashtami are :

  • First and foremost, Dahi Handi
  • Raas leela - dance routine depicting the Love story of Krishna and Radha
  • Celebrations in Krishna's birth place - Mathura and Vrindavan
  • The fast observed on this day and lastly
  • Special dishes and delicacies prepared on this day

Dahi Handi Celebrations

Dahi Handi

Dahi Handi is a game performed during the Janmashtami celebrations. In this, a earthen pot filled with butter, milk, dry fruits and honey is suspended from a rope about 30 ft to 40 ft off the ground. Sometimes the rope with which the pot is suspended is tied with rupee notes, which will later be distributed as prize money. Now, groups of young people gather around and form a huge pyramid by standing on the shoulders of one another until the last person is able to reach the pot and break it to claim the prize money. This Celebration attracts many tourists and this is a grand event in North Indian states, especially in places like Mumbai, Delhi and Mathura (birthplace of Lord Krishna) to name a few.

Raas Leela Celebrations

Raas Leela performance

Raas leela is a divine dance which was performed by Krishna and the gopis, of whom Radha is the closest to him. On the night of Raas leela Krishna invited the gopis to the banks of river Yamuna and danced with them all night long.

Nowadays, Raas leela is performed as a dance drama on the night of Krishna Janmashtami. This is a very grand event, especially in Mathura and Vrindavan, the birthplace of Lord Krishna.

Raas leela dances will have different themes to it, they are :

Janam Leela : This depicts the story of Krishna’s birth till his youth and his love for Radha. This is the most popular one of the lot. 
Putana Leela : This depicts Krishna’s killing of demon Putana.
Naga Leela : This depicts Krishna’s Killing of Kalinga, which had poisoned river Yamuna.

Celebrations In Mathura & Vrindavan

Celebrations at Mathura

Celebrations at Mathura, Vrindavan is a very grand event. Vrindavan is the birthplace of Lord Krishna. This city which houses more than 1000 temples get all alive during the festive season with rituals and special pujas happening at all the temples. The entire place is immersed with Krishna’s idols and bhajans playing at every street corner It is indeed a sight one would be pleased to witness. Special performances of Raas Leela are staged by professional dancers, which is a huge crowd puller. Each year thousands of tourists visit this holy place to witness this spectacular event. Vrindavan celebrates this festival for 8-10 days. But the actual event takes place at midnight (the time of Krishna’s birth) on the day of Janmashtami.

If you also want to listen to the melodies of Krishna Bhajans, then, click here - Krishna Bhajans

Fasting On Krishna Janmashtami

Fasting for Krishna Bhagavan

Fasting is one important ritual many follow on this day. Devotees keep a 24 hours fast and only break it at midnight, the time of Lord Krishna birth. It is believed that fasting is one medium which will get you closest to Krishna and win you his blessings. There are different types of fasting,

Phalahar Fast and Nirjal Fast. In Phalahar fast, the person can have fruits and milk during the day but refrain from having grains, rice, salt etc. Nirjal fast on the other hand is a very strict fast, in which the person does not even drink water let alone have fruits. Only after offering prayers and bhog to Krishna at midnight, the person observing fast eats any food.

Click here for posters of Lord Krishna to adorn the walls of your home - Krishna Posters

Special Dishes Prepared On Janmashtami

Sweets for Janmashtami

Krishna had a strong fetish for milk sweets and butter. He is called as Makhan Chor or Ladoo Gopal for this very reason. So, special dishes made out of milk or Khoya (coagulated milk)are prepared on this day and offered to Lord Krishna. People observing fast will break the fast at midnight after offering prayers to Krishna and by eating the milk sweet. Some of the popular sweets prepared on this day are Kheer (sweetened milk rice), jamoon, ladoo, jalebi to name a few.

To know more about Lord Krishna and his many kathas, Click here - Lord Krishna 

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