New Delhi: Janmashtami or Gokulashtami marks the birth of Lord Krishna, who is believed to be the ninth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The festival is celebrated across the world with full fervour by the devotees of Lord Krishna. This year, Janmashtami will be celebrated on August 24.
ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) Temple is run by Lord Krishna's followers and is located in many places across the world. It was founded in New York, The United States of America by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Here, we bring to you details about how the world celebrates Janmashtami.
Mathura happens to be Shri Krishna's birthplace where Devaki gave birth to him inside a prison. Therefore, Mathura is the most important place during Janmashtami for Lord Krishna devotees. Every year, people follow the practice of reading the Bhagavad Gita, keep rocking cradles with a Krishna idol in temples and at their homes. The rituals are performed at midnight. A dance performance is also hosted. Mathura is a must-visit place during Janmashtami.
Vrindavan holds a greater significance in understanding Lord Krishna's life. The temples are full of lights, beautiful decorations, people sing and dance while praying to the god. There are many temples in Vrindavan that are dedicated to the lord. People observe fast till midnight, perform Raas Leela, rock the cradles and read out the Bhagavad Gita aloud. You can visit the Bankey Bihari temple and Prem Mandir when in Vrindavan.
Lord Krishna was taken to Gokul by his father in order to protect him from his maternal uncle Kansa where he was raised by Yashoda and Nandlal. Janmashtami is celebrated as Gokulashtami here and devotees start the preparations a day later than the actual date because they believe that since Krishna was brought to Gokul a day after he was born. Devotees play with buttermilk, curd, turmeric and bathe Krishna's idols with the same.
Dwarka was built by Balram, Lord Krishna's brother. It is considered to be one of the most sacred and holy places. Here, Janmashtami celebrations begin before midnight where people dance, sing bhajans and usher in the Lord's birthday.
A national holiday in Bangladesh, Janmashtami is a special festival for the people living there. The major celebrations take place in the main temple of the country, Dhakeshwari Temple in Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh.
The festival is called as 'Krishna Ashtami' in Fiji and the celebrations are spread over a week. The last, as in the eighth day, is celebrated as Lord Krishna's birthday. During these eight days, the Hindus in Fiji gather at temples or at their homes to immerse themselves in prayers. The devotional groups celebrate by singing songs, dancing, reciting prayers and distributing prasad.
Happy Janmashtami, everyone!