Thursday, August 29, 2013

Grand Abhisheka at Janmabhoomi

Grand Abhisheka at Janmabhoomi on Krishna Janmashtami 

On Krishna Janmashtami, grand Abhisheka was performed at Bhagwat Bhawan of Krishna Janmabhoomi Mathura. The milk, curd, Ghee, Boora (the crusted sugar), honey and the water from the Ganga and the Yamuna were used for Abhisheka. Later the Panchamrit, formed due to Abhisheka, was distributed to devotees. 

Being the birth place of Lord Krishna, it is the most significant place to watch the birth rituals of Lord Krishna. On the eve of Janmashtami 1008 Brahma Kamal (lotus flowers) were brought from Himalaya and were offered to Lord Krishna. 

It was the 5240th birth celebration of Lord Krishna. For details on the time of birth of Lord Krishna please visit Birth Time of Lord Krishna.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Nandotsav after Janmashtami

Nandotsav on the next day of Krishna Janmashtami 

Nandotsav which is also known as Nanda Mahotsav is celebrated on the next day of Krishna Janmashtami. Nandotsav is celebrated in most of the Krishna temples in Mathura and Vrindavan. In 2013, the date of Nandotsav is August 29. 

The word Nandotsav is formed after joining of Nanda and Mahotsav. Nanda refers to foster father of Lord Krishna and Mahotsav refers to celebrations. Hence the event refers to celebrations held at Nandgaon to mark the arrival of Lord Krishna. 

Nandotsav is also referred as Dadhi-Kando (दधिकांदौ). Dadhi-Kando is a mixture of curd and milk which is colored with Haldi, Chandan and Kesar known as turmeric, sandal and saffron respectively. In Dadhi-Kando, Dadhi refers to the curd and Kando refers to the sludge. 

Dadhi Kando is thrown on devotees during Nandotsav celebrations. Devotees who are sprinkled or smeared by Dadhi Kando are considered lucky as it is believed to be “Lala ki Chhee Chee” i.e. potty of new born Krishna

Dahi Handi is another popular event which is organized on the same day of Nandotsav. 

Janmashtami at Janmabhoomi

Janmashtami celebrations at the birth place of Lord Krishna 
Although Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated throughout India but celebrations at Mathura and Vrindavan are the most significant one. Mathura city attracts maximum number of devotees and tourists during the time of Janmashtami. The center of attraction and devotion is the birth place of Lord Krishna which is famously known as Janmabhoomi temple. This place gets its significance for being the exact place of the birth of Lord Krishna about five thousand years before

At Janmabhoomi temple, the celebrations begin five days before of Janmashtami and continue even after that. Various plays which are famously known as Krishna Leela(s) are organized during these five days which are watched by thousands of visitors and devotees. 

Lavishly decorated Keshava Dev Mandir at Janmabhoomi - 2013

Although couple of temples are built within Janmabhoomi compound, but the most famous temple which is also the tallest one is known as Keshava Dev Temple. Keshava Dev Temple is lavishly decorated with colored lights ahead of Janmashtami. The decorated shrine of Keshava Dev is equally admired by tourists as well as local devotees. 

It is Bhagwat Bhawan of Keshava Dev Mandir where the birth of Lord Krishna is replayed every year. The Janmashtami celebrations reach its peak during midnight when the birth of Lord Krishna is re-played. The deity of Lord Krishna is given grand Abhisheka and Panchamrita thus formed is distributed to devotees along with Prasad. 

The maximum security is provided to Krishna Janmabhoomi at the time of Janmashtami celebrations. Special arrangements are made to control the mass of devotees.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Lord Krishna as Makhan Chor

Lord Krishna as Makhan Chor 
Makhan Chor is another famous name of Lord Krishna. In Braj region, including Mathura and Vrindavan, it is as famous as Laddu Gopal. Both Makhan Chor and Laddu Gopal represent toddler form of Lord Krishna when as an infant He started crawling on both legs. Bal Gopal, another common name to refer infant Lord Krishna, can mean either Makhan Chor or Laddu Gopal.

