janmashtami

The Janmashtami Festival is the celebration of the birth of Lord Krishna. Devotional songs and hymns are sung in veneration of Lord Krishna. The houses of devotes are painted and decorated beautifully with lights and flowers. Raas Leelas or plays enacting the life of Lord Krishna are organized along with hymns.

It is a tradition that devotees fast till midnight after which the special food that is cooked is offered to the deity and shared among the devotees. It is a completely vegetarian cuisine that is served. The poor and the needy are offered alms on this auspicious day.

The holy town of Vrindavan is where Krishna spent his childhood and his teenage years. Situated on the banks of the river Yamuna, Vrindavan is where Krishna performed the famous Rasleelas with his Gopis. The celebrations start 10 days prior to the day of Birth in Vrindavan. Rasleelas and plays on the life of Krishna and even scenes from the epic Mahabharata of which Lord Krishna was an indispensable part, are performed by professional artists on the occasion of Janmashtami. These plays draw a large amount of tourists to Vrindavan.

There are over 4000 temples in Vrindavan of which Ranganathji Temple, ISCKON Temple, Radharaman Temple, to name a few, are the main temples where people flock for their ceremonies and ritualistic events that takes place throughout the day of Janmashtami; especially the ‘Abhishek‘ which is the grand ritualistic bath of Lord Krishna before the ceremonies begin.

Madhuban, an area near the Yamuna River is believed to be the exact place where Lord Krishna was said to have performed rasleelas with his beloved Gopis, 5000 years ago. A local folklore says that even till this date, Lord Krishna descends at this place to perform rasleelas with the gopis. Hence, no locals set foot in the area after dusk. Though, Madhuban is brightly lit and decorated during Janmashtami as rasleelas and plays are performed here but only during daytime. A majority of the devotees and tourists come to Madhuban to see the famous performances before heading to Mathura.