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In the month of Shravan (July-August) falls the birthday of Lord Krishna. This festival is celebrated with gaity in places where Krishna worship is very popular.


Janmashtami is observed with great pomp in Mathura and Vrindavan which have close associations with Lord Krishna’s childhood. But his birth anni­versary is celebrated by Hindus everywhere.

On Janamashtami day, the worshipper, fast the whole day. At night, the devotee of Lord Krishna takes his bath, worship a clay image of the infant Krishna and adorn it with the leaves of the Tulasi plant. Traditionally, the next day is a great festival for all keepers of cattle as Krishna spent his boyhood among cowherds.

On the night of Krishna’s birth, in Mathura, the faithful keep watch at the temple so that they might have the first darshana of baby Krishna. Home altars throughout the city display elaborate scenes of Krishna, with his cowherd and milkmaid friends, with tiny cattle and trees, with toys and swings for his pleasure. As Krishna Janmasthtami approaches, the decorations and figurines for these home altars are for sale in the markets.

Public celebrations is vigorous in Mathura area, the heart land of Krishna worship. Janmashtami is one of India’s most beloved festivals and on this eighth day of the waxing fortnight of Bhadrapada (August/September), the Lord Krishna is worshipped with great enthusiasm in Kashi at the Krishna Gopala Temple, attached to one of the mathas of the Vallabha tradition, on the dense Chaukhamba area of the city.


On this day, Krishna is worshipped as Balagopala Krishna. Janamashtami is also known as Gokulashtami and Srijayanti. In Tamil Nadu, Krishna Jayanti is celebrated with full religious fervour in the Parthasarathy temple at Tiruvallikkeni (Madras) which is dedicated to the aspect of charioteer of Partha (Arjuna); the Pandava tudar temple at Kanchipuram that depicts Krishna as a messenger of the Pandavas; Rajagopalaswami temple at Manuargudi, dedicated to Lord Krishna.

In homes in South India little footprints of a child are sketched on the floor with a liquid made of milk and flour. As the infant Krishna was a darling of milkmaids, cowherds dance to idols of baby Krishna rocked in cradles on the following day. And, as always, Brahmins are well fed to mark the happy event.

In former times the entire day would be spent in penitent fast until the midnight hour when, after consecration of Krishna images, after offerings of fruits and flowers to representations of Krishna the godchild, sweets and saltiest would be happily shared. Symbolic art is ubiquitous in religious rituals. Here, sometimes, a black stone is hidden inside a cucumber to simulate Devaki in pregnancy, and at midnight, the stone is removed and worshipped to recall the birth of the baby.

In Manipur, Krishna – Janma festival is confined to the children and grown up boys as well as girls and rural people. To some extent, the religious aspect of the festival seems to be ignored. In the morning, the children take their bath and put on new clothes and visit markets in groups or with their seniors. This is merry making time they spend time in baying toys, sweets and other eatables. In the evening young, boys and girls play the game ‘likhon’ that lasts up to midnight.

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