Janmashtami in Mathura : In the darkest of nights was born the brightest and most celebrated of all the Vishnu avatars, Lord Krishna. Janmashtami is the tithi on which Shri Krishna is believed to have been born. Janma + Ashtami are two words which when combined create the word Krishna Janmashtami. He was born on the eighth day of our Hindu calendar at night 12:00 o’ clock as the eighth avatar of Vishnu in a dungeon of Mathura.
Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated universally, however, Krishna Janmashtami Festival is a sight to spot in the twin cities of Mathura and Vrindavan. Mathura Janmashtami during the month of August is as famous as the Barsana/lathmar Holi celebrated in Mathura in the month of March.
Janmashtami in Mathura is celebrated in memory of the 5000-year-old re-incarnation of Vishnu who saved the world from many imminent troubles. During this day in Mathura people keep a fast, decorate their homes and cook different food items that were favoured by the Lord. Flowers come to Mathura and Vrindavan from almost all parts of the country during this festival.
See Mathura puja muhurat as per choghadiya Mathura.
If you are to experience the zeal, joy and the unparalleled grandeur of Krishna Janmashtami, you must check out Janmashtami 2020 in Mathura. This year Krishna Janmashtami falls on 11th August 2020 on a Tuesday. In Mathura Janmashtami 2020, there are almost 400 temples dedicated to Lord Krishna and each temple begins the celebrations almost one month ahead of the actual date.
The celebration is divided into four important aspects here in Mathura for Janmashtami.
- Jhulan Utsav
- Dahi Handi ceremony
- Rasleelas and plays are enacted remembering His birth and childhood activities.
Let us look at each four of these aspects a little more vividly.
Jhulan Utsav Mathura Janmashtami
Janmashtami in Mathura is primarily celebrated in a two-day span. The first day is known as the Krishna Ashtami or Gokul Ashtami. The second day of the festival is known as Kaal Ashtami. Both these days are celebrated with great joy and happiness.
On the first day, people fast which they break while reciting chants and prayers to the Lord when He is born at midnight. After his birth, people have to bathe the idols in milk, honey, sandalwood paste and fragrant oils. Once bathed every household in Mathura decorates the Lord with new clothes, a new flute, a fresh peacock feather on his turban and lots of gold and silver jewelleries.
In temples after all these rituals, the Lord is made to lie in a swing, freshly painted and decorated with leaves and fragrant flowers. The priest chants mantras and people get a chance to touch the swing and the Lord’s feet in the Krishna temples of Mathura during Janmashtami. It is a belief that whoever makes a wish by touching the swing will surely come true.
Read more: Shri krishna Chalisa.
On the next morning, people usually feast, celebrating by dancing and singing around the cradle or swing made specially for the Lord marking the Jhulan Utsav. Almost eight lakh tourists’ throng from everywhere to witness the beautiful Janmashtami celebrations of Mathura and Vrindavan. In Mathura and Vrindavan it begins from the Tritiya tithi to Poornima for that month (commonly known as Jhoolan Poornima) in the month of Shravan and on the eighth and ninth day, people celebrate Janmashtami. The tithi may vary from place to place and from one calendar to the other.
Jhoolan marks the rasleela Krishna did with Radha and the other sakhiyas (girlfriends).
Ghatas Mathura Janmashtami
Mathura Janmashtami 2020 is marked by the ritual of Ghatas that is another celebration style unique only to the Mathura and the Vrindavan celebrations. A particular colour is chosen and every thing in the temple is decorated using the same colour. Even the dress of Shri Krishna and Shri Radha is decorated using the same colour code.
This choice of colour goes on for a month and is performed in almost all the temples. The entire town is decorated in the same colour and the entire city wears the colour on that particular day. This is how Nandgaon used to be decorated every Janmashtami.
Dahi-Handi Mathura Janmashtami
Dahi Handi is an unique celebration which is very much a part of Mathura Janmashtami and is celebrated in memory of Bal Krishna. Everyone knows Bal Krishna’s first love was the white butter his mother used to make in her kitchen. In olden days, people used to store butter in earthen pots hung high on the ceiling.
Butter was a precious commodity in those times and Kanha and his friends were known to eat a lot of butter in one go. This same act is celebrated during Mathura Janmashtami where pots are filled with white butter or curd and hung high on streets and roads. Usually, people have to form a human pyramid to reach the Hundi that is broken and the butter or the curd falls on the men who come together to form the pyramid.
Shri Krishna Ki Aarti for Janmashtami Puja.
It is said to be quite an important moment and whoever the curd falls considers himself to be blessed for the rest of the year.