Krishna devotee admiring Makhan Chor

While Laddu Gopal representation is widely used for worshipping Lord Krishna, Makhan Chor representation is used for admiration, for decorating personal spaces and as a gift to loved ones. Usually, Makhan Chor representation of Lord Krishna shows Him with a tilted Handi full of Makkhan.  In this form Lord Krishna is shown as devouring kid, spilling and dribbling Makhan all over the place. Handi is nothing but earthen pot and Makkhan is home-made butter.

In another representation of Makhan Chor, a slightly grown up Krishna is shown with His troop, forming human pyramid to steal the butter from the Handi which is hanging from the ceiling. However this representation of Makhan Chor is mostly seen in art work on canvas.

The statues of Lords Krishna in the form of Makhan Chor are in high demand during Krishna Janmashtami.

Read Lord Krishna as Laddu Gopal

Lord Krishna as Laddu Gopal

Laddu Gopal – Lord Krishna as Toddler 
The toddler form of Lord Krishna is famously known as Laddu Gopal. Krishna in the form of Laddu Gopal is worshipped at most of the homes in Braj region, including Mathura and Vrindavan.

In Braj, the brass statues of Laddu Gopal are manufactured and it is the most sought form of Lord Krishna. Devotees of Lord Krishna prefer Laddu Gopal over other forms of Lord Krishna and establish it in their home temple after Pran Pratishtha (प्राण प्रतिष्ठा). In this form of Laddu Gopal, baby Krishna holds Laddu(s) in both hands while crawling on the floor. While crawling posture of Lord Krishna is the most famous representation of Laddu Gopal, however one can also find Krishna dancing on one leg in some of the representations of Laddu Gopal.

During Janmashtami celebrations, Laddu Gopal is the most wanted form of Lord Krishna. Devotees use Laddu Gopal while re-replaying the birth scene of Lord Krishna during midnight celebrations of Janmashtami. The birth of Lord Krishna is re-played every year not only in Krishna temples but also in most of the homes in Mathura and Vrindavan.

Laddu Gopal dancing on one leg

Devotees give ceremonial bath to Laddu Gopal after midnight. The milk, honey, sugar, Ghee and butter are used for bath and Abhishekam of Laddu Gopal. The mixture of these ingredients when combined is known as Panchamrita and offered as Prasad. Panchamrita is also called Charnamrita as it comes out after touching the divine feet of Lord Krishna. Few devotees who break the fast after midnight take Charnamrita before breaking the fast.

After ceremonial bath, Laddu Gopal is dressed up with new clothes and is given exquisite Shringar. The must Shringar items include flute, Teeka, hand and leg bangles, ear-rings and crown with bird feathers including Morpankhi (मोरपँखी). After bath and Shringar Laddu Gopal is placed in a swing and offered lots of delicacies, including Laddu(s), prepared for the occasion. Basil leaves which please Lord Krishna are added to these delicacies. Later these delicacies are consumed and distributed as Bhog to others.

At most homes, it is traditional to buy new clothes and Shringar of Laddu Gopal just before Janmashtami.

Read Lord Krishna as Makhan Chor

Monday, August 26, 2013

Prasad preparation at Janmabhoomi

Prasad preparation at Krishna Janmabhoomi 
Gala Prasad preparation at Janmabhoomi temple, Mathura which is the birth place of Lord Krishna, has started 5 days before of Krishna Janmashtami.

It is customary to offer Bhog to all devotees who visit the temple on Janmashtami day. Due to expected increase in number of devotees who would visit the temple the amount of Prasad has been doubled compared to that of last year. The distribution of Prasad would start at 8 a.m. and continue till late night on Janmashtami day which would be observed on August 28. The Janmashtami celebrations would start from morning and would continue beyond midnight.

Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi - The most significant temple for Janmashtami celebrations

About one Lakh Laddu(s) would be offered to Lord Krishna as Prasad which would weigh about five thousand kilograms. Along with Laddu(s), eleven hundred liters of Panchamrita (पञ्चामृत) would be prepared and distributed along with Prasad. Panchamrita which is also known as Charnamrit is a mixture of five food items namely honey, Ghee, yogurt, milk and sugar. Often Basil leaves and dry fruits are also added to it.

