Bhubaneswar: Janmashtami or Krishna Janmashtami is an annual Hindu festival to mark the birth of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu. It is celebrated on the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha in the month of Shraavana of Bhadrapad (which overlaps with August or September of the Gregorian calendar).
History of Janmashtami:
Lord Krishna was born on the eighth (Ashtami) day of the dark fortnight in the Bhadrapada month (August–September) in Mathura. He was Devaki and Vasudeva’s son. When Krishna was born, Mathura was ruled by his uncle King Kansa, who wanted to kill his sister’s children as a prophecy said that the couple’s eighth son would cause Kansa’s downfall.
After the prophecy, Kansa imprisoned Devaki and Vasudeva. He killed off their first six children. However, at the time of the birth of their seventh child, Balram, the foetus mystically transferred from Devaki’s womb to Princess Rohini’s. When their eighth child, Krishna, was born, the entire palace went into slumber, and Vasudeva rescued the baby to Nand Baba and Yashodha’s house in Vrindavan.
After making the exchange, Vasudeva returned to the palace with a baby girl and handed her to Kansa. When the evil king tried to kill the baby, she transformed into Goddess Durga, warning him about his impending doom. In this way, Krishna grew up in Vrindavan and finally killed his uncle, Kansa.
Devotees mark this auspicious occasion by observing a fast and praying to Lord Krishna. People adorn their homes with flowers, diyas and lights. Temples are also beautifully decorated and lit.
The temples of Mathura and Vrindavan witness the most extravagant and colourful celebrations, as Lord Krishna is believed to have been born and spent his growing years there. Devotees also perform Raslila to recreate incidents from Krishna’s life and to commemorate his love for Radha. As Lord Krishna was born at midnight, an idol of an infant Krishna is bathed and placed in a cradle at that time.