Janmashtami is celebrated throughout the country with immense zeal and fervor in order to commemorate the birth of Lord Krishna. The celebration of Janmashtami is at its apex at the birth place of Lord Krishna i.e in Mathura. The city is about 145 kms from the national capital of India, New Delhi. It is said that it was one of the midnights of a Sharvan day, when Lord Krishna was born in the Rohini Nakshatra as the savior of humanity. Historians depict that this incident happened five thousand years back in the prison of the Demon King Kansa in Mathura. However, the holy land of Mathura still commemorates this pious and fortunate incident by grand celebration on this occasion.
The grand celebration at Mathura takes place at the actual birth place of Lord Krishna, which has now been rechristened into a grand temple known as Krishna Janma Bhoomi Mandir. Inside this temple, the statue of Lord's idol is placed in a room also known as the ‘Garbha Griha’. Here in Mathura, people celebrate all the Janmasthami celebrations at this temple. They religiously decorate the temple and their home in order to welcome their deity.
The celebration goes on for two days, in which they celebrate their first day by keeping day-long fast and celebrations and feast at midnight after the birth time of Bhagwan Krishna. The second day is also the day of celebratiosn and feasting. The entire city of Mathura is immersed in the devotion of Lord Krishna by singing, dancing and chanting in the names of Lord Krishna. It is expected that every year about 8 lakhs devotees turn up in Mathura on this occasion and the number is increasing day by day.
Krishna-Janmotsava (Midnight celebrations)
The midnight celebration is the celebration of the birth of Lord Krishna. It comprises of Pooja and other rituals. During the Pooja, the idol of Lord Krishna is bathed with milk and curd (panchamrit) and then rocked in the cradle. It is said that if you make any holy wish while cradling Lord Krishna with full heart, it is certain to be fulfilled. The entire Mathura city of Mathura gets immersed in the devotion of Krishna and the echoes of Krishna bhajan and bells. Lord is here fed with prasad of ‘Chhapan Bhog’ (Fifty six dishes). Later the devotees break their fast with these ‘bhog’ and panchamrit.
Performance of Rasleelas
The entire city of Mathura is then flooded with performance of the Rasleelas of Krishna by professional and amateur artists. Some of them are so mesmerizing that the devotees get overwhelmed with their devotion for Lord Krishna.
A Jhanki is a series of scenes depicting the various phases of one’s life. In a Krishna Jhanki, the different stages of the life of Lord Krishna are shown all over the Mathura. They include interesting incidents like - Janmlila, Shankarlila, Putanalila and Naglila.
It is only in the Mathura City that during Jhulanotsav, the swings are hanged in courtyard of temples and all the houses to welcome baby Lord Krishna. The swings are decorated with beautiful flowers and bells to give a festive look.
The celebration of Sri Krishna's birth in Mathura is incomplete without Ghatas. It is a month-long exclusive feature, wherein all the temples of Mathura are adorned with the same color as per the selected theme. Even the idol of Lord Krishna is decorated with the same color.