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Janmashtami, the birth of lord Krishna is celebrated with great devotion in the months of August & September months, on the Ashtami of Krishna Paksh or the 8th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Bhadon, in the whole of north India.

Temples and homes are beautifully decorated and lit. An attractive feature of the celebrations are cribs & other decorations depicting stories of lord Krishna’s childhood. There are five main tableaux “jhankis”, the tableaux of Janmastami, which depict the entire sequence of events from lord Krishna’s birth to this being discovered in Gokul.

The “jhankis” include the birth of Krishna in jail, Vasudev carrying Krishna to safety across the river Yamuna amidst thunder and lightening, Vasudev’s return to the jail, Kansa killing Yashoda’s daughter and finally the little Krishna in the cradle in Gokul. “Jhankis” are created out of dolls dressed up as kids, men and women with lehanges, chunnis, dhotis & kurtas.

Raslila of different types is also performed – Janmalila, Shankarlila, Putnalila and Naglila. In the evening, bhajans are sung, which end at midnight, the auspicious moment when lord Krishna was born. Thereafter, arti is done, prasad distributed and flowers showered on the idol. Janmashtmi At Braj Bhoomi The people of Mathura celebrate Janmashtami with great enthusiasm. Mathura is the birthplace of lord Krishna, where his parents lived in captivity of the evil Kansa and he, as a young boy, came and vanquished his maternal uncle Kansa, to ascend the throne and free his parents.

The main celebrations are performed at the Dwarkadhish temple, Mathura in the form of ‘Jhulanotsava’ and the ‘Ghatas’ during the entire month of Shravan. The ‘ghatas’ are unique feature of the month- long celebrations. During the ‘ghata’ of a particular colour, the whole temple is covered with decoration in the same colour. Even the lord dresses up in the same colour. The twin cities of Mathura-Vrindavan wear a festive look and spirit of devotion runs high among the people.

It was on the banks of the river Yamuna where lord Krishna played during his childhood and indulged in pranks and tricks with his friends and the gopis. There are about 400 temples dedicated to Lord Krishna in this sacred city and the major festivities are held at the Banke Bihari, Rangaji, Shri Krishna Balram temple and Gopinath temple. The Raslila of Braj is thematically the basis of many performing arts.