New Delhi: ‘Hare Krishna Hare Rama’ reverberated across the country on Thursday as millions celebrated Janmashtami, the birth festival of Lord Krishna, with gaiety and devotional fervour.
Thousands of people gathered on streets of Maharashtra to enact the Dahi Handi episode from Lord Krishna’s childhood. 14 ‘govindas’ were injured as some ‘mandals’ in the state allegedly flouted the 20-foot ceiling for human pyramids mandated by the Supreme Court.
In north India, songs and dance marked the celebrations. At night, the statue of Lord Krishna was bathed and placed in the cradle amid blowing of conch shells and beating of drums. People sang ‘bhajans’ throughout the night and worshippers offered prayers since early morning in adorned temples and took out colourful processions.
In the deity’s birth place of Mathura and Vrindavan, lakhs of pilgrims paid obeisance in the main temples and performed circumambulation of hillock Goverdhan. The temples of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) too attracted large congregations. Tight security arrangements were made for the festival and additional security personnel were deployed in sensitive places.
Devotees flocked the Iskcon temple in New Delhi, where the celebrations began with an aarti early in the morning. The Lakshmi Narayan temple, also known as Birla Mandir, and the Gouri Shankar temple in old Delhi were specially adorned for the occasion. Children dressed in colourful attires as Krishna and Radha, while some people celebrated the day by flying kites on their rooftops in Jammu. Special shoba yatras were held to mark the occasion.
In Rajasthan, hundreds of devotees gathered at the famous Govind Devji temple in Jaipur. Shri Sandhooran Devi Mandir, an all-women temple in Punjab’s Phagwara district, opened its door to male devotees on the occasion. Men’s entry is restricted into the temple throughout the year but allowed only on Janamashtami. In Tamil Nadu, houses were decorated with Lord Krishna’s portraits and the deity were offered delicacies such as ‘seedai’, made of milk, ghee and butter.