Krishna Janmasthami Festival – An Unique Birthday Celebration

Krishna Janmasthami Festival

Krishna Janmasthami Festival

Every year the entire nation of India erupts in waves of joy, love and color for Krishna Janmasthami Festival. The occasion is the celebration of the Birth anniversary of a unique being, a being known simply as Krishna. Krishna is one of the most popular Hindu deities who is said to have been born more than 5000 years ago and is credited to be an Avatar of God. Hindu mythology is replete with delightful stories of the antics of Krishna as a baby. Krishna’s lips are also the fount from which sprang the 700 verses of the Bhagvad Gita which is the cornerstone of Hindu philosophy.

Let us take a festival tour of some of the places in India where the birth anniversary of Krishna or Krishna Janmasthami festival is celebrated with traditional pomp and gaiety.


We start our journey with Mathura which lies about 90 miles to the south-east of Delhi and just about 31 miles from Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal. Mathura is a city situated on the banks of the river Yamuna and this is the place where Krishna was born, many, many years ago.

Krishna Janmasthami Festival

The Krishna Janmasthami Festival in Mathura actually start almost a month before the actual birth day of Krishna. Prayers and ritual worship begin in the temples as well as peoples’ houses with great devotion. Courtyards are decorated with colorful Rangoli and small cradles are placed with small images of the infant Krishna in it. 

Krishna Janmasthami Festival

All this as a welcome to the impending birth of Krishna. Another unique aspect of the festivities here is what is known as Ghatas. All the temples as well as the clothes of the idols of Krishna are decorated in the same color scheme and this is adhered to for the entire month. Rasleela or traditional dance which Krishna himself is supposed to have performed is performed by groups of boys and girls dressed in colorful and traditional attire, throughout the city.

The festivities reach their climax at midnight on the eve of the festival day, as Krishna is supposed to have been born at the stroke of the midnight hour. The idol of the infant Krishna is bathed in milk and then bedecked with colorful clothes and jewels and then put into a cradle, which is then rocked. This symbolizes the birth of Krishna. Prayers are offered along with 56 varieties of food delicacies.


Krishna Janmasthami Festival

This food is then distributed to the devotees who break their fast by partaking of these holy offerings.


Krishna Janmasthami Festival

Vrindavan which lies just about 11 kilometres from Mathura is another historical city associated with Krishna. This is the place where Krishna spent his early years with his foster parents. A temple built in the year 1590 is the oldest surviving temple here. Vrindavan is the place which was witness to the fabled and divine love of Krishna and Radha and also the place where Krishna played Rasleela with Radha and other Gopis.


Krishna Janmasthami Festival

During the Krishna Janmasthami celebrations, Vrindavan is submerged under waves and waves of Krishna consciousness. Plays on the lives of Radha and Krishna are enacted at various places in the city. Vrindavan dances to the mellifluous tunes from Krishna’s flute as the youth gyrate rhythmically performing Rasleela.


Krishna Janmasthami Festival


From Vrindavan we move on to Dwarka, situated on the western coast of India, another important place on the Krishna Circuit. Dwarka is the Kingdom that Krishna established and ruled till it was submerged under the waters of the sea. The city is said to have been made up of palaces of crystal and gold and embellished with emeralds and other precious stones in the ancient times before it bowed down to the wrath of the sea.

Dwarka temple

Celebrations of Krishna Janmasthami Festival in Dwarka include ritual worship to the idol of Krishna in the more than 2,000 year old temple. The idol is brightly decorated and adorned with jewelry and other precious stones and prayers are offered by the devotees. A fair is also held here to mark the occasion. Thousands of people throng Dwarka to participate in the celebrations.


Our journey on the Krishna trail now takes us to the bustling western metropolis of India, Mumbai.

Here too the birth anniversary of the beloved God of the Hindus is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm. However the unique and very interesting aspect of the celebrations is what is known as the Dahi Handi.

