Janmashtami, Krishnashtami, Ashtami Rohini, Gokulashtami, or Srikrishna Jayanti, Lord Krishna’s birth anniversary is celebrated in different parts of the country in its own unique name and style, however, the level of enthusiasm and grandeur of this religious festival remains the same. This vibrant festival of India is celebrated with great pomp and show on the eighth day in the month of Shravan or Bhadrapad which usually falls somewhere between August and September. Akin to Krishna's charm, the celebration of his birthday also has an irresistible vibe.
So here are these 12 unique Janmashtami celebrations in India which draws a vivid picture of its diversity. Take a look at how his devotees immerse themselves in the love of Krishna on this special day of Janmashtami.
The main celebration of Janmashtami takes place at Krishna’s Janmabhoomi, Mathura. Being the birthplace of Krishna, the exhilaration seen here is absolutely worth witnessing. Temples adorned with flowers, streets buzzed with devotees, air filled with the fragrance of roses and special savories getting prepared at every corner create an amazing vibe especially in this part of the country. From his butter stealing act to Ras Leela with Gopis, many vibrant plays are held to portray the life of Krishna. His Balgopal roop is cradled in every home and even in the temples of Mathura during Janmashtami. This tradition of cradling baby Krishna is also prevalent in many other parts of India.
Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh is another place after Mathura where Janmashtami is celebrated with great devotion as this town also has a deep affinity with Krishna’s life. Barely 11km away from Mathura, it was in Vrindavan where Krishna spent his childhood stealing butter and performing Raas Leela with his Gopis. On this special day, various rituals are performed in temples. Also, raas leela and plays based on Krishna’s life are enacted by artists which is a special highlight here. The celebration of Janmashtami in Vrindavan takes place for ten long days when the entire town comes to life with the serenading sound of mridang, bhajans, and bells. Krishna’s charm has spread all over the world which draws a large number of devotees to this holy town especially during Janmashtami.
Unlike Mathura and Vrindavan, Janmashtami in Maharashtra is more about fun and merrymaking. Celebrated in a unique way, huge pandals are installed to perform Dahi Handi contests. An earthen pot filled with curd and white butter is hung on a massive height and people gather to make huge human pyramids to break this pot. To make Dahi Handi more competitive, people splash water on the group attempting to break the pot. This ritual originated from Krishna’s act of stealing butter with his friends and a large number of people gather to watch this spectacle every year. This event is usually organized and sponsored by companies and local political groups and a huge cash prize is extended to the winning team. One of the popular places to catch the sight of electrifying Dahi Handi is in Mumbai where Janmashtami celebration is totally fascinating.
Coming to the celebrations in Lord Krishna’s very own kingdom, Dwarka in Gujarat, Janmashtami in this part of the country is worth witnessing as this is the place where he spent about five thousand years of his life. According to legends, the entire city of Dwarka submerged into the Arabian sea after he left for heavenly abode. The present-day city comes to life with the sound of conch shells and ringing bells during Janmashtami. Every year a large number of devotees visit Dwarka to immerse themselves in the bhakti of Lord Krishna.
Jagannath in Odisha is a quintessential temple of Lord Krishna. According to legends, Lord Krishna’s heart was tied to a log and immersed in the ocean. It is Jagannath temple in Puri where Krishna’s heart can be found. All the major temples in Odisha are beautifully decorated and the special prasad called the Jeuda Bhog is prepared with a belief to ease the labor pain while giving birth to Lord Krishna. The deities are adorned with beautiful clothes and jewelry and during midnight, Ladoo Gopal is kept in a cradle decorated with flowers. Mantras are chanted, processions are carried out, religious songs are sung, verses from the Bhagavad Gita are recited and several sweets are cooked to celebrate the birth anniversary of Krishna. Here the Janmashtami celebration is held with great pomp and shows just like the famous Rath Yatra.
Despite being a Portuguese settlement, Goa is popular for Janmashtami celebrations as well. The temples here are as significant as its beautiful churches as this beach place has an affinity with Yadavas, the clan to which Krishna belonged. It is home to a unique temple where Krishna and Devaki are worshipped together. In fact, it is the only temple in India devoted to the Devaki Krishna cult. In this temple you will find an idol of Devaki in a standing position with little Krishna between her legs. Apart from daily worshipping, Janmashtami is also celebrated here with gusto. This temple in Marcel (about 17km from Panaji) is marked by long queues of devotees where major celebrations of Janmashtami in Goa can be witnessed.
