From Nandgaon to Mathura, every town and village of the holy land was decorated in festive colors. Devotees from all over India and abroad flocked to Vrindavan to immerse themselves in the sea of devotion. The temples of Shri Banke Bihari, Shri Radha-Shyamsundar, Shri Radha-Damodar, Shri Radhavallabh and many others celebrated Shri Krishna’s birth each in their own way, with unique songs and traditions dating back centuries.
The Shri Radharaman Temple in Vrindavan celebrated Janmashtami in the morning with a grand abhishek ceremony. Devotees watched with unblinking eyes as the Goswamis lovingly bathed Radharamanji with panchamrit. Gazing upon his beauty, devotees prayed that their darling may remain happy throughout the coming year, playing in the winding lanes and pasturelands of Vrindavan. After the abhishek, Shri Radharaman Lal’s charanamrit was distributed to the devotees as prasad.
Many other temples also offered abhishek in the morning, whilst others like Vrindavan’s Shri Radha-Govind Dev Temple offered it at night. It was around midnight when the Shri Radha-Venugopal Mandir in Loi Bazaar held a beautiful abhishek ceremony as the temple bells echoed throughout seva kunj.
At Shri Krishna Janmasthan in Mathura, the day’s festivities were inaugurated at 10:30 a.m. with a pushpanjali offered by Karshni Guru Sharananand Maharaj and Mahant Nrityagopal Das, and continued until about 1:30 at night. Abhishek was held at midnight. Shri Krishna was bathed with hundreds of litres of milk, poured from special receptacle shaped like a cow, made out of silver and gold. At the Dwarkadheesh Mandir, Shri Dwarkadheesh Bhagwan gave a special darshan at 10:45 pm in honor of his birthday.
In every home, the Brajwasis also made beautiful arrangements to celebrate the Lord’s birth. Whether they have ancient deities at home or very simple home altars, everyone poured all their love into making the festival enjoyable for Shri Krishna. New dresses were given, delightful foods offered, and special bhajans were sung, celebrating the divine child’s birth.
Despite heightened concerns over security due to the overlap of Janmashtami and Independence Day this year, no unusual incidents were reported. Security forces were deployed in great numbers, especially in sensitive areas such as the Dwarkadheesh Temple in Mathura, and the Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan.
Janmastami celebration at Shri Radha Venu Gopal temple (P.C. Haridas Sharan)
Shri Shyamsundar Lal’s Abhishek, Shri Radha-Shyamsundar Temple (Seva Kunj, Vrindavan)