‘Krishna’ is one of the most celebrated Gods in Hinduism and his birthday is celebrated as Janmashtami or Gokulashtami in India. Janmashtami as most of us know and believe is celebrated only in India, but the truth is quite different than what we’ve believed. This pious day is celebrated in countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, USA, Fiji, Carribbean Island etc. This fact might come as a surprise to those who are not aware the credit for such a devotional act goes to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness which is popularly known ISKON. These countries mentioned have a good population of Hindus residing there and hence now you know why these countries participate in this wonderful festival.
Janmashtami is one of the most lively and highly awaited festivals of India usually falling in the month of August or September. Packed up by all religious ceremonies and rituals, fun filled activities among kids and elders alike, dahi handi, religious stage shows and highly ornated decorations of temples and why shall we forget the lip smacking delicacies prepared? The love and devotion and the various ways the people indulge in to this ceremonial day can be seen flowing in the entire country but here are the 6 Best Places to Visit during Janmashtami in India. Let’s take a look-
- Mathura: the birth place of Lord Krishna, Mathura is one must visit place during Janmashtami. This is where Krishna was born to Devki and therefore obvious role to play in celebration of Janmashtami. The celebration here takes place in two parts- Jhulanotsav (where idols of Krishna are placed in swings and worshipped) and Ghatas (temples are decorated with the same color). The entire city indulges in to this pious celebration and pujas are performed with in the temples observing the time of birth of the lord. The Raas-Leela, a popular dance form where kids act as Krishna and the gopis and dance in colorful attires and musical beats is a treat to watch. What you can’t miss here is the Mathura Peda, a sweet delicacy.
the childhood place of Lord Krishna, Vrindavan is some 15 km drive away from Mathura. Krishna was born in Mathura but was brought in Vrindavan the following day of his birth. This is how this place occupies prominence in celebration of Janmashtami. It is believed that Krishna performed Raas Leela in the forests of Vrindavan. The celebration of Janmashtami begins 10 days prior to Krishna’s birthday here in Vrnidavan. One of the oldest temples in India, the Govind Dev Temple in Vrindavan is worth visiting during Vrindavan.
one of the char dhams (the four holy shrines in Hinduism), Dwarka is referred to as the ‘door to moksha’. Dwarka is believed to be ruled by Lord Krishna and resided there for a span of five thousand years after he left Mathura. However, it is believed that after the death of Krishna, the city of Dwarka submerged in to the sea. It is said that Dwarka rebuilt several times and the current city is the seventh form. The celebration of Janmashtami here in Dwarka is one you got to witness. Prayers and Utsav Bhog are offered in the temples and mangla aarti takes place. The holy ritual starts around 11 pm and the main aarti starts at 12 am. The entire celebration includes bhakti bhajans, cultural programs and raas leela. The Dwarkadhish Temple is something you got to see. The temple dates back to 500 BC. Bet Dwarka is yet another place to witness which is believed as the death place of Krishna.
- Puri: home to the Lord Jagannath Temple, Puri is yet another holy site you cannot miss but visit during Janmashtami. The beautiful enactment of life of Krishna here is simply splendid. The festival here is celebrated for 17 days from Janmashtami. The temples are decorated and special prayers are chanted at midnight. Krishna idols are placed in swings and devotees offer their prayers. Sports and musical shows are organized and special toothsome delicacies are prepared at homes and shops.
a great place to witness the joy of Janmashtami is dream city Mumbai. This cosmopolitan city do know how to enjoy the festive occasion with its special and most popular Dahi Handi celebration where a people gather together making a human pyramid where one mounts at the top breaking an earthen pot hanging at great height and thus the wining team win handsome prize money and goodies. If you wish to witness the joy of Dahi Handi visit locations like Worli, Jogeshwari and Thane. The ISKCON Temple in Juhu is another place to visit during Janmashtami in Mumbai.
one of the seven sisters state, Manipur is a lesser explored gem of Northeast India and has a strong population of Vaishnavism. This naturally and culturally rich state is quite unique in celebration of Janmashtami because here the devotees not only worship Krishna during this pious celebration but also his beloved Radha. The history of why Manipur is so deeply involved in Janmashtami dates centuries back when the King of Manipur, Kyamaba received an image of Vishnu’s chakra as a gift in 15th The king then started worshipping Vishnu. What you cannot miss here during Janmashtami is Shree Govindajee Temple in Imphal. Another thing which is worth watching is the raas leela here with performers wearing beautiful and unique attire.
India is country of several cultural and religion mixed together where every festival is celebrated with great love and devotion. Janmashtami is one such festival. Make sure you become a part of the fun if you plan to visit any of these places during Janmashtami.