Dahi Handi has a very interesting reason behind it. Krishna as a kid was very mischievous and had a weakness for the rich butter, curds and other milk derivatives which his parents and other villagers prepared. To ensure that these were not reachable by Krishna and his friends, the grown ups stored them in earthen pots which were then hung high up on the roofs. However Krishna and his friends used to form human pyramids and reach the earthen pots and feast to their heart’s content, after breaking the pots.

This act of the innocent child Krishna is enacted symbolically across thousands of streets and alleys of Mumbai. An earthen pot filled with curd is tied at a challenging height and a human pyramid is formed to break the pot.

Krishna Janmasthami Festival

Krishna Janmasthami Festival

Krishna Janmasthami festival is indeed one of the numerous vibrant festivals that fill the soul of India with joy and color. Some of the other Indian festivals are Holi, Dussehra, Diwali, Uttarayan or Kite festival.
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Krishna Janmasthami Festival

Krishna Janmasthami Festival


Image Credits: Featured image – indianfestivalhub, Flute with peacock feather –, Krishna in cradle – Craftsvilla, Chappanbhog, Vrindavan –, Dahi handi – and


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51 thoughts on “Krishna Janmasthami Festival – An Unique Birthday Celebration

  1. Nina Reply

    As for someone who has not yet been to India yet every post about India makes me realising I will have to take a serious research on the cultural and historical and religious background to understand the country and its customs and festivals.

  2. Gina Reply

    I like the way they celebrate Krishna in Mumbai! They make a human pyramid to get the cake! I admit I don’t know much about Hindu mythology but I was very interested in it from the beginning. I feel like India is so full of color and I like seeing photos of the deities.

  3. verushka Reply

    Thank you for sharing and creating awareness of this Indian celebration. We dont celebrate with so much grandeur here in South Africa.

  4. Claire Reply

    Wow, so many different ways of celebrating that I haven’t seen before! Except the human towers – they have them in Catalunya too, I thought they were unique to Catalunya but obviously not!

  5. Maria Reply

    I love learning about different cultures and traditions. Thank you for sharing this story about the festival to honor Krishna!

  6. Cory Lee Reply

    This festival looks incredible! Sadly, I haven’t been to India yet, but it keeps growing higher and higher up my list. 🙂

  7. Lisa (Klipdrifters) Reply

    Wow this festival sounds like a real treat, so much colour and joy! Interesting post and great pictures – especially the human pyramid. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Naomi Reply

    This looks like such a colourful and festive celebration. I’m not sure what the saying is but Happy Krishna Janmasthami !!?

  9. Shay Reply

    Culturally this is pretty amazing and informative. But religion wise to be honest I don’t care for it. No offense but not cuz I’m supposed Muslim but I just don’t believe in religion anymore. Then again Hinduism is more than a religion I guess right? Feel world would be better without religion. Just my thoughts lately.

  10. Hridya Reply

    We celebrated this festival yesterday as well.. Krishna is one of our favourite Gods. Being from the South, Kerala to be specific, we worship Krishna in the form of Lord Guruvayurappan. This was a good read…

  11. Adonis Villanueva Reply

    Colorful photos and illustrations. India’s at the bottom of my list of places to visit but you just bumped it up a notch 🙂 Very interesting festival and one I’ll probably check out some day.

  12. Tara Reply

    Partaking in local festivals is such a great way to explore other cultures. The Krishna Janmasthami Festival sounds really interesting.

  13. Koen Reply

    The color in the images, the great way you describe the journey in India, makes me feel I’m so much missing out if I don’t follow in your footsteps one day. Great pictures!

  14. Kevin Wagar Reply

    This looks like an incredible festival! I loved the colours in your photos and the celebrations in the streets. As always, your passion really comes through in your writing.

  15. Travel Lexx Reply

    So many colourful festivals in India – I would love to be a part of one some day. Thanks for sharing and fantastic photos as always!

  16. Christine K Reply

    My goodness, this is a very stunning article. I have heard of Krishna and was very interested in the story behind the festival. Loved the colorful photographs and enjoyed reading the post.

  17. Lara Dunning Reply

    This sounds like a really interesting festival to be a part of, and so meaningful to India, which is part of the travel experience.

