Janmashtami, also known as Gokulasthami, is a festival celebrated in the northern parts of India and Maharashtra. According to the Hindu calendar, the festival is celebrated on the Krishna paksha Ashtami of Bhadrapada, marking the birth of Lord Krishna. In Tamil Nadu, the festival is known as Sri Krishna Jayanthi.
It is believed that Lord Krishna, one of the most revered Gods in Hinduism, was born in the 28th year of Dwapar Yug, more than 5000 years from now. As legends go, he is said to be born with four hands like he is in his Vishnu form, with each hand holding a weapon like the Conch, Club Lotus, and Disc.
Krishna’s maternal uncle, Kansa, was told that his sister Devki’s eighth son would kill him. Fearing for his life, Kansa wanted to kill all of Devki’s sons. So when Lord Krishna was born in Vishnu’s avatar, Devki and her husband pleaded to Lord Krishna to turn into an ordinary baby. After this, with the help of the Almighty, Krishna’s father went to Vrindavan and exchanged his son for Nanda and Yoshoda’s daughter and returned to the prison where Kansa had imprisoned him and Devki. Since that day, Janmasthami or Krishna jayanthi has been celebrated by one and all with great joy and love.
Krishna Janmasthami is celebrated in the South of India, according to the Amanta Hindu Calendar (solar calendar). In the North of India, it is celebrated according to the Purnimanta Hindu Calendar (Lunar Calendar). People observe the auspicious festival of Janmashtami in North India on the Krishna Paksha Ashtami of Bhadrapada, whereas, in the south, it is observed on the Krishna Paksha Ashtami of Shravana Masa. However, although the festival is in two different months according to both the calendars, it is celebrated worldwide on the same day.
Janmashtami in 2021 will be celebrated on the 30th of August. The Ashtami tithi of Gokulashtami starts at 9:06 AM with the Nishita puja time period between 00:04 to 00:48 and the Parana time after 11:15 AM on the 31st of August. Ardent devotees of Lord Krishna, who wish to observe fasting in Janmashtami 2021, can do so accordingly.
Krishna Janmashtami Holiday is declared in various states of India such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Chandigarah, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Chattisgarah, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Miizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Nagaland, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, and Tamil Nadu.
Happy Janmashtami Celebration
Janmashtami is celebrated for two consecutive days everywhere. On the first day, devotees fast for the entire day and make preparations for the festivities to start at midnight, the time when Lord Krishna is believed to be born. People keep Bal Gopal in a cradle and swing it. Bal Gopal or baby Krishna is also offered his favorite butter and sweets made of milk. Devotees stay up the whole night, offering puja to Lord Krishna and singing devotional songs praising the Lord.
The next day, people visit Krishna temples to offer their prayers and bow their heads in order to seek his blessings. The Krishna temples are decorated with flowers and lights, and Lord Krishna is decked in all his finery. The temples also offer delicious bhog (food offered to the Lord) to the devotees who throng the temple on that day.
In many parts of India, people celebrate the birth of Krishna by performing Dahi-Handi. The Dahi-Handi event is the replica of the stealing of butter by Krishna during his early years. Nowadays, a clay pot (handi) is tied high up. A group of boys make a human pyramid to reach the top and break the clay pot. Competitions on Dahi-Handi are conducted everywhere, especially in Mumbai, and the group that makes the best and fastest human pyramid to break the clay pot wins the competition. One can book an MSRTC bus to Dahi Handi venues and enjoy this wonderful sight.
For a happy Janmashtami celebration, people visit their relatives and friends to greet each other and relish on the Prasad. It is a holiday in many places, schools, and colleges. In many places, Krishna Leela is enacted on stage that talks about different facets of Lord Krishna’s life through drama, dance, and songs.
Vrindavan and Mathura
Make Janmashtami 2021 a special one by visiting Vrindavan in Mathura, the place where Lord Krishna spent most of his early life. As such, the place holds a special significance in the life of Lord Krishna.
Everywhere in the world, the birth of Krishna is celebrated with lots of fervor and gaiety, but it is in Vrindavan that the celebrations are grander. Devotees from around the world visit Vrindavan and all the places that hold significance in the life of Lord Krishna.
If visiting Vrindavan and Mathura is on your list of “to-do things” in Janmashtami 2021, then make sure to visit the Krishna Janma Bhoomi Mandir in Mathura during the celebration. The Garbha Griha of the temple is believed to be the prison cell where Lord Krishna was born.
Vrindavan, which is about 15 kilometers away from Mathura, is another place that devotees should visit. Apart from the numerous temples dedicated to Lord Krishna, the Banke Bihari Temple is the most famous and revered one.
If you are unable to reach Vrindavan or Mathura on Krishna Janmashtami, there are several other temples where you can participate in the Janmashtami celebrations. These include Dwarkadhish Temple, Gujarat, Sri Krishna Matha, Udupi, Shrinathji Temple, Nathdwara, and Govind Dev Ji Temple, Jaipur.
Does learning about the Janmashtami celebration make you feel like visiting Mumbai to watch the Dahi Handi performances or make a pilgrimage to the twin city of Mathura and Vrindavan during Janmashtami in 2021? If that is what you wish to do, visit the redBus website or App to get discounts on flight and hotel bookings.