The story of Janmashtami:The Yadava clan of Mathura was headed by King Ugrasen, a benevolent king who was loved by his people. His daughter Devaki was married to King Vasudev, something that did not bode well with her brother, a tyrant named Kamsa. It had been prophesised that one of the children born to Devaki and Vasudev would be the one to kill Kamsa. All set to kill his sister then and there, it took the genuine pleading of Vasudev to spare her life – however, he had to promise Kamsa that he himself would hand over each child to him, as soon as it was born.
Vasudev and Devaki spent the next several years in prison – each time a child was born, Kamsa would smash the head of the new born baby against the wall, instantly killing it. However, on the night that their eighth child was born, a light filled the prison cell and a divine voice asked Vasudev to ferry the child to his friend Nandaraj. All the gates of the prison miraculously opened and as Vasudev approached river Yamuna, with a baby in a basket, he saw the river raging like the ocean.
With the help of Sheshanag providing him an umbrella, Vasudev was able to reach his friend, Nandaraj’s house and exchanged his new born son with their new born daughter. Before Kamsa was able to reach their prison cell, Vasudev was back with the little girl; however, as soon as Kamsa picked the baby girl to smash her head, she slipped out of his hands and transformed into Goddess Durga, who warned Kamsa of his impending doom!
Lord Krishna, was born at midnight, on the eighth day of the dark fortnight in the month of Shravan, which generally falls in July-August and each year the day is celebrated with great fanfare and aplomb, all over the country. Several people buy Krishna statues online or in stores to bring home and keep in their pooja room. At eCraftIndia, you will be able to find a humungous range of not only Krishna idols and figurines, but also paintings and wall décor options. You can also choose from Krishna-Radha décor pieces, paintings and wall hangings.
Did you know that several people go two nights without sleep to celebrate Janmashtami? The festival that falls eight days after Rakshabandhan is meant to celebrate the birth of Krishna, which was at midnight. True devotees choose to stay awake to celebrate the exact moment of his birth and continue the celebrations through the day until the next day!
Same day, so many celebrations:Given that Krishna is loved, adored and worshipped in every part of the country and also in several parts of the globe, there are several manners of celebrations. Here are just some of the ways in which the birth of Krishna is celebrated:
- Maharashtra: Popularly known as Gokul Ashtami, this is one of the biggest celebrations in the state and is celebrated with great aplomb in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Latur. One of the most popular traditions is the Dahi Handi – a earthen pot with turmeric water or yoghurt is tied on a high rope and people make a human pyramid to try and break the pot. This ritual is a symbol of little Krishna trying to reach the pots of butter that his adopted mother, Yashoda used to keep in her kitchen. Many places are renowned for their dahi handi celebrations and often large cash prizes are also awarded! Several housing societies will dress young children up in the garbs of Krishna and Radha and have them dance to religious songs. These days, numerous people refer to find Krishna gifts online to be given away at such events and our website happens to be one of the popular places to shop!
- Gujarat and Rajasthan: Two states that have several Krishna devotees are Gujarat and Rajasthan and in these states too, Janmashtami is celebrated with great fervour. In Dwarka, which is supposed to be the empire set up by Krishna, temples are decked up, folk songs and dances are enjoyed and there are bhajan mandalis all over town. In Rajasthan’s Nathdwara temple, the idol of Krishna is decked up in finery and there are bhajans and celebrations all day and all night long.
- Uttar Pradesh: Some of the important cities in Krishna’s chronology happen to be in Uttar Pradesh – both Mathura and Vrindavan are high on energy at Janmashtami. The temples are all decorated with rangolis, flowers and lights, which at night, offer a glittery charm to the temples. Raasleela’s are performed at several temples and audiences are treated to stories from Krishna’s childhood and his days as a youngster, through song and dance.
- Eastern India: In the 15th and 16th centuries religious teachers such as Sankardeva and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, spread the word about Krishna, all over the eastern and north eastern part of India. Several art forms developed centred on Krishna, including Borgeet, Ankia Naat and Sattriya and these are performed on Janmashtami. As a matter of fact, the Manipuri dance form borrows heavily from stories of Krishna and this too is a form that is performed at temples and religious places on this day. Most of the states also have the tradition of dressing up small children, boys and girls, as Krishna and making sweet dishes to be used as prasadam. In West Bengal and Odhisha, people tend to fast the entire day and recite the 10th chapter of the Bhagvata Purana. The next day is celebrated as Nanda Utsav – a celebration of Nandaraj and Yashoda. Several people bathe their Radha Krishna statues with milk or water from Ganga and a bhog is generally offered.
- South India: Commonly known as Gokul Ashtami, in south India too, this is a day of celebration – homes are decorated with kolams and tiny footsteps are created using rice batter; this is meant to symbolise the tiny footsteps of infant Krishna entering the home. Sweets such as payasams and laddoos are prepared and kept in the pooja room, along with bowls of fresh butter. The Krishna temple at Guruvayur, the Rajagopalaswamy Temple in Mannargudi and the Sri Krishna temple at Udupi are all decorated and several special ceremonies and poojas are done on this day.
Janmashtami is also celebrated in countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Fiji and Mauritius, where there are large Hindu populations. Temples in the United States of America and the United Kingdom also have special celebrations.
This year, you too can indulge in some extravagant Janmashtami celebrations and buy Krishna figurine online at eCraftIndia, along with gorgeous paintings, wall hangings and other home decor items. You could also look at pooja items such as diyas, thalis and more at our online store!