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Krishna Janmashtami - Hindu Festival - Festivals of India

Updated on October 12, 2020
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Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Krishna Janmashtami Decoration


Krishna Janmashtami 2020

Krishna Janmashtami this year is on 11 August 2020

About Krishna Janmashtami

Krishna Janmashtami or Janmashtami as it is simply called is the day when Lord Krishna was born. It is one of the biggest Indian religious festivals in the world. About 930 million people worldwide celebrate this festival.

About Lord Krishna

Lord Krishna is one of the most venerated incarnations in the Hindu religion. It is said that Lord Krishna is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Lord Krishna was born about 5000 years ago at the end of the Dwapur Yuga, the third cosmic phase and the beginning of Kali Yuga, the present and the last cosmic phase.

Lord Krishna was born in Mathura city of the present state of Uttar Pradesh in India. He was born at midnight hence the festival is celebrated for 2 days. The first day is called Krishnashtami and the second day is called Kalashtami.

The Purpose Of Lord Krishna's Incarnation

Lord Krishna himself says in the Gita,

"Yada yada hi dharmasya glanirva bhavathi Bharatha,
Dharma sansthaapanaarthaaya sambhaavami yuge yuge"


Whenever Dharma (righteousness) declines and Adharma (unrighteousness) takes over, I incarnate, to re establish Dharma and vanquish evil.

Dharma has no exact translation in English. At best, it can be compared to following a path of righteousness in thought, word and deed.

Janmashtami, therefore, is celebrated to observe dharma.

The Story Of Lord Krishna's Birth

The Janmashtami celebrations of Vrindavan and Mathura, where Lord Krishna spent his childhood years, are the most famous and vivid.

Lord Krishna's birth circumstances are extraordinarily unusual and in fact seem to be a miracle.

The King of Mathura, Kansa, was an evil king. Kansa was the maternal uncle of Lord Krishna. His sister Devaki was married to Vasudeva. It was a divine prophecy that the eighth child of Devaki would spell death for King Kansa. Once Kansa came to know of this, he imprisoned his sister Devaki and brother-in-law Vasudeva.

One by one, seven children were born to Devaki and were subsequently killed by Kansa. But when the eighth child "Krishna" was born, there was divine interference to save his life.

At the time of Lord Krishna's birth the guards guarding the prison cell fell into a deep slumber due to which they were unaware of the birth of the eighth child.

A divine voice commanded Vasudeva to take this newborn child to a place called Gokul and exchange this child with the newborn child of Yashoda and Nanda.

Due to the divine interference all the shackles and the prison gates, opened on their own. Vasudeva then carried his newborn child Krishna in a wicker basket through the waters of the Yamuna river.

Though the Yamuna waters were raging at the time duee to a fierce storm, it parted to allow Vasudeva to pass and carry Krishna to safety.

After exchanging the children, Vasudeva returned to the prison with Yashoda's and Nanda's child. The prison gates and shackles now fastened on their own and the guards awoke. When Kansa was informed of the birth of the eighth child, he came and picked up the child and with a view to kill hurled the child at the wall but instead the child took the aerial route in the form of a Goddess who laughed at him and told him that the eighth child who will spell the death knell for him had been born and was safe elsewhere. This Goddess was Yogmaya.

At a later date this prophecy proved true when Lord Krishna killed Kansa.

Janmashtami Celebrations

Lord Krishna was very fond of butter as a child, hence, he is also known as "Maakhan (Butter) Chor" (thief). He used to steal butter from villagers accompanied by his friends.

On this day, devotees keep day long fasts and chant bhajans (religious hymns) till midnight when Lord Krishna was born, followed by prayers.

An idol of Lord Krishna is bathed with panchamrit by the priests along with chanting of holy mantras. Panchamrit used to bathe Lord Krishna's idol is made up of 5 things viz milk, ghee (clarified butter), curd, honey and holy water from the holy Ganges river. A conch shell is used to pour the panchamrit for bathing the idol.

Dahi Handi


Dahi Handi Video

Janmashtami - The Ritual Of Dahi Handi

This ritual is followed in the cities of Mumbai, Pune, Dwarka, Vrinavan and Mathura. In Mumbai & Pune this ritual is also called dahi handi and is celebrated with a lot of zeal & vigor. Handi means a claypot and dahi means buttermilk. so, a claypot is filled with buttermilk and tied high up. Young boys form a human pyramid. The boy on top of the pyramid is supposed to break the handi with a coconut, as coconut is considered a pure object.

In Mumbai & Pune, groups of young boys called Govinda Pathaks, roam around the their localities with a view to break these handis that are tied up at various places. Prizes in cash and kind are also offered by local communities to those who break these handis.

