Janmashtami is the celebration of Lord Sri Krishna's birthday. Janmashtami is celebrated every year on the eight day (ashtami) of the Shukla Paksha in the month of Bhadrapada.
In the year 2017, Janmashtami shall be celebrated on the 14th of August. Vishnava Janmashtami is celebrated on the 15th of August. The Janmashtami celebrated in the year 2017 is the 5244th birth anniversary of Lord Sri Krishna.
Janmashtami is one of the most important festivals for the devotees of Lord Sri Krishna and Lord Maha Vishnu. It is celebrated with great pomp and show all over India. People observe Janmashtami at homes by performing poojas and vrats. There are others who choose to spend the day at temples and places of worship.
Among the many places that dot the country, there are a few that are truly special. These places inspire intense devotion and love in the minds of the devotees.
The beauty and fervor of these places increase many fold when Janmashtami arrives. Today, we bring you a list of these places of worship that are dedicated to Lord Sri Krishna.
If you wish to go on a pilgrimage this Janmashtami, these are the places that need to be a part of your itinerary.
Mathura was the birth place of Lord Sri Krishna. He was born in a prison cell in the palace of the King Kamsa. Soon after the birth, Lord Sri Krishna was taken to Gokul by his father, Vasudev.
The whole city of Mathura was decked up in lights and decorated on the occasion of janmashtami. Jhankis and tableau that depict the scenes of Lord Sri Krishna's life are taken out on vehicles.
Jhulan Utsav or the festival of swings is another feature of the Janmashtami celebrations in Mathura.
The temples that you must visit in Mathura are Sri Bankey Bihari Temple, Dwarakadhish Temple, Sri Krishna Janma Bhoomi Temple and the famous ISKCON Temple.
The places that touched Lord Sri Krishna's life are also important pilgrimage spots. The Vishram Ghat, Mahaban and Potara Kund are some of these places that you may want to visit.
15 km from Mathura is the holy land of Vrindavan. Vrindavan is the site of Lord Sri Krishna's childhood and teenage leelas. The famous leela of Raas Krida happened in Vrindavan.
Visit the Govind Dev Temple, which is one of the oldest temples here. Nidhi Van is another temple that is dedicated to Lord Sri Krishna. It is believed that Nidhi Van still is the venue of raas leelas of Lord Sri Krishna who visits the temple with his beloved Radha and the other gopis.
Tulasi Van is another attraction of Vrindavan.
Gokul is the sacred area where Lord Sri Krishna spent most of his childhood days. It was in the forests which surround Gokul that the Lord Sri Krishna took his herds of cows to graze.
It is interesting to note that in Gokul, Janmashtami is celebrated only a day after the proper Janmashtami. This is because Lord Sri Krishna was brought to Gokul only after the midnight had passed.
The festivities of Janmashtami are unique too. The people of Gokul play with curd and turmeric and drench each other with it.
The important temples in Gokul are Radha Raman Temple and Radha Damodar Temple.
Dwaraka is the place where Lord Sri Krishna spent his adult life. The original island of Dwaraka was situated off the coast of Gujarat, but it is believed to have been submerged into the sea after the death of Lord Sri Krishna.
The modern Dwaraka is based on the coast of Kutch. The Dwarakadhish Temple is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for believers of the Lord.
Another temple in Dwaraka is the Rukmini Temple which is dedicated to Lord Sri Krishna's wife, Rukmini.
You must also visit Bet Dwaraka which is allegedly the site of Lord Sri Krishna's death.
Fairs, Raas and Garbha mark the occasion of Janmashtami. Bhajans and Satsangs are also seen on the days that precede Janmashtami. The celebrations often last the whole night and are an experience to cherish.
Puri is the place where the Jagganath Temple is situated. Here, Lord Jagannath or Lord Sri Krishna is said to reside with his siblings, Balarama and Subhadra.
Every year, the whole city of Puri swells up with excitement and spirituality. The Janmashtami celebrations start 17 days prior to the day of the Janmashtami.
Prayers and bhajans are held in the nights and these reach its zenith during the midnight. The stories from the childhood of Lord Sri Krishna and his brother Balarama are acted out by actors.
The theater starts with the birth of the Lord and an episode is enacted for the rest of the 17 days.
On the last day, which is Janmashtami, the people act out the story of Kamsa Vadha.
If you are looking for a pilgrimage spot in South India, Udupi is an important site that you must visit. The Sri Krishna Mutt of Udupi is a vast temple with the main temple in the center and 8 other monasteries surrounding it.
Janmashtami in Udupi has a touch of the regional influence. Plays that depict the stories of Lord Sri Krishna's childhood are staged on the streets of Udupi.
Clay idols of the Lord are also displayed by the performers. Dancing, singing and cultural shows are conducted late into the night of Janmashtami.
Yakshagana and flute recitals are some of the other attractions of the Janmashtami celebrations in Udupi.