This is one of the most famous religious festivals of India and people throughout this country celebrate this festival with gaiety and pomp. Janmashtami is the day in which Lord Krishna, who is yet another incarnation of Lord Vishnu took birth to save the world and mankind from the clutches of evil. This festival is even more popular in Vrindavan and Mathura.
The Janmashtami puja celebration is a two days festival in which the first day is observed as the Krishnashtami and the next day as Gokulashtami. According to Hindu mythology, lord Krishna was born at midnight and at that time there were very rain and thunderstorms. For this reason the Janmashtami Puja is mostly carried out mainly at night.
The midnight puja of Janmashtami is said to the essence of this very religious festival. For this people observe fast for an entire day and they are allowed to eat only if they have finished the midnight puja ceremony. This very midnight puja consists of the items that are needed for this purpose. Apart from this puja aarti and pooja thali are also needed. After that an idol of Lord Krishna is placed on to the puja sthan. And then conches are blown so as to invoke all the divine powers of the universe. This marks the beginning of the midnight Janmashtami puja.
At this moment all the temples in Dwarka filled with the sounds of bells and the echoes of ‘Hare Krishna,’ ‘Girdhar Gopal’ and ‘Jai Jai Krishna.’ Flowers and bhog (Food) is offered to Lord Krishna along with panchamrit. At the end the priests of the temples performs the aarti and the devotees sing devotional songs.
The entire Janmashtami puja is a long process and is discussed below:
1. At first, according to the schedule, Mangla Arti is done and that that time milk and Butter is offered to lord Krishna.
This arti is performed at seven o’clock in the morning. It is believed that the day of most of the Vaishnava’s starts by seeing this very Mangla Arti.
2. After the Mangla Arti, it is followed by Abhishek Snan or the holy bath. Lord Krishna is sometimes referred as Abhishek and this very takes place inside the shrine. This ceremony generally takes place from eight to ten o’clock in the morning. It is the only day that the devotees can get a chance to have a look at the abhishek snan.
3. The next part is Shringar in which the priests of the temple adorn the lord with clothes and ornaments. At first, archana is done with petals of chandan and tulsi.
4. After the completion of shringar, the curtains are removed thereby allowing the devotees to pay their tribute to lord Krishna. Then the time comes for Shringar Bhog and at this time the devotees are strictly prohibited from the Darshan of lord Krishna.
5. After the shringar bhog it is time for the commencement of the Shringar Arti. This ceremony takes place at eleven o’clock in the morning. At this time the golden stick is kept at the shrine’s door and the picture of shree garudjee is kept in front of Lord Krishna.
6. Soon after the shringar bhog, it is time for the commencement of Madhyahan Bhog. Here sweets and milk products like Makhan is offered to Lord Krishna. Devotees can have a view of lord Krishna after this since the shrine is kept open for sometime.
7. Rajbhog is the main bhog that is offered to Lord Krishna. It mainly consists of dal, puri, rice, chapattis and vegetables. For this reason the bhog is mainly referred to as Rajbhog.
8. After the Rajbhog, it is time for Anosar, which means that lord Krishna after having his main bhog would be taking rest for sometime. This ceremony takes place at one o’clock in the afternoon. At this time the curtains are kept down for time which again means that devotees are not allowed to have darshan for sometime.
9. The next part of this ceremony is Utthapan and this begins at five o’clock in the evening. At this time the doors of the shrine are reopened for the devotees to have darshan of lord Krishna. At this time the priests of the temples offer sandalwood paste and perfume to lord Krishna. Apart from this they also offer Mevabhog that includes dry fruits and seasonal fruits.
10. The completion of Utthapan marks the commencement of Shyanbhog and at this time darshan to lord Krishna is once again prohibited. After the bhog Shyan arti is performed at nine o’clock. After the arti the clothes and ornaments of lord Krishna are removed by the priests of the temple and at 9:30 in the evening Dwarkadhish goes to bed.
Janmashtami is a sacred festival of India. It is the day that lord Vishnu stepped on to this world in the form of Lord Krishna so as to put an end of the demons. And because of this today the world is now free from evils.