The festival is celebrated between the months of August and September according to the Indian calendar. In some regions, the well-known Rasa Lila is celebrated. These are nothing more than dramatic representations of the life of Krishna. These representations are a special feature in regions of Mathura and Vrindavan, and for Vaishnavites in Manipur. If you plan your trip to India you should not miss this important festival.
While the Rasa Lila recreates aspects of Krishna's youth, the Dahi Handi celebrates the playful and mischievous side. The youth teams form human towers align to break one containing butter. This tradition is also known as uriyadi and is an important event in Tamil Nadu in Gokulashtami. Krishna Janmashtami is followed by the Nandotsav festival. It celebrates the occasion when Nanda Baba distributed gifts to the community in honor of the birth.
Krishna Janmashtami, the celebration of the birth of Krishna, is an extravagant festivity in India. Not counting the cities of the north and east of India, Vrindavan in the Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh is the biggest attraction since it is the birthplace of Krishna. That is where Krishna spent his childhood. It is the land where today its spiritual aura and it's deep religious charm is preserved. A large number of tourists from all countries and religions, visit Vrindavan during the time of the celebration of Janmashtami. They obtain a dazzling vision and offer prayers to Krishna.
The celebration of Janmashtami is attached to the promulgation of the episodes of the early age of Krishna. It was full of moments of fun and happy times. Rasa Lila is represented everywhere. The life, events and romance of Krishna's childhood days are represented through music and dance. The most popular custom followed during this festival is to break containers full of milk, yogurt, and butter.
Elaborate preparations, including lighting and floral decoration, make a great festival in Mathura and Vrindavan. In the tone of devotional songs, the music of sacred hymns and the sound of bells are heard everywhere in the city. Both the Rasa Leela and the breaking of Dahi Handi create moments of fun among the spectators.
Sacred processions take place around the temples. The residents, along with the tourists join the marches with flags of saffron colors in their hands. Little boys and girls dress themselves as Radha and Krishna and perform dances. People talk in choruses, and they greet each other bringing happiness. Krishna is worshiped as Bal Gopal in each city of Mathura and Vrindavan.
The deities are bathed in milk and then washed with holy water from the Ganges. After the deity is placed in its decorated place to later play background music. Many delicious meals are cooked throughout the day and then offered to the god at night. All the temples in Mathura and Vrindavan are adorned with colorful fabrics, lights and piles of flowers for a month to celebrate the birthday of Krishna.
A visit to Mathura and Vrindavan during Janmashtami is a life experience in the true sense of the word. One can get to perceive the true colors of an Indian festival. Food, music, prayers, decorations and happiness, live together to celebrate the festival of joy and satisfaction.
Krishna Janmashtami Celebration in Nepal
Nepal also tends to celebrate the holiday with great zeal. One of the holidays, a crowd of devotees queue outside the great temples of Krishna in the city of Kathmandu to offer prayers. The Krishna temple of Mangal Bazar in Lalitpur receives the greatest number of devotees today.
Some of the fascinating observations of the festival in Nepal are-
The Bhagavataam (Bhagwat Ramayan: the story of Krishna) is recited. Rhymes are sung and devotees pray and hymns in Sanskrit are recited in Krishna's admiration.
The devotees gather at the temple premise and offer prayers, flowers, food and sweets.
The devotees observe fast until midnight.
At midnight, the devotees crowd the temples to participate in the special 'Aarti' to alleviate the birth of Krishna.