Raas Leela | राधा-कृष्ण की अद्भुत रासलीला

Raas Leela


Janmashtami - The Ritual Of Raas Leela

It is well known that Lord Krishna was fond of Radha and her sakhis (female friends), called Gopis (girl cow herds)

Raas Leela is a popular form of folk theatre depicting the favorite pastime of Lord Krishna where he dances with Radha and the Gopis. Krishna used to play the flute while Radha and the Gopis danced around him.

The ritual of raas leela is especially seen in Vrindavan and these dramatic enactments start much ahead of Janashtami. Colorful costumes are worn by the actors with colorful backgrounds and musical accompaniments.

Janmashtami In Bollywood

Many movies in Bollywood have songs connected with Janmashtami celebrations and the dahi handi ritual. The following video song is one such from an famous old movie - Bluffmaster.

Janmashtami Bollywood song - Bluffmaster Movie

Mango Shrikhand Recipe - A Sweet Dessert

Coconut Burfi - A Sweet Desset

Banana Appam Recipe

© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly


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    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Thanks for the information and stopping by thumbi7

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 

      6 years ago from India

      Kids in our neighborhood were all dressed up like Krishna today.

      Krishna Guruvayoorappa !

    • writercb1 profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      Nice hub, love the live videos! Jai Sri Krishna!

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      8 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Thanks IslandBites

    • IslandBites profile image


      8 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Very interesting hub!

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      9 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      It's good to hear you like the information especially the videos. Thanks for the read and share.

    • dinkan53 profile image


      9 years ago from India

      Still remember the parts of Indian epic stories heard from my grandmother. Love to watch those human pyramids breaking the matki or handi which is hung high. Enjoyed the sweet making videos as i love Indian sweets, especially the peda. Thanku very much for sharing such an entertaining hub. Thumbs up and beautiful. Shared!

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      9 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Thanks for all the appreciation Ishwaryaa. I'm glad you liked the information on this festival., the videos and the rest.

      Thanks for the votes and sharing.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 

      9 years ago from Chennai, India

      An engaging & informative hub on one of India's most important festivals - Krishna Janmashtami. I am familiar with Lord Krishna's birth story and rituals and it is a joy to re-visit all these in this enrapturing hub of yours! Further added to it are the entertaining videos of the ritual, Bollywood and yummy recipes. Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up & Socially shared

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      9 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Hi Shazwellyn,

      This is an interesting information. The ways of the divine are truly infathomable. Thanks for sparing time to read and share this information. I appreciate it very much.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank you for your explanations on the Birth of Krishna and the associated festival. It is interesting to note that there are a few parallels to some of the stories of the bible. The one that comes to mind is of Moses in the old testament - he was sent in a river via a wicker basket and the king at the time knew of a prophecy where he would suffer downfall by the king of the Jews, so slaughtered newborn boys to eradicate him. He didn't count on Moses being brought up in his own home as an Egyptian!

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      9 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      I'm glad you liked this information. Thanks for the visit and votes, Jenna.

    • Jenna Pope profile image

      Jenna Pope 

      9 years ago from Southern California

      This is such an excellent lesson in Indian culture. well done. voted up.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      9 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Patty, I'm glad you liked the history and the information on Janmashtami festival. Gladder still that you cared to read and comment.

      Many thanks for stopping by.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      9 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Thank you Rema for all the wonderful compliments. I appreciate your visit, the votes and shares. Thank you again.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      9 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Thanks Rahul, for the read, the appreciation and the visit.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      9 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Aurelio, the mango srikhand is very yummy though all these sweets are a treat for someone with a sweet tooth. Glad you like the info about the festival. Thanks for reading.

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      9 years ago from Orange County, CA

      As impressive as that human pyramid is to watch, my favorite part of this holiday are all the sweet treats. The mango shrikhand looks particularly yummy. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • Patty Kenyon profile image

      Patty Kenyon 

      9 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

      Voted Up, Awesome, and Interesting!!! I love learning about other cultures as well as other religions and traditions!! Thank-you so much for sharing both the celebration along with the history!! Awesome Job!!!

    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 

      9 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      What a wonderful hub.. about a wonderful festival...

      The Story of Lord Krishna is one which encompasses all the points which are needed to be understood for the proper upliftment of the inner soul..

      Your hub ... in your particular detailing and crafty style.... is unique beautiful and interesting..

      Loved the desserts towards the end..

      Awesome work Rajan Sir

    • remaniki profile image

      Rema T V 

      9 years ago from Chennai, India

      My! Rajan, what an extensive hub with great details about Krishna and the Janmashtami celebrations! Krishna is my favorite deity and though I don't believe in all the rituals explained here, they all have their own share of fun and frolic. You have made it a very grand affair with all the beautiful pictures, delicious recipe videos, entertaining bollywood videos et al. Voted up and awesome and sharing it all over.

      Cheers, Rema.


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