Rasleelas Mathura Janmashtami
Rasleela is a beautiful traditional dance where people gather around each other and dance to their heart for the whole day and night on the day next to the birth of Krishna. Rasleela is a colourful dance form and many women go round a man in centre while performing this dance form during Mathura Janmashtami.
Manipuri dance also known as Jagoi is often performed in the same concept. The eternal dance that creates and recreates every form of life on Earth is also known as the Rasleela and is very much a part of Mathura Janmashtami. Rasleela is celebrated in Krishna’s memory when he moves around a group of women dancing to the tune of His flute.
The old texts point out that all those saints and Rishis, seers and ascetics who once desired closeness to Krishna were born as these women who went around Krishna seeking his nearness and blessings.
A brief recapitulation of Shri Krishna’s life on the occasion of Krishna Janmashtami
Mathura is the centre of bhakti, samadhi and penance, the land of Shri Krishna.
During the festival, the plays are organised on the following tales enacted more during the Mathura Janmashtami celebrations.
Balkrishna’s story during Mathura Janmashtami celebrations
A cruel King, Kansh received an akashic declaration which foretold that his death would happen in the hands of a small child who would be born in a certain specific period of time. So Kansh ordered his subordinates to kill every child who would be born during this period of time.
Know about Santan Gopal Mantra Jaap.
New born babies were snatched from their mothers and killed by the soldiers mercilessly. Kansh had a sister in prison and she too was to give birth to a baby. A female child was born, and Kansh killed her post which Devaki bore another child.
However, on the day this child was to be born, there was heavy rainfall for the whole night. The gurgling sound of rain drowned the voice of the newborn completely. Just at that time, a miracle happened and all the gates opened mysteriously. Vasudev took the child and quickly peeped out of the gate only to find the soldiers in deep sleep outside the cells. He tiptoed and escaped the prison in the dark of the night.
He crossed the river Yamuna and while crossing the water was chest deep so he held the child up on his head. The heavy lashes of rain fell on the child, seeing this Vasuki Nag (a big river snake) hooded the child all along. Yashoda also bore a child and the child did not live. So Vasudev gave Krishna up to the care of Yashoda. Only Nand, Yashoda’s husband knew about this incident and for long Yashomati raised Krishna as her own son.
The next tale on which children enact on this day includes,
Krishna’s growing up years in Mathura during Mathura Janmashtami celebrations.
Mathura Janmashtami enacts this part of the story as well.
Krishna grew up in Mathura and was known to be a child prodigy. As a child he had shown his skill in killing several demons who harassed Nandgram in those days. Even while growing up, Krishna did understand how everything impacted nature and the world. It is said that we live in a land where Maya, a demon queen was put to good use by Shri Krishna himself. Maya and Mara were allowed to capture the whole world only due to Krishna’s command.
He had shown his mother the entire world in His mouth once as a child seeing her worry too much about him.
Kansh was killed by Krishna when He was still a growing child. Due to the curse on their generation, Krishna never ascended the throne however, he took active interest in maintaining several kingdoms. Several battles were fought during his lifetime. He had to fight 17 battles with Jrasandh, Kansh’s father in law along with the battle of Mahabharata.
The death of Shri Krishna is enacted remembering his presence during Mathura Janmashtami
It was during these difficult times that Balaram shifted the entire kingdom from current Uttar Pradesh to Dwarka in Gujarat where he died when a hunter aimed an arrow at a deer which hit Shri Krishna by mistake. Panchali, the daughter of Panchal King had cursed him forecasting his death in this manner which came true and his death actually brought Kali-Yuga to this world.
Every single demon he killed and every single soul he touched sings to praise the Lord on this day.
Mathura being his seat for long is definitely the most sought-after location for Mathura Janmashtami.
Mathura Janmashtami 2020
Due to COVID-19 there is no message released by the UP government for Mathura Janmashtami 2020.
However, last year, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh ordered almost a fifteen-day festival for Janmashtami. Dancers and singers came from all parts of the country to perform during this festival last year.
Flowers, music primarily flute, dance and prayers with lots of food is what marks this festival in Mathura Janmashtami. God is offered 56 dishes on this day and after he is born at 12:00 o’ clock devotees break their fast with this food.
Closing Lines on Mathura Janmashtami
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama Hare Hare.
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.
It is believed that Krishna bathes in Rameswaram, prays in Badrinath, sleeps in Dwarka, eats in Puri and dresses up in Mathura and Vrindavan.
So, if not this Janmashtami, but in the next few years try to be a part of this grand festival that reminds one to celebrate life and living. However difficult the journey is, one must never lose hope in that eternal fire that burns bright in our hearts.
See also: Barsana Lathmar Holi.
This Krishna Janmashtami celebrates it within your homes and don’t forget to be a part of Mathura Janmashtami at least once in your lifetime. It is worth the time and effort and you would love every bit of it.