The land of festivals is yet again gearing up for the festivals ahead. We have walked ahead into the ninth month of the year calendar 2015. The calendar is packed up for Indians as there are ample of festivals to be celebrated. The holy month of Shravan has passed by and the devotees have showered Lord Shiva with their services and offerings. We are walking towards the end of this year and the festivities make this journey shorter. This weekend, India would be busy screaming “Govinda ala re, ala re”. Yes, it is time to celebrate the birthday of the notorious lord – Lord Krishna. This weekend, the people of India would drown in the bhakti of the heartthrob celebrating it in the form of Krishna Janmashtami. It is the celebration that marks the birth of the eight incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Lord Sri Krishna. This day holds great significance in the Hindu mythology. It is celebrated on the eighth (Ashtami) day of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) of the Shravan month. Here is how India celebrates this festival, separated by inter-state borders people drown in the charm of the lord.
Maharashtra- Dahi Handi
In Maharashtra, the festival of Janmashtami is celebrated as “Dahi Handi”. It is a fun activity where people make a human pyramid climbing on top of one another and smash the earthen pot (handi) filled with buttermilk (dahi) tied at a height. The person at the top of the pyramid tries to break the pot is called as a Govinda or Govinda pathak. When the pot breaks, the buttermilk is spilled over the group of people. This event is a way of celebrating Lord Krishna’s love for butter. He was crazy for butter and cracked the code for stealing milk products around every house. This dahi handi festival is an activity filled with enthusiasm, team effort and fun. The tradition has become a favourite in the area and involves competition between the local groups. The political groups and Bollywood stars also participate in this event. There is huge prize money announced for the competition. There are about 4,000 handis hung high in Mumbai.
Eastern part of India
The state of eastern India celebrate the festival is unique way. The state of Odisha celebrates this day with pomp. The Puri Jagannath Temple gears up for the celebrations of Janmashthami. People observe fast on this day and celebrate the birth of the Lord at midnight. The Iskcon community and its members drown in the bhakti of the Lord. The verses of the sacred book “Bhagwad Gita” is chanted in the temples. Every temple puts up a cradle for the newly born lord and it’s swung by the devotees. The next day is celebrated as “Nanda Ustav”, a celebration that marks the arrival of the lord at his foster parent’s house, Nanda and Yashoda.
In the state of Uttar Pradesh, there are cities associated with Lord Krishna’s childhood such as Mathura, Gokul and Vrindavan. The temples attract numerous devotees during this holy month.
In Manipur, the festival is known as Krishna Janma. It is celebrated at two temples in Imphal, the capital city of Manipur. The first festival is at the Govindaji temple, and the second is at the International Society for Krishna Consciousness temple. The famous Lord Krishna Rasa Lila is depicted in the traditional Manipuri style of dance.
In Gujarat, the city of Dwarka decks up for this day. It is believed that Lord Krishna established his Kingdom here. He was popularly known as Dwarkadishm (King of Dwarka). The famous Dwarkadish temple is flocked by hundreds of devotees on this day.
Dwarkadish Temple decked up for the celebration & kids dressed for the dance drama.
In Tamil Nadu, the floor is decorated with kolams (decorative pattern drawn with rice batter) in order to welcome the Lord. The “Geetha Govindam” and other such devotional songs are sung in praise of Lord Krishna. The recitation of the sacred “Bhagwad Gita” is a popular practice. The footprint of Lord Krishna is drawn from the threshold of the house to the temple, which depicts the arrival of Lord Krishna into the house. The youngest of male child in the family is dressed alike Lord Krishna. Oonjal or swing which is rocked gently and prasadam is offered to lord and served first to them.