Krishna Janmashtami , Dahi handi

Janmashtami, a festival of Hindus, is celebrated to mark the birth of “Lord Krishna” on earth. Krishna or Kanha is believed to be the 8th Avatar of “Lord Vishnu”. Govinda or Balgopal is one of those gods in the Hindu mythology who is worshiped for his various roles and teachings (Bhagavad Gita). As per the Hindu Calendar, Lord Krishna was born on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Shravan Maas (Hindu Lunar Month) at midnight.
Lord Krishna or Govinda is worshiped in various forms and names (around 108) by his devotees. Some of the most common names are Balgopal, Govinda, Kanha, Krishna and many more. Lord Krishna is a teacher, philosopher, mentor, lover, and the supreme power for his devotees. His disciples hold a great faith in him.
Whenever we think of Lord Krishna, the photo which immediately comes to our mind is a God who is always with a flute (Bansuri) and a peacock feather on his head. Krishna is one of those gods whose Leelas (acts) are still worshiped across the country in various forms. His acts are named as ‘Rasleelas’.
Before we go ahead and celebrate Janmashtami, let’s read more about Lord Krishna and the real story behind the celebration of Krishna Janmashtami. This way we would be able to celebrate Janamashtami with full devotion and dedication.

The Legend Of Janmashtami
Kansa was the ruler of Mathura during Dwapara Yuga. He had a sister named Devaki who was married to Vasudeva. As the marriage solemnised, an Akashvani (a voice from sky) was heard that Devaki’s and Vasudev’s 8th son will mark an end to Kansa’s evil deeds and will save the people of Mathura. Listening to Akashvani, Kansa was terrified and wanted to kill Devaki. Vasudev begged for his wife's life and promised Kansa that he will handover all his newborn children to him. Kansa with no mercy imprisoned Devaki and Vasudeva.
Kansa killed their six new born sons. His seventh son was Balarama who was transferred to Vasudeva’s second wife’s womb and thus he was saved. At the time of the birth of 8th child, Lord Vishnu appeared and said that he would be taking birth as a child. Hence, Lord Vishnu took birth as Lord Krishna at the end of the “'Dwapara Yuga” and the starting of the current Yuga, 'Kali Yuga'. Thus, the birth of Lord Krishna is celebrated as Janmashtami. The birth of Govinda brings an end to all the evils which were existing at time of Dwapara Yuga.
Lord Vishnu asked Vasudeva to take the child (Balgopal) to his friend Nand’s house in Gokul. On the day of Ashtami at midnight, Lord Krishna was born in the prison of Kansa. By Lord Vishnu’s grace all the gates of prison got unlocked and the guards went off to sleep.
It is said that Vasudeva carried the divine baby through the river Yamuna on his head and through heavy rains. But as Lord Vishnu had assured that nothing shall block the path of Vasudeva, the very same thing happened. The river which was overflowing got subsided once the feet of Lord Krishna touched the river and the Naag (five mouthed snake) protected the child from rain.
Nand’s wife Yashoda, gave birth to a daughter. Vasudeva exchanged Lord Krishna with that girl child and came back to the prison. On the other hand, when the people of Gokul came to know about the birth of Nanda’s son they rejoiced in happiness.
Kansa came to know about the birth and tried to kill the baby. This time the baby transformed herself into the Goddess Yogamaya. She told Kansa that his death is near, as the child is already born.
Post this incident, Shri Krishna grew up in Gokul and he marked the end of the atrocities of Kansa. Since that day, we celebrate Janmashtami as the birth of Lord Krishna. Balgopal performed various Leelas in Gokul. The people residing in Gokul celebrate Janamashtami as Gokulashtami. 
Janmashtami or the Gokulashtami is among such festivals that are celebrated across the globe. Janmashtami is celebrated in various styles and forms. You can also celebrate this festival of Janmashtami by enjoying the Leelas of Kaanha.
Rituals In Krishna Janmashtami
Every festival has its own rituals and tradition. Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated with some rituals too. We all can look forward to the birth of divine baby on  Janmashtami.
  1. People observe a fast throughout the day till midnight when Balgopal is born, on the occasion of Krishna Janmashtami.
  2. People visit temples of Lord Krishna and offer him prayers, sweets, flowers, and milk.
  3. At midnight, traditional prayers are offered to Govinda by priest in temples.
  4. Baby cradles are installed in temples where Balgopal is placed in them, people offer their prayers to him and treat him as a newborn on Krishna Janmashtami.
  5. Jhankis across the temples are made, special prayers are sung and various other events in various parts of the country take place on the occasion of Janmashtami.
The world throughout celebrates the festival of Janmashtami with full dedication, devotion, and complete surrender to Lord Krishna. It is believed that whenever the evil and injustice will rise, Lord will take birth on earth in order to save humanity and bring justice the same way as Lord Krishna did by bringing an end to the atrocities caused by Kansa.
Janmashtami marks the birth of Lord Krishna, but it is important to remember Govinda’s teachings and follow the path of righteousness, truth, and justice.

Hindus celebrate Janmashtami by fasting and staying up until midnight, the time when Krishna is believed to have been born. Images of Krishna's infancy are placed in swings and cradles in temples and homes. At midnight, devotees gather around for devotional songs, dance and exchange gifts. Some temples also conduct readings of the Hindu religious scripture Bhagavad Gita.
Janmaashtami or Gokulashtami, popularly known in Mumbai and Pune as Dahi Handi, is celebrated as an event which involves making a human pyramid and breaking an earthen pot (handi) filled with buttermilk (dahi), which is tied at a convenient height. The topmost person tries to break the handi by hitting it with a blunt object. When the handi breaks, the buttermilk is spilled over the entire group. This event is based on the legend of the child-god Krishna stealing butter. A participant in this festival is called a Govinda or Govinda pathak.
Many such Govinda pathaks compete with each other, especially for the prize money. These groups are called mandals or handis and they go around the local areas, attempting to break as many pots as possible every August. The event, since the 2000s, has gathered a political flavour, and it is common for political parties and rich community groups to offer prizes amounting to lakhs of rupees. Local celebrities and Bollywood actors also participate. Some of the popular handis are at Dadar, Lower Parel, Worli, Mazgaon, Lalbaug, Thane in Mumbai and Babu Genu, Mandai in Pune. Cash and gifts are offered for Govinda troops to participate; for over 4,000 handis in Mumbai, 2,000 Govinda troops compete for the prizes.
The coastal state of Goa(see:Gomanta Kingdom) has been associated with the Yadavas.Known as Ahstam in Goa,celebrated with great zeal on family level as well as community levels,especially in the temples of Devaki Krishna(perhaps the only temple dedicated to Devaki in India) and Naroa,the ancient town of Kadambas.

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