​Thefestivalis celebrated on the eighth day (Ashtami) of theKrishna Paksha(dark fortnight) of the month ofShravana(August–September) in theHindu calendar.[2]Rasa lila, dramatic enactments of the life of Krishna, are a special feature in regions ofMathuraandVrindavan, and regions followingVaishnavism in Manipur.[3]While theRasalilare-creates the flirtatious aspects of Krishna’s youthful days, theDahi Handicelebrate God’s playful and mischievous side, where teams of young men form human towers to reach a high-hanging potof curd and break it. This tradition, also known asuriadi, is a major event inTamil Naduon Gokulashtami. Krishna Janmashtami is followed by the festivalNandotsav, which celebrates the occasionwhenNanda Babadistributed gifts to the community in honour of the birth


Krishna was the eighth son ofDevakiandVasudeva. Based on scriptural details andastrological calculations, the date of Krishna’s birth, known as Janmashtami,[5]is 18 July 3228 BCE and he lived until 18 February 3102 BCE.[6][7]Krishna belonged to theVrishniclan ofYadavasfromMathura,[8]and was the eighth son born to the princess Devaki and her husbandVasudeva.

Following the birth, Vishnu orderedVasudevato take Krishna toGokultoNandaandYashoda,[10]where he could live safely, away from his Uncle Kansa. Vasudeva took Krishna with him and crossed theYamunato reachGokul. There, everyone was asleep; so he quietly kept him there and returned withYashoda’s daughter. Kansa, thinking her to be Devki’s eight child, threw her on a stone. But she rose into the air and transformed into Yogmaya (who is Vishnu’s helper) andwarned Kansa about his death. Then, she disappeared.[10]Krishna grew up in Gokul with his brother,Balram. He then returned toMathuraand killed Kansa with the help of Balram.

Mathura (in present-dayMathura district, Uttar Pradesh) was the capital of theYadavas, to which Krishna’s parents Vasudeva and Devaki belonged. KingKansa, Devaki’s brother,[9]had ascended the throne by imprisoning his father, KingUgrasena. Afraid of aprophecythat predicted his death at the hands ofDevaki’s eighth son, Kansa had the couple lockedin a prison cell. After Kansa killed the first six children, and Devaki’s apparent miscarriage of the seventh (which was actually a secret transfer of the infant to Rohini asBalarama), Krishna was born..

CelebrationsHindus celebrate Janmashtami by fasting, worshipping Krishna and staying up until midnight, and offer prayers at special time[11]when Krishna is believed to have beenborn. Images of Krishna’s infancy are placed in swings and cradles in temples and homes. At midnight, devotees gather around for devotional songs, dance and exchange gifts. Some temples also conduct readings of the Hindu religious scriptureBhagavad Gita.[12]

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  • rn and Eastern IndiaPlaces inUttar Pradeshthat are associated with Krishna’s childhood, such asMathura,GokulandVrindavan, attract visitors from all over India, who go there toparticipate in the festival celebrations.[17]People in the city ofDwarkain Gujarat – where Krishna is believed to have established his Kingdom – celebrate the festival by visiting theDwarkadhish temple. InJammu, kite flying is an important part of the celebration on his day.[18]In the eastern state ofOdisha, in the region aroundPuriand inNabadwip,West Bengalpeople celebrate Janmashtami by fasting and worship until midnight. PuranaPravachana from theBhagavata Puranaare recited from the 10th Skandha. This section deals with pastimes ofKrishna. The next day is called “Nanda Utsav” or the joyous celebration of Krishna’s foster parentsNandaandYashoda. On this day, people break their fast and offer various cooked sweets during the early hours.
  • AssamJanmaashtami – popularly known inAssamby the same name– is celebrated in Assam mostly at the homes, Namghars (Assamese: নামঘৰ) and the temples usually though JanmaashtamiNam, pujas and sharing food andPrasad.
  • ManipurJanmaashtami – popularly known inManipurasKrishna Janma– is a significant festival celebrated at two temples inImphal, the capital city of Manipur. The first festival is at the Govindaji temple, and the second is at theInternational Society for Krishna Consciousnesstemple
  • South IndiaGokulashtami or Gokula Ashtami (Janmashtami or Sri Krishna Jayanti) celebrates the birthday of Lord Sri Krishna. Gokulashtami is celebrated with great fervor in South India.InTamil Nadu, the people decorate the floor with kolams (decorative pattern drawn with rice batter). Geetha Govindam and other such devotional songs are sung in praise of Lord Krishna. Then they draw the footprints of Lord Krishna from the threshold of the house till the pooja room, which depicts the arrival of Lord Krishna into the house.[19]A recitation of Bhagwadgita is also a popular practise. The offerings made to Lord Krishna include fruits, betel and butter. Savories believed to be Lord Krishna’s favorites are prepared with great care. The most important of them are Seedai, Sweet Seedai, Verkadalai Urundai. The festival is celebrated in the evening as Lord Krishna was born at midnight. Most people observe a strict fast on this day and eat only after the midnight puja. They also dress the youngest of male child in there family alike Lord Krishna and perform oonjal or swing which is rocked gently andprasadam offered to lord is served first to them.Andhra PradeshState Recitation of shlokas and devotional songs are the characteristics of this festival. Another unique feature of this festival is that youngboys are dress up as Lord Krishna and they visit neighbors and friends. Different varieties of fruits and sweets are first offered to Lord Krishna and after the puja, these sweets are distributed among the visitors. The people of Andhra Pradesh observe a fast too.Various kinds of sweetsare made to offer Gokulnandan on this day. Eatables along with milk and curd are prepared to make offerings to Lord Krishna. Joyful chanting of Lord’s name takes place in quite a few temples of the state. The number of temples dedicated toSri Krishna are few. The reason being that people have taken to worship him through paintings and not idols.Popular south Indian temples dedicated for Krishna are Rajagopalaswami Temple in Mannargudi in the Tiruvarur district, Pandavadhoothar temple in Kanchivaram and Krishna temple at Guruvayur are dedicated to the memory of Vishnu’s incarnation as Sri Krishna. Legend says that the Sree Krishna Idol installed in Guruvayur is from Dwarka which is believed to be submerged in the sea.


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