Janmashtami is celebrated to commemorate the birth of one of the most revered Hindu gods Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Though, the festival of Janmashtami is celebrated all throughout the country with immense zeal. But, in Vrindavan and Mathura where this Hindu deity was born and spent his formative years the splendor and zeal surrounding the festivities is unmatched. There are thousands of temples in these holy cities and each of them is decorated elaborately where several traditional dramas are organized and rituals are performed. Devotees and tourists from all over the country gather to the twin cities of Mathura and Vrindavan and to witness and take part in the festivities. As Vrindavan is the city where Krishna used to perform rasleelas with the gopis around 5000 years back, the rasleelas performed here by children during the festival is the major attractions. To learn more about how the festival of Janmashtami is celebrated in the holy cities of Mathura and Vrindavan go through the following lines.
Janmashtami In Mathura
In Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, festival of Janmashtami is celebrated with great grandeur and devotion. As lord Krishna was born at midnight, several rituals are performed precisely at them hour. The most popular and grand can be witnessed at the Dwarkadhish Temple where Krishna is given a ritualistic bath in milk and curd. Jhulanotsavas are held all over Mathura during the month of Shravana. The Ghatas and the temples are such elegantly and elaborately decorated that these exude splendor and magnificence all throughout the month. The city of Mathura can be seen immersed in prayers and sound of the conch and bells fill the air. Hordes of devotees gather in this holy city to welcome Lord Krishna. After the ritualistic prayers Panchamrit, a mixture of honey, gangajal, curd, ghee is distributed to the devotees. Those who observe fast, break their fast with the prasad served to the Lord. Innumerable delicacies such as Kheer, Laddoo and Butter are offered in elegant platters to please the god.
The Rasleelas, a form of dance which the lord himself used to perform with the gopis, are organized everywhere in Mathura city and both professionals and amateurs take part with great passion and devotion. Generally this dance form is performed by young boys, 10-13 years old.
Janmashtami in Vrindavan
According to the epic, Mahabharata, Lord Krishna spent his formative years in the holy city of Vrindavan. Situated on the banks of river Yamuna, the city of Vrindavan Known for its rasleela performances, is visited by millions of devotees every year during the festival of Janmashtami. According to the legends, Madhuban in Vrindavan is the place where Lord Krishna used to perform his rasleelas.
The holy city of Vrindavan gets engulfed in the celebrations for at least 7-10 days prior to the festival. Several natyas or dramas and rasleelas are held all throughout the city. Amidst several thousand temples, Banke Bihari Temple, the Iskon Temple and Sri Krishna Balram Temple draw maximum number of devotees during the festival. Apart from ritualistic baths, several pujas and religious ceremonies are held at these temples all throughout the day. Devotees in large numbers pour in to offer their prayers and to witness the Abhishek or the holy bath of Lord Krishna.
Though celebrated throughout the world with equal passion and devotion, the Janmashtami celebrations in Mathura and Vrindavan are the most famous as both cities were once the home of Lord Krishna himself. Here, the celebrations last for around 10 days and devotees from all over the country can be seen chanting hymns and offering prayers to the Lord to seek his blessings.