Janmashtami is round the corner and in these rather gloomy days when we all are hoping for better times soon, some happy moments to look forward to for many of us. The celebrations may be muted this year but Lord Krishna would surely travel to town and be in our homes. And our heart. Lock-down or no lock-down.
Krishna is a major deity in Hinduism. He is worshiped as the eighth avatar of the god Vishnu and also as the supreme God in his own right. He is the god of compassion, tenderness, love and is one of the most widely revered among Indian divinities. Lord Krishna’s birthday is celebrated as Janmashtami. Also called Krishnashtami, this happy festival is enjoyed with great fanfare throughout India and many places overseas.
However there are some special destinations which have a very strong connection with Lord Krishna and it is here that the festival is celebrated in truly grand fashion. Each of these towns have beautiful temples dedicated to Sri Krishna.
On the eve of Janmashtami, these temples are beautifully lit and decorated. Interesting events such as Dahi Handi (Curd Pot) breaking competition, skits performed by children and elders along with Bhajans and dance make the occasion completely festive.
One very interesting aspect of Sri Krishna’s life was that his travel journeys started very early and in fact within a few days of his being born.
As per the legends, Lord Krishna was born after his parents Mata Devaki & Vasudeva were imprisoned in a prison of Mathura by his evil maternal uncle Kansa. His father managed to smuggle the newborn out of the prison as his life was under threat from his uncle Kansa and sent him to his friends Nand and Yashoda. Sri Krishna spent his early childhood with his foster parents in a town called Gokul.
Since Mathura in the state of Uttar Pradesh of India is the birthplace of Lord Krishna, the town grandly celebrates his birthday. Mathura is one of the Sapta Puri, seven cities which are considered holy in Hindu religion. Mostly referred to as Shri Krishna Janma-Bhoomi (birth place), the several temples of Lord Krishna in this holy town are flooded with people during Janmashtami, who can be seen in festive attires and jovial mood. Rasleela is one of the most performed activities in Mathura during the occasion, which depicts the story of Lord Krishna.
Krishna spent his early childhood in Gokul, 16 km away from Mathura and Nandgaon which is 51 km north east of Mathura. Gokul is popular as a religious site from the 16th century and flourished as the center of the Bhakti culture. It was here that Lord Krishna was nurtured and brought up under the guardianship of Nanda and Yashoda. Gokul and Nandgaon is where he grazed cows, played pranks and also slayed demons like Putana at a very early age.
In his adolescent years Krishna moved to Vrindavan, the twin city of Mathura. At a distance of 15 km from Mathura, Vrindavan is a major place of pilgrimage. It is noted for its numerous temples – both old and modern. The name Vrindavan evokes the playfulness and lovable characteristics of Shri Krishna. This is the place where he frolicked with the gopis (milkmaids) and tenderly wooed Radha.
A place where Krishna also spent considerable time was at Govardhana Hill, also called Mount Govardhana. It’s a 8 km long hill located in the area of Govardhan and Radha Kund, which is about 21 kilometres from Vrindavan. The legend goes that at Govardhan, Krishna raised a mighty mountain on his little finger to protect the locals from the wrath of rain-god Indra.
Another place also very close to Krishna’s heart was Barsana, which is the birthplace and home town of his favorite consort Radha, whom he never married. This is a village 45 km away from Mathura and surrounded with hills from four sides. As per the stories, Krishna spent some wonderful childhood moments in Barsana with Radha. There are temples in Barsana that are dedicated to Radha Krishna. It’s where the unique Holi festival ‘Latthamar Holi’ is celebrated with great gusto every year.
Moving on, the city which played a very important role in the life of Lord Krishna was Kurukshetra, located in the state of Haryana. Kurukshetra, named after King Kuru who was ancestor of Pandavas and Kauravas, is the place where the epic Mahabharata battle was fought. At this place only, Lord Krishna preached the entire Bhagawad Gita to Arjuna. The city is also known as Dharmkshetra and there are many sites in this city that depicts its connection with Lord Krishna.
The journey of Krishna continued as he moved to Dwarka, a popular city of the state of Gujarat. Mostly recognized with Dwarka Kingdom – kingdom of Lord Krishna, it is believed that the holy place was constructed in two days on the orders of Lord Krishna. He migrated from Mathura to Dwarka after defeating devil king Kansa. Lord Krishna spent a big part of his life at this place. The festival of Janmashtami is celebrated with great eagerness and dedication here.
Lord Krishna’s journey continues as we get geared up to welcome him home with folded hands, lights, music, festivities and celebrations galore.
Ajay Chandak, my friend and renowned painter whose paintings were featured in my post Travel through Art and which earned great appreciation from our readers worldwide, is someone who has traveled extensively in Krishna’s land. And created some masterpieces depicting the various moods of Krishna and Radha with his brush.
On the occasion of Janmashtami, we at ‘Travel with passion’ and ‘Ajay Chandak Art’ have a very special offer for you. “Lord Krishna Comes Home”, a selection of Radha-Krishna paintings for your home. Have a look and decide which ones would you love to bring home.
To place your order, shoot a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the Code and Name mentioned in the painting along with your name, mobile number and complete shipment address. The account details for payment would be mailed back to you and on receipt of the same your consignment would be shipped immediately.
20% of the proceeds from this ‘Art Sale’ would be donated to a charity organization dedicating its efforts towards the education of the underprivileged Girl Child.
Come let’s get going. To welcome Krishna home. On Janmashtami. And do what we can to help the underprivileged girl child get what she deserves. Education.
Lord Krishna’s journey and Radha-Krishna paintings. PIN it for later