Janmashtami is the birthday of Lord Krishna, the re-incarnation of Lord Vishnu who gave us the vital message of the Bhagwat Gita – the guiding principles for every Hindu. This religious festival is celebrated all over India in the month of August/September on the ashtami of Krishna Paksh or the eighth day in the month of Bhadon according to the Hindu calendar with great devotion and zeal. Janmashtami is also known as Gokulashtami, Krishnasthami, Srijayanti.
On this auspicious occasion, temples and homes are beautifully decorated and illuminated. Night long prayers are offered and religious hymns are sung in temples. The priests chant holy mantras and bath the idol with Panchamrit which comprises of Gangajal (water from the holy Ganges River), milk, ghee (clarified butter), curd, and honey pouring all these from a conch shell. After this bath the idol of the infant Krishna (also known as Balmukund) is placed in a cradle. Devotional songs and dances mark the celebration of this festive occasion all over Northern India.
The temples especially in Vrindavan witness an extravagant and colourful celebration on this occasion. Raslila is performed to recreate incidents from the life of Krishna and to commemorate his love for Radha. The Janmashtami of Mathura and Vrindavan, the places where Lord Krishna had spent his childhood, are famous all over the world. Devotees from across the world come to these pious places to celebrate Janmasthami.