at Braj Bhoomi
Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, where his parents lived
in captivity of the evil Kansa and he as a young boy came and vanquished
his maternal uncle Kansa to ascend the throne and free his parents,
celebrates Janmashtami with great enthusiasm. The main celebrations
are performed at the Dwarkadhish temple, Mathura in the form of
Jhulanotsava and the Ghatas during the entire month of Shravan.
The ghatas are a unique feature of the month long celebrations.
During the ghatas of a particular colour the whole temple is covered
with decoration in the same colour. Even the Lord dresses up in
the same colour. The twin cities of Mathura-Vrindavan takes on a
festive look and spirit of devotion runs high among the people.
It was on the banks of the Yamuna river where Lord Krishna played
during his childhood and indulged in pranks and tricks with his
friends and the gopies. There are about 400 temples dedicated to
Lord Krishna in this sacred city and the major festivities are held
at the Banke Bihari, Rangaji, Shri Krishna Balram temple and Gopinath
temple. The Raslila of Braj is thematically the basis of many performing
Lord Krishna was born in the DuaparYug which came
just before the Kal Yug and Janamasthami, his birthday falls on
the Ashtami Paksh or the 8th day of the new moon fortnight in the
month of Bhadra some time in July or August. The Jhankis ( tableaux)
depicting many significant scenes from Lord Krishna's life are the
intrinsic part of Janmasthami. Devotees also make beautiful Jhulans
(Cradles) for the baby Krishna. In some parts of India, young men
break the Matkas (Earthen Pots) filled with butter and curds. The
most important tableux is that of baby Krishna. A idol of baby Krishna
is placed on a cradle, which is rocked to recreate scenes from Krishna's
infancy. The devotees believe that anyone who makes a wish and while
rocking the cradle in which the Lord is, his or her wish will be
granted on this day. Other popular Jhankis are Kaaliya Mardan(vanquishing
the black snake Kali Nag), Kansha vadha ( Killing Kansha) and lifting
the Govardhan Parbhat.
In Brindavan, every year the Raasleelas or the
folk theatre acting out Krishnas Lifes stories begin much before
the Janmasthami day. These Raasleelas are staged by professional
drama troupes or even young children. These dramas characterised
by colourful costumes and equally colourful backgrounds. Raasleelas
are usually accompanied by musicians and are very popular among
the people. The language spoken by the actors and the actresses
is the Brajbhasha but sometimes Hindi is also used.