  18. melody pittman Reply

    This looks like a fabulous celebration. We had a huge Krishna complex in West Virginia called Palace of Gold. You will have to check it out if you are in the US. 😉

  19. D of Love C and D Reply

    Great post! Its really interesting to hear the different ways that the same festival is celebrated in different ways. Your descriptions really bring it life and make it sound like such a fun and colourful celebration. The human pyramid to reach the pot of curds looks amazing!

  20. Chris Reply

    I imagine events like this would be a real site to behold (even further than the usual wonders that India seems to provide)!

    Thanks for sharing yet another colourful piece.

    I’m especially interested to see how the kite festival compares to some of those we witnessed in Central America!

  21. Barry Reply

    Great post. I haven’t visited India yet but is been on my list for a while. Would love to check out some festivals during my trip there.

  22. Vicky and Buddy Reply

    I didn’t know about this festival, it looks like it’s a lot of fun! I love that the temples are all decorated in the same color scheme. It must be so beautiful to see in person.

  23. Chelsea Reply

    I don’t know much about Hinduism, but I have heard about Krishna! It’s really interesting that one deity has such a wide reach across a country and how they all celebrate that one deity in such widely different ways. Dwarka seems like a really exciting place to be during the festival. Great post!

  24. Tracie Howe Reply

    If I were to pick one place to see a festival like this, it would be in India! I hate crowds and generally avoid big celebrations because of that, but the sights and the colors and the traditions of an Indian festival would be worth it! This looks like so much fun!

  25. Rob Taylor Reply

    The devotion of the Indian people really is incredible. I love seeing how the festival plays out across so many places. Thank you again for giving a little more insight into your incredible country. I cannot wait to explore it someday soon!

  26. Mary - A Mary Road Reply

    Wow, this seems like a huge festival in India. I haven’t really heard about it, but also because I haven’t been in India myself. I’m looking forward t be there!

  27. runawaybrit Reply

    I have just returned from two years living in Mumbai and the festivals are what I will miss most about India. There is always so much excitement around festivals and the food is out of this world. This is a really great write-up 🙂

  28. Candy Reply

    Such an informative post about this festival. It really does look so colorful and beautiful. That plate of food (holy offerings) looks amazing!

  29. Anne Reply

    I’ve learned a bit about the Hindu gods through my yoga studies but it’s great to get a better understanding. I love that aspect of Indian culture

  30. Megan Jerrard Reply

    Holi is really the only festival in India I had heard of before, but Krishna Janmasthami Festival sounds equally as fabulous too 🙂 I would love to travel to India and spend some quality time there to be able to take in these celebrations 🙂

  31. Jen Morrow Reply

    What a cool festival! I love Indian food, so breaking the fast with those delicacies sounds great! I love all f the bright colors and the history of the festival – awesome!

  32. Izzy Reply

    The Indian mythological pantheon has always intrigued me but I can never get the reincarnations right! I read about a devout following of Krishna followers, the Hare Krishnas. Anyway it was all very fascinating. My favorite anecdote of these festivities is the human pyramid that forms to break the earthen pot! I wonder how high it gets! Judging by that picture, I’m not sure which would be worst: being at the top or at the bottom!

  33. The Travel Ninjas Reply

    We haven’t been to India yet but it is rapidly pushing it’s way up on our list. Your articles continue to inspire us to go sooner than later. This festival looks incredible. So full of color!

  34. neha Reply

    I went to Mathura when I was very small. Still remember bits and pieces of it. Also, we celebrate Krishna Janmasthami at our homes. This reminds me, once I had a neighbor who used to cut cake for celebrating Krishna’s birth on Janmasthami 🙂

  35. Rashmi and Chalukya Reply

    Though we have not visited the other places to witness the grandeur of the festival, we are amongst the luckiest ones to behold the mind-boggling celebration of Janmashtami in Mumbai. As much as the height of the pyramids are impressive, more astounding are the prizes for the winning team which sometimes goes up to a lakh.

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