The festival of Janmashtami celebrates the birth of lord Krishna and takes place in the Shravan months of August / September. The entire subcontinent springs to life, the streets are adorned with colourful decorations and the atmosphere gets encapsulated in the traditional tunes dedicated to the glory of the lord. This is the time when people start their preparations from a month ahead and celebrate the holy times as one community in peace and harmony. People decorate the Krishna temples and perform puja rituals that lasts till mid night – the time when Krishna is believed to have been born.
Believed to be the 7th and one of the most powerful incarnations of Lord Vishnu, Krishna (of the Yadava clan) is said to have been born into this world to help and guide people into ridding themselves of all the evil demons. The story of the birth of Krishna starts several thousands of years back when he was born on mysterious and rainy night to Devaki and Vasudeva – both of them who were imprisoned by his maternal uncle Kansa (the king of Mathura). Krishna plays a major role in the Hindu epic Mahabharata and is credited with the establishment of the city of Dwarka in Gujarat. His stories, intellect and heroism have made him one of the most beloved of all gods in India.
If you wish to experience this galore then here are the best places recommended for it:
Vrindavan is one of the most highly revered sacred locations in India since this is believed to be the place where Lord Krishna had spent most of his childhood days. Located in the district of Mathura this place is dotted with big and small temples dedicated to the lord and Janmashtami is the time when every street, alley, nook and cranny is adorned. This is one of the most highly awaited and a prominent festival in Vrindavan and the celebrations here is nothing short of a spectacle. You can go to Madan Mohan Temple, Radha Mohan Temple, Banke Bihari Temple, Krishna Balaram Mandir etc., to get the real and the most authentic taste of Janmashtami celebration.
How to Reach – From Delhi Vrindavan is situated at a distance of 3.5 hours (depending on the traffic). It can be reached via state bus, private bus or even your own car since the roads are in very good condition.
Shri Krishna Bhoomi Dwarka which means the ‘doors to salvation’ is probably one of the most popular places in India to witness the grand Janmashtami celebrations. Under the rule of Krishna the city which has been referred to as the golden city, it flourished with elaborate buildings made out of diamonds, gold’s and crystals. This place has served as the home of Krishna for around 100 years and post his death a part of Dwarka got completely submerged into the water. To honour his contributions in a lively grandeur Dwarka is probably one of the best places to be during this time.
How to Reach – From train it is well connected to the rest of the cities of Gujarat and other major and minor western state of India. The nearest airport is in Jamnagar which is around 45 minutes away from Dwarka.
Janmashtami is the time when the locals come out of their houses and take part in the famous and legendary Dahi Handi celebrations. Groups of young men form human pyramids with an aim of breaking the Handi or the clay pot filled with the lord’s favourite eatable – Dahi or yogurt. The older regions of Mumbai like Dadar, Worli, Thane and Lalbaug is famous for its elaborate and wonderful celebrations. Competitions with prize money for the winner are organised. All this is done along with the traditional tunes, songs, dance and Dholak performances.
How to Reach – Being one of the biggest metropolitans in India, Mumbai is well connected via Chhatrapati Shivaji international airport and railway stations from various parts of India and across the globe as well.
Jagannath temple which is situated in Puri is worshipped in India as one of the important forms of lord Krishna. It is the abode for one of the holiest Char Dham temples of India – Jagannath and during the Janmashtami celebrations every aspect of the city is adorned in wonderful and vibrant decorations. The chronicles of Krishna and his best friend Balram is enacted in the Pandals every evening for devout spectators. Krishna Leela is also performed during this time by kids here which is a fun experience for sure. These festivities go on for 17 days and ends with the act where Kansa is slayed by Krishna. Some places here also organise Dahi Handi competitions like Mumbai.
How to Reach – The nearest airport for Puri is in Bhubaneswar which is 60 km away. It has super-fast and direct express links to major cities like Delhi, Ahmedabad, Kolkata etc. via the terminus of east coast railway.
The Shri Krishna Matha in Udupi, Karnataka holds immense significance in the lives of the locals here. The main deity here is seen riding a stunning golden Rath or a chariot in the centre and is surrounded by 8 wonderful looking monasteries. The birth day of the lord here is unlike the way it is celebrated in the northern regions. They have a special regional touch to it due to the presence of street performers, and plays portraying various episodes from Krishna’s childhood. Locals cook special sweet delicacy called kottige or Gunda. Other festivities include processions with a clay idol of the lord and expect to see a variety of cultural performances and shows.
How to Reach – The closest airport for Udupi is located in Mangalore which is situated at a distance of 54 kms. The railway line is also well connected with all the major places lying on the Konkan Railway line. Bus services also ply from Mangalore, Mysore and Bangalore.