Such a huge preparation of Prasad needs cow milk in great quantity which is arranged with the help of Veterinary University Mathura, Janmabhoomi trust Goshala and Gokul-Mahavan Goshalas.

Devotees throng the temple from far-flung places throughout the day and feel blessed by getting Prasad and Panchamrita. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Rakhi on August 20 or August 21?

As per religious books, the best time to tie Rakhi on Raksha Bandhan is during Aparahan which is late afternoon according to Hindu division of the day. If Aparahan time is not available then Pradosh time is also suitable to perform rituals related to Raksha Bandhan. Pradosh starts after sunset and lasts for 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Raksha Bandhan rituals should not be done during Bhadra. Bhadra is malicious time which should be avoided for all auspicious work. Most Hindu religious texts, including Vratraj, advise to avoid Bhadra time to tie Rakhi during Raksha Bandhan festival.

In 2013, on August 20, Bhadra is getting over at 20:48 which is about 20-30 minutes before Pradosh is getting over. Hence most cities in India have Pradosh Muhurta as per religious books on August 20. Hence the team of Drik Panchang has preferred August 20 over August 21 to observe Raksha Bandhan.

However, those who would observe Raksha Bandhan on August 21, it should be noted that Purnima is getting over early morning at 07:15 a.m. Hence those who are not able to tie Rakhi on previous day can do it after Sunrise on August 21 but before 07:15 a.m.

Tying Rakhi after 07:15 a.m. on August 21, would be as good as tying it on any day in the year as Rakhi significance is due to Shravana Purnima. Rakhi should be tied during Purnima when Bhadra is over.

However Pradosh Muhurta on August 20, although available for just 20-30 minutes, is as per religious book Dharmashindhu and should be preferred. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Swarna Hindola at Banke Bihari

Swarna Hindola at Banke Bihari on Hariyali Teej
Bihari Ji temple at Vrindavan arranges special Darshan of Lord Krishna on Hariyali Teej. In Bihari Ji temple Hariyali Teej was celebrated on August 9th. On Hariyali Teej Lord Krishna is mounted on golden swing. Golden Swing, which is popularly known as Swarna Hindola, is taken out once in a year during the month of Sawan.

Swarna Hindola at Banke Bihari on Hariyali Teej

Devotees throng to temple on Hariyali Teej to get a glimpse of Banke Bihari on golden swing. Banke Bihari is one of the names of Lord Krishna. Banke means bent at three places and Bihari means supreme enjoyer. In the form of Banke Bihari, Lord Krishna stands in Tribhangi Mudra. Tribhangi Mudra is the most popular pose of Lord Krishna in which He stands with one leg bent in front of the other and raises a flute to His lip in a relaxed pose.

Swarna Hindola Darshan at Dwarkadheesh temple in Mathura is also popular and is arranged on the first day of Sawan. Apart from Swarna Hindola, Phul Hindola Darshan is also quite popular among devotees.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hariyali Teej on August 9 or 10?

Hariyali Teej on August 9 or August 10? 

The short answer would be that it depends on the sunrise timings for the city.

It is rare phenomenon that any festival is getting celebrated on two different days within Indian cities. This year Hariyali Teej has fallen on two days depending on the sunrise time for the city.

E.g. on, for Bangalore location Hariyali Teej has been calculated on 9th August, however the same rules give Hariyali Teej on 10th August for Delhi and most North Indian cities. 

As per religious books all festivals which are dedicated to Goddess Parvati should be observed on Udaya Vyapini  Tritiya Tithi i.e.  when Tritiya Tithi is prevailing at Sunrise. For most North Indian cities on 9th August, it is Dwitiya Tithi which is prevailing at Sunrise hence the better day to observe Hariyali Teej should be on 10th August. 

To know if you should celebrate Hariyali Teej on August 9 or August 10, please visit Hariyali Teej in 2013 and set your city.