The festival of Janmashtami is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and religious importance in India as it is the celebration of the birth of Lord Krishna. It is the time of jubilation across India; The temples are beautifully decorated and people in many parts of the country organize ‘Dahi Handi’ competitions. Mathura and Vrindavan are the two places where this festival is celebrated with an unmatched grandeur!
Mathura is the birthplace of Lord Krishna and Vrindavan is the place where he spent his golden days of childhood. The unique celebration in Mathura and Vrindavan attracts visitors from all over the world to take part in the rituals and festivities. In Vrindavan, the celebrations start days before the actual event. The shops here are busy selling attractive items associated with the divine figure.
There are temples in Mathura and Vrindavan like Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple, Dwarkadhish, Banke Bihari, Prem Mandir, ISKCON Temple, and others where tourists arrive to pay offerings to the deity on this special occasion. People put out little swings in their houses and temples, decorated with flowers and rangolis to welcome infant Krishna. The ambiance of Mathura and Vrindavan is very infectious during this time and one just cannot resist himself/herself getting involved in the festivities there.
The ritual begins with bathing little Krishna with milk and curd followed by dressing him up in traditional clothes and then placing the deity in the cradle. The cradle is then rocked while the devotees chant prayers and sing bhajans. 56 Bhog (a meal with 56 food items) is prepared and presented to the Lord which is later distributed among the devotees as prasad.
According to the mythological beliefs, Lord Krishna and incarnation of Lord Vishnu was born as the eighth son of Vasudev and Devaki to destroy evil. Janmashtami is celebrated at midnight when Lord Krishna was born. It is then that the devotees break their fast with the prasad offered to the deity and celebrate with great enthusiasm.
I would highly recommend you to add the experience of celebrating Janmashtami in Mathura and Vrindavan to your bucket list because it is bound to deliver you an experience of a lifetime!