New Delhi: Amid blowing of conch shells and beating of drums, devotees chanted 'Hare Krishna Hare Rama' and 'Govinda ala re' as religious fervour gripped the country on Saturday on Janmashtami, marking the birth of Lord Krishna.
Devotees thronged decked-up temples since early morning to offer prayers and took out colourful processions. Special religious discourses, 'Krishnalila' or dance dramas and community kitchens were also held.
Tight security arrangements were made for the festival and additional security personnel deployed in sensitive areas.
Lakhs of pilgrims paid obeisance in the main temples of Mathura, the birth place of Krishna, Vrindavan, Nandgaon, Mahaban and Baldeo, and performed circumambulation of hillock Goverdhan. The temples of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) which celebrate the festival with great fervour and pomp, too attracted large congregations.
Bathing ceremony of the deity -- 'Abhishek' -- was performed with milk, curd, honey, ghee and khandsari amidst chanting of vedic hymns.
Attired in their colourful best with some kids dressed up as Lord Krishna, dozens of Kashmiri Pandits took out a procession in Srinagar to celebrate 'Janamashtami'. The Kashmiri Pandits living in the Valley thronged various temples and participated in prayers before joining the march.
In Rajasthan, hundreds of devotees gathered at the famous Govind Devji temple in Jaipur where Janmashtami celebrations started from August 20.