Weekend Trips from Delhi – Janmashtami Festival

by admin on August 6, 2012

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Janmashtami FestivalIt was a dark and stormy midnight, 5227 years ago; in the city of Mathura that Lord Krishna was born.  According to the Puranas, the city was ruled by good king Ugrasen. The King had a son called Kansa and a daughter called Devki. Kansa soon usurped the throne and jailed his father, and proclaimed himself King.

Kansa got his daughter married to one of his military officers called Vasudev. During the marriage ceremony, a heavenly voice foretold that Kansa would be killed by Devki’s 8th child. A furious and enraged Kansa was about to kill his sister; but Vasudev pleaded with Kansa to spare Devki. Kansa relented; on one condition that they would spend their lives in jail and hand over every child they bore, so that he could kill them.

Kansa managed to kill six children, before divine intervention took place. The 7th child, called Balram was trans-located to the womb of Vasudev’s other wife Rohini, making Kansa believe that Devki had a miscarriage.

More miracles followed when Devki conceived her 8th child, all guards fell asleep and gates opened on their own, Vasudev quickly wrapped little Lord Kirisha in a basket and transferred him across swollen river Yamuna while Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of a five headed serpent Sheshnag (which is why Krishna is believed to be the 8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu)   , to protect them from the churning waters of the River Yamuna which was in full spate.  Once on the side he handed over the child to his friend Nanda for safekeeping. He returned to his prison with a girl child. Kansa wanted the kill the little girl but she vanished into thin air as she was only a divine illusion called Yogamaya. Little Lord Krishna stayed in Nand’s house and became a cowherd, and as prophesized he managed to slay tyrannical King Kansa, and free the oppressed people of Mathura. He then freed his father, mother and King Ugrasen.
Later, Lord Krishna helped the Yadava chiefs get back their kingdom by gaining victory over the army of King Jarasandha of Magadha. He soon built the city of Dwarka and shifted all his relatives and friends to Dwarka. Krishna also killed a demon called Nakasura, and freed 16,000 princesses from the demon’s captivity and married all of them, as they had no place to return to.Shri Krishna Janmashtami

For many years, Lord Krishna stayed with the Pandavas and Kauravas of Hastinapur. He agreed to be the charioteer of the Pandava warrior Arjuna during the battle of Kurukshetra. Just prior to the war, he delivered a speech on Nishkam Karma which means performing an action without any attachment. This also finds mention in the Bhagavad Gita, the holy Hindu scripture.
Lord Krishna returned to Dwarka after the battle of Kurukshetra ended. His teachings have been propagated by his devotees all around the world.  As word spread about his momentous feats, he became a legendary figure associated to bringing independence and freedom to the people. In North India, according to tradition people believe that Lord Krishna was born on August 10 (according to calendar).

Some Indian states like Gujarat and Maharashtra celebrate Janamashtami by placing an earthen pot filled with milk curd and butter and hang it some 20 feet from the ground level; and many youth form a human pyramid to break the pot, the group that breaks it gets rewarded. Down in Tamil Nadu various kinds of sweets are made to offer Gokulnandan on this day. Murukku and Seeddai are prepared in Tamil Nadu. Eatables made of milk and curd is prepared to make offerings to Lord Krishna, amidst joyful chanting of the Lord’s name. In states like Kerala and Andhra Pradesh Janmashtami festival is celebrated on September 8.

In Manipur, play enactments called the ras lila are staged to commemorate the life of Lord Krishna in a dance like format.

Outside of India Janmashtami festival is celebrated vigorously in Nepal, Singapore, Malaysia and Montreal (Canada) which is why, Lord Krishna’s birthday is celebrated in different forms, not only in India, but in many different countries too. So why not visit Lord Krishna’s hometown of Mathura, and watch history unfold with your whole family. Check out options for weekend trips from Delhi and enjoy long weekend.

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