Krishna Balaram temple and Govind Devji temple in Jaipur are famous for Janmashtami celebrations. While the Krishna Balaram temple in Jaipur city is exactly similar to the Krishna Balaram temple in Vrindavan, the famous Govind Devji Temple located inside the City Palace is where the main image of Krishna was brought by Raja Sawai Jai Singh II from Vrindavan which is believed to be made by Krishna’s great-grandson, Bajranabh. Decorations being the indispensable part during Janmashtami, both these temples in Jaipur are beautifully decorated. The temples remain overcrowded especially during the festival and you can see long queues of devotees visiting here to offer prayers and seek blessings.
From observing fasts to visiting temples, organizing Raas Leela performances, singing bhajans, folk dance performances, Janmashtami celebrations in Manipur are just as enthusiastic as the ones across the country. Vaishnavism being quite prevalent in this northeastern state, almost every village in Manipur has at least one Krishna Temple where Janmashtami is celebrated with great fervor. Mahabali Temple and Sri Govindjee Temple are quite popular where large gatherings of Krishna devotees can be witnessed.
From dressing up like Krishna to performing various rituals, Janmashtami celebration in this part of the country is very unique. Since there are only a few temples in the state, natives of Andhra Pradesh celebrate Janmashtami by worshipping paintings of Krishna instead of idols. Many types of sweets and fruits are offered while performing pooja. Reciting bhajans and slokas are also a part of Janmashtami celebration in Andhra Pradesh.
Guruvayoor Sri Krishna temple, also known as Bhuloka Vaikunta is one of the significant temples in Kerala where Janmashtami celebrations are grand. Considered as the ‘Holy Abode of Vishnu on Earth’, this temple in Guruvayur town is also called ‘Dwarka of South India’. Devotees from all the parts of Kerala visit this temple during Janmashtami in order to pay homage to the idol of Vishnu that is in the form of newly born Krishna as seen by Devaki and Vasudev. Pooja, mantra chanting and distribution of Prasadam are significant parts of Janmashtami celebrations in Kerala.
One of the unique celebrations of Janmashtami, Tamil Nadu celebrates it in its own unique style. People from the state follow rituals like drawing tiny footprints of Krishna at the entrance of the house and dressing the youngest child of the family like Krishna. People observe fast till midnight and offer butter, betel, fruits and many sweet savories. Pooja, mantra jaap and singing devotional songs are also a significant part of this grand ceremony.
Krishna Janmashtami is a grand affair in Sri Krishna Matha temple in Udupi. According to the legends, the idol of Krishna in the temple was discovered by Saint Madhwacharya on a ship in the 13th century and was later placed here facing west. During Janmashtami, this ashram-like temple buzzes with cultural performances, Leelotsav and various plays depicting the life of Krishna. One of the unique aspects here is the exquisitely carved window which is called Navagraha Kitiki from where the devotees worship Lord Krishna. Apart from this, you can also attend Vittal Pindi (Rass Leela) and Huli Vesha (tiger dance). Massive processions are also carried out in Udupi in which Gopuras are erected under the chariot. Earthen pots filled with curd are hung on Gopuras that are broken by sticks when the procession is carried out.
Q. Which states in India celebrate Janmashtami?
A. Janmashtami is celebrated with great fervour in different states of India. However, Uttar Pradesh celebrates Janmashtami in a totally grand way.
Q. How do we celebrate Janmashtami?
A. We can celebrate Janmashtami by observing fast and chanting prayers. We can decorate our temple at home with flowers and put a small cradle with little Krishna in it. We can keep sweets and special savories as offerings and prasad.
Q. Why is Janmashtami celebrated for 2 days?
A. As Lord Krishna was born during midnight, his birth anniversary, Janmashtami is celebrated for two days.
We hope you enjoyed reading about these places in India where you can visit to be part of unique Janmashtami celebrations. Plan your trip with Adotrip to get exciting offers on flights, hotels, buses and tour packages. With us, nothing is far!