Krishna Janmashtami ( Gokulashtami ) and Dahi Handi Festival in Mumbai

About Krishna Janmashtami or Gokulashtami Festival:

The myth connected to the birth of Lord Vishnu is as follows. Vasudeva was the chief of ‘Shooras’ and married Devaki one of the seven daughters of Devaka. They were very happy, for none had ever seen so fine a man and a wife matched in such perfect harmony.Janmashtami is celebrated to welcome and enjoy Lord Krishna’s birth. The birth of Lord Krishna took place when the various planets were in auspicious places. It is said that God chooses a particular time, as to when he will take birth as a human and the planetary systems are adjusted accordingly.Mathura, a prominent town of Northern India and the birth city of Sri Krishna was ruled by King Ugrasen, a Yaduvanshi ( Belonging to the Community of Yadavs). He was a great king loved by his subjects. He had two children, a son Kansa and a daughter Devki. Kansa was quite cruel by nature, his wickedness knew no bounds when he jailed his father and forcefully became the king of Mathura.People treat this day as one of very great rejoicing. There is recitation of the “Bhagavatam”, singing and praying everywhere. Temples are decorated for the occasion, Kirtans are sung, bells are rung, the conch is blown, and Sanskrit hymns are recited in praise of Lord Krishna. At Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, special spiritual gatherings are organised at this time. Pilgrims from all over India attend these festive gatherings.

Some Fact About this festival:

  • Celebration : The Birthday of the Lord Krishna
  • Religion : Hindu
  • In the month of : August-September

Krishna Janmashtami or Gokulashtami Festival Celebration In Mumbai:

Krishna Janmashtami is also known as Krishna Jayanthi, Gokulashtami, Ashtami Rohini, Sri Krishna Jayanthi or Sree Jayanthi in different parts of our country. Janmashtami festival is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm in all parts of India. With globalisation and Indians settling in various countries, it is celebrated in great zeal in other parts of the world too.Lord Krishna and his childhood friends may have had a great time breaking handis full of Milk, Butterand Ghee. But for our modern Govindas the day following Janmashtami is meant for practising their skills and earning some moolah. Festivity was in the air as group youngsters, commonly known as Govindas competed with each other to break the Dahi-Handis and bag the prize money. The birth of the eighth child of Devki, Lord Krishna was followed by a chain of dramatic events. Soon after the birth of the child, as if by a sheer miracle, all the soldiers guarding the couple fell asleep and the gates of the dungeon flew open themselves. Vasudev decided to smuggle the child safely in a basket to his friend Nand in Gokul. Since it was raining heavily, River Yamuna was all swollen and Vasudev feared that both he as well as his child will drown if he tried to cross it, however, as soon as the feet of the infant touched the river, the flow of water became normal and Vasudev was able to cross it easily. Sheshnag, the five headed serpent of Lord Vishnu protected the child with its fangs. The residents living in the nearby buildings and chawls made the task a little more challenging by throwing water and Gulal at the competitors. The accompanying slogans of “Govinda ala re ala ” which reverberated in the air even made passersby stop on their way and join the fun. India being a multi-cultural society, people celebrate Janmashtami in different ways. This festival witnesses interesting customs and rituals in various states and cities. In southern India, lot of snacks and savouries are prepared. Women decorate their homes with beautiful designs known as Rangoli. Footprints of children entering the house are drawn to symbolize God entering the house.

Dahi Handi Ceremony Celebrated on Krishna Janmashtami or Gokulashtami Festival in Mumbai:

This year some of the Handis were extra heavy with as much as Rs. 1 lakh, put in for the winners. According to an office-bearer of the co-ordination commitee one such handi in Thane was kept at a height of nearly 40′ but that did not deter the enthusiastic Govindas from trying out their luck. Other prestigious Handis which attracted many groups were at Dadar, Mazgaon and Lalbaug.Dahi Handi generally takes place on the second day of Janmashtami.Dahi Handi is celebrated with fervor, especially in the twin cities of Mathura – Vrindavan, Dwarka and Mumbai. Young men in Mumbai yell ‘Ala re ala, Govinda ala’ during the ceremony. An earthen pot containing a mixture of milk, dry fruits, ghee is hung around 20-30 feet high in the air with the help of a rope. Silver coins are hung along with the rope,which are later distributed as prize to the winners. Enthusiastic young men, form a human pyramid by standing one on top of the other, trying to break the pot. Onlookers throw water on the young men in order to prevent them from breaking the pot. Breaking of the pot is followed by prize distribution. Devotees believe that the broken pieces of earthen pot will keep away mice and negative powers from their homes.Another attraction was a group of girls in Dadar, who went around breaking the Handis. Most of these female team members are kabbaddi players. With prizes as high as Rs 31 lakh at some places, the youngsters, including some all-women troupes, wounded their way to the ‘handis’ in Mumbai and adjoining Thane.People chant hymns, shlokas and mantras to seek the lord’s blessings. Bhagavadgita, Bhaagavatham, Vishnu Sahasranamam are recited and 108 names of the Lord are chanted in homes and various temples. Another popular ritual is singing and dancing in praise of the Lord.Here is the some pictures of Dahi Handi Festival Celebration in Mumbai.

Pictures of Dahi Handi Festival Celebration in Mumbai: