Alok Bhartia remembers the first time he saw a Krishna Janmashtmi jhanki. The lights, idols and the colors mesmerized him. It was not like the grand fest held at Mathura and Vrindavan, but for a four-year-old, the scene was too electrifying.
Mathura and Vrindavan are synonymous with Sri Krishna Janmashtami. Mathura is where Sri Krishna was born, in a cell, to Devaki and Vasudeva. Vrindavan is where he spent his mischievous but lovable childhood with his friends and gopis. Everyone is acquainted with the story of Lord Krishna (thank the Hare Krishnas if you live outside India), the avatar of Lord Vishnu who came to earth to destroy evil and establish a just rule. His birthday signifies hope and prosperity.
Vrindavan and Mathura are draped with blankets of flower during the Janmashtami season, but ever wonder how the birth of Natkhat Gopala is celebrated outside his birthplace? Let’s take a look!
This is where all the adventure and fun is. A Dahi Handi (earthen pot filled with curd) is suspended high in the air, and different teams create human pyramids to break the Handi, just like Krishna did with his brother and friends. Alok Bhartia thinks it’s one of the best, scary and adrenaline-pumping celebrations in the entire list.
The people of Tamil Nadu create sophisticated and beautiful Kolam on the floor, one of the favorite cultural arts of Alok Bhartia. Kolam is a decorative pattern, usually at the entrance of the house with Krishna’s infant footprints. Bhagwad Gita and Gita Govindam are recited in the day while the youngest male is dressed as baby Krishna.
Manipur has a rich history of Vaishnavism and Krishna-worship. The celebration is much like the Janmashtami festivals in North India, the only difference is a dash of Manipur’s culture. Traditional Manipuri music and attire is worn by all when visiting the temples to seek Lord Krishna’s blessings. Don’t miss the Manipuri dance featuring the love between Radha and Lord Krishna.
The Udupi Sri Krishna Matha is famous for its Janmashtami celebrations. Pilgrims have to worship Lord Krishna through a nine-holed window, called Navgraha Kitiki. The temple and its surroundings are filled with devotional songs and bell rings. Plays depicting the life of Krishna are performed and a special tiger dance − Leelotsav brings in onlookers.
Goa has the only temple where Krishna and his mother Devaki are worshiped together. People from all over the country visit this temple to celebrate the mother-son duo during Janamashtmi. Goa has a huge vaishnav population, so the crowd is big!
If you have seen a Janmashtami celebration fit to be in this list, let Alok Bhartia know!