JANMASHTAMI -Krishna Asthami

Janmashtami- by Radhika Malhotra

Happy birthday Kanha.


Krishna/Kanhaiya is always a part of our family. From my childhood, my elder sister and I used to tie rakhi to the Ladoo Gopal. Even when my brother was born we insisted our parents name him Kanhaiya and by God’s grace, his name initially suggested by the priest is also K. So his name is finalized as Kanhaiya”. Now elder daughter also takes care of our ladoo Gopal.

Janmashtami is also referred to as Krishna Ashtami and many other names. As the name suggests, this day is celebrated to observe the birth of Kanha Ji. As per the mythology Lord Vishnu had ten avatars (incarnation forms), and Lord Krishna is believed to be the eighth form of an avatar. Lord Vishnu took this avatar as he once said to Lakshmi Ji that I also want to feel the essence of the mother’s love. So he took this avatar as Krishna Ji. In Sanskrit, Ashtami means the 8th day, while Janma means Existence/Birth. This is how the word Janmashtami is derived.


Lord Krishna’s life is one of the best examples of no one is bigger or smaller. His friend circle includes rich as well as poor. It is also said that Lord Krishna was quite naughty when he was young and people used to call him “Nathkat Lala”; he loved to play tricks on everyone and often stole butter, for which Yashoda Maiya punished him. That’s why breaking Dahi handis or matkas are a common event that people enjoy doing during Janmashtami.

Dahi Handi competition is held at different places and lots of people participated in these events with full of zeal and excitement. On this day, people who worship Lord Krishna wash his idol with oil and water and put new clothes on him, and put him in a cradle. People also make their little children get up as Little Krishna and Little Radha. They often make sweet dishes and offer them to Bal Gopal/Krishna as bhog (offering).

Krishna is also known as Devaki Nandan, as his birth mother was Devaki and his father Vasudev. He was later carried through the waters of Yamuna by Vasudev to Gokul to Nandlal and Yshoda his worldly father and mother.

Vasudev Carrying Kanhiya from the jail to Vrindavan at Nand Bava’s House

Janmashtami is celebrated on the Krishna Paksha’s eighth tithi, Ashtami, according to the Hindu calendar, i.e. this festival falls generally between August and September. This year it falls in the month of August- 18/Aug/2022.

Dahi Handi

It is a day full of celebrations with great pomp and shows in the temples with kirtans in the morning, different activities like fancy dress competitions, dance competitions, Dahi handi competition, and the story of the birth of Krishna is presented through Jhankhi (Musical presentation of the story), and at last at midnight 12.00 which is considered as the time of birth of Krishna, according to Drikpanchang, Kheer Prashad is distributed among everyone. Many people also do complete day fasting on this day and break their fast in the midnight prasad, as it is a celebration post birth time.

The famous hymn sung at midnight at the birth of Lord Krishna is

Nand Gher Anand Bhayo

Jai Kanhaiya Lal Ki

Finally, it is considered one of the most enjoyable festivals for Hindus. Festivals like Janmashtami play a vital role in bringing people together and spreading the message of peace, love, and harmony since Lord Krishna signifies Ananda ( bliss and pure happiness) We mortals, express our happiness by celebrating the birth of bliss.

-Radhika Malhotra

Significance of Dahi Handi on Janmashtami

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