Ashtami Tithi Ends : 17:39 on 15/Aug/2017
Nishita Puja time : (Midnight)24:04+ to 24:48+
“Dahi Handi will be celebrated on subsequent day, 15th August 2017”
Janmashtami, Lord Krishna’s birth anniversary, is celebrated with much fanfare and enthusiasm not only in India, but also in other parts of the world such as Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Fiji. Lord Krishna was born on ashtami in the Krishnapaksha of Bhadrapad month. The devotees observe a day long fast on this auspicious day and worship Lord Krishna with utter devotion to seek His divine blessings. Janmashtami celebrations vary from region to region. Let us have a quick look on those eternal ways in which devotees devote themselves to celebrate this pious day.Celebrations in Mathura
Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, attracts devotees in large numbers every year. MATHURA is one of the famous sites in Hindusim, which is believed to grant moksha (salvation) to its pilgrims. Recitation of Bhagvat Purana and shlokas from Srimad Bhagwad Gita commences from dawn in every house and temple of Mathura-Vrindavan. People fast throughout the day to display their devotion towards Lord Krishna and perform Krishna puja, followed by maha arti. The grand celebrations in Mathura include Ras Leela – a play that depicts the youthful days of Lord Krishna. One can also witness Krishna jhankis in almost every corner of Mathura. Many devotees cast and display clay figurines that depict scenes from Krishna’s life. Every child and aged fervently dance and celebrate this day with a joyous heart. The celebration continues until midnight, i.e. the birth time of Lord Sri Krishna.Celebrations in Vrindavan
Vrindavan, a place where Sri Krishna spent most of his childhood, witness flood of devotees every year on the auspicious day of Krishna Janmashtami. Lord Krishna spent most of his childhood in Vrindavan, stealing butter together with everybody’s hearts. Many devotees perform Ras Leelas- dancing and enacting scenes and events from Krishna’s childhood day – to keep the enthusiasm of this pious day alive. Most of the temples here perform maha aarti and pujas to worship Lord Krishna. The entire town is filled with the sound of chimes and bhajans. Pilgrims from all over the world visit Vrindavan to experience the grand festivity of this holy occasion.Ceebrations in Maharashtra
Maharashtra has its own style and grace when it comes to celebrating Janmashtami. As per legends, during childhood, Sri Krishna and his friends often broke curd/butter pots (dahi handi) hanging from the ceilings of neighbourhood’s houses. Devotees in Maharashtra celebrate this ritual of Dahi Handi – a ritual, which depicts the mischievous and playful side of Krishna. During this ritual, devotees (govindas) form human pyramid to break dahi handi (an earthen pot filled with curd & fruits) hanging high from the ground. To add gusto to this occasion, non-participants splash water on the group attempting to break the pot. Devotees believe that keeping the broken pieces of this pot in the house can remove negative energies and maintain positivity in the house.Celebrations in Dwarka
According to legends, Dwarka (Gujrat) was Lord Krishna’s kingdom. It is believed that Sri Krishna lived here for about 5000 years before the city submerged into Arabian Sea. It is also believed that the Supreme architect, Vishwakarma, built this Holy city in just 2 days. Every year, on the holy occasion of Janmastami, the city is filled with the divine sound of chants, chimes and conch shells. Pilgrims visit this city, specially the world-famous Dwarkadhish temple, and recite Vishnu Sahasranamam and Srimad Bhagwad Gita to seek blessings for their overall wellbeing and prosperity.
Rituals Observed on this Day
- The devotees observe a day long fast on Janmashtami and break the fast only after midnight (after the birth time of Krishna) when both, Rohini Nakshatra and Ashtami tithi ends.
- After 52 years, we’ll witness the most auspicious time on Janmashtami when Rohini Nakshatra will coincide with the midnight puja time of Sri Krishna’s birth. It is believed that Krishna puja performed during this time yields fruitful results.
- Parana time (breaking of fast) – After 17:39
- Only fresh fruits, milk and water should be consumed during Janmashtami fasting. Fast should be opened by drinking panchamrit.
Mantra Chanting :
- Devotees chant mantras and shlokas all day to please the Lord. They chant various kathas highlighting His deeds and divine characteristics.
Preparation of Bhog & Sweets :
- As Lord Krishna was fond of milk and milk products such as butter, buttermilk, kheer etc., devotees cook milk-based sweet dishes & bhog to appease the Lord.
Puja Items Required :
- Lord Krishna’s couch and cradle
- New clothes, flute and ornaments for his figurine
- Puja thali, which includes diya, flowers, roli, incense sticks, ghee, supari, paan leaves, water-filled container and vermillion.
- Panchamrit- a holy mixture made of 5 food items: milk, ghee, curd, honey and gangajal.
- While the best time to perform Janmashtami Puja is midnight when the Lord was born, some people also carry out the rituals in evening.
- Firstly, Lord Krishna’s idol is bathed with panchamrit.
- The Lord’s idol is then adorned with beautiful clothes (usually yellow color) and precious ornaments.
- Later, bhog, which may contain fruits, kheer, pedha, milk or milk products, is offered to Lord Krishna. Some devotees also offer chappan bhog (56 dishes) to Baal Gopal.
- This is followed by Krishna Puja during which, devotees place His idol in a cradle and swing His cradle gently while reciting all 108 names of Lord Krishna, performing aartis and singing devotional bhajans.
- People visit popular temples of Sri Krishna on this auspicious day to seek His divine blessings.