Janmashtami 2023: What makes the celebrations of Lord Krishna's birth in Mathura and Vrindavan so special?

Janmashtami 2023: What makes the celebrations of Lord Krishna's birth in Mathura and Vrindavan so special?

Janmashtami 2023: Let's explore how the auspicious festival is celebrated in Mathura and Vrindavan which is cherished by millions of devotees each year.

The auspicious festival of Janmashtami, also known as Krishna Janmashtami, Gokulashtami, Shrikrishna Jayanti, and Krishnasthami, is celebrated nationwide to commemorate the birth of Lord Krishna. The Hindu calendar designates this day as the birthdate of Lord Krishna, who was the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It takes place in the month of Bhadrapad on the Krishna Paksha Ashtami Tithi. This year, Janmashtami is observed over the course of two consecutive days in accordance with the Drik Panchang. The Ashtami Tithi will last from 15:37 on September 6 until 16:14 on September 7, so both of these days will be devoted to celebrations.

On this auspicious day, devotees gather at Krishna temples at midnight to offer their prayers to the Lord. The temples are beautifully decorated with garlands and bright lights. Although this day is celebrated all over the world, Mathura and Vrindavan celebrate Janamashtmi like no other, as these two places are associated with the birth and childhood of Bhagavan Krishna. The temples have beautiful flower arrangements, chandeliers and bright fabrics.

Janmashtami 2023: What makes the celebrations of Lord Krishna's birth in Mathura and Vrindavan so special?
Haryana's Republic Day tableau to depict Lord Krishna's 'Virat Swaroop' form

How Janmashtami is celebrated in Mathura and Vrindavan?

The festivities start 10 days prior to Janmashtami with a variety of cultural and religious events like Rasleelas, Bhajans, Kirtans, and Pravachans. Rasleelas are dramatic adaptations of Krishna and Radha's life and love stories, as well as those of his other gopis. Both professional artists and local worshippers perform this in a variety of locations throughout Mathura and Vrindavan. Devotees flock to the Krishna temples on the eve of Janmashtami, especially the Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan and the Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple in Mathura, where he is believed to have been born. The temples are beautifully decorated with enchanting floral arrangements and lighting.

A specific ritual known as Abhishek takes place at midnight, the precise moment of Krishna's birth, during which the idol of Krishna is bathed in milk, yogurt, honey, ghee, and water. Conch shells are blown during the washing process, bells are rung, and Vedic hymns are chanted. Then, as a gesture of appreciation and affection, the devotees present Krishna with 56 different food items (known as Chappan Bhog). Then the prasad is given to the worshippers.

The Dahi Handi event, which takes inspiration from Krishna's childhood mischief of stealing butter from earthen pots placed high by his mother Yashoda, is another highlight of the Janmashtami celebrations in Mathura and Vrindavan. In this activity, groups of young men build human pyramids to reach and break a pot that is hanging from a height and contains yogurt or butter. The occasion serves as a metaphor for loyalty, bravery, and teamwork. It also draws a large number of onlookers who applaud and take in the spectacle.

Nandotsav observed the day after Janmashtami, honours the happy occasion when Krishna's foster father, Nanda Baba, gave presents and sweets to everyone in Gokul (Krishna's village) to rejoice in his birth. On this day, followers travel to Nandgaon, the birthplace of Nanda Baba, to pray and give to the needy. Additionally, they take part in a variety of celebrations and games that honour Krishna's playful nature.

Celebrating Janmashtami in Mathura and Vrindavan is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. However, the number of devotees travelling to these sacred destinations is on the rise each year. It's anticipated that over 8 million devotees will visit Mathura for the Janmashtami celebrations later this week. Therefore, it's advisable to plan your trip well in advance and make the necessary reservations to ensure a safe and hassle-free experience.

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