Devotees performed Yugal Jodi Parikrama of Mathura and Vrindavan together on Wednesday. Thousands of devotees performed parikrama in couples. Performing Parikrama of the twin cities of Mathura and Vrindavan on Akshay Navami has special significance.
The meaning of Akshaya, is inexhaustible, something that doesn’t decay or perish. People performed Parikrama to acquire the inexhaustible knowledge of the Divine and thereby attaining the bliss and peace.
The devotees undertook parikrama (circumambulate) of the twin city of Mathura and Vrindavan. They came out of their homes early in the morning before sunrise, barefoot, walked down to Yamua, took a holy dip, worshiped Yamuna, smeared a Vraja raja on their foreheads and then started the Parikrama.
Social organizations had put up free water and food stalls at most of the road crossings. The First Aid camps were also put by the Civil Society organizations. The District Authorities had made elaborate security arrangements to ensure free movement of the devotees. Traffic restriction and ban on the entry of the heavy vehicle made it easy for the devotees.
The devotees went around the holy cities of Mathura and Vrindavan after smearing ‘raja’. After they started from Vrindavan, walking along the holy river Yamuna, they offered their respects at various temples – Shri Madan Mohan Mandir, Shri Banke Bihari Mandir, Shri Radha Ballabh Mandir, Kaliya Dah, Cheer Ghat, Nidhivan, Radha Raman, Keshi Ghat, Gopeshwar Mahadev, Jagannath Ghat and finally Chamunda Devi in Vrindavan.
Then they walked towards Mathura, along Yamuna taking the same rout as taken by Lord Krishna when He left Vrindavan on the invitation of His maternal uncle Kamsa, and offered prayers at Akroor Ghat temple on their way.
On entering Mathura they worshiped Yamuna again at Vishram Ghat, offered pooja at Dwarkadheesh Temple, Rangeshwar Mahadev, Bhuteshwar Mahadev and Shri Krishna Janmasthan. Then they walked back to Vrindavan through the forests and grass lands where lord Krishna used to graze cows.
Though the Parikrama was very tiresome, but the devotees enjoyed doing this. It is mentioned in the Varah Puran that residing just one day in Vrindavan equals to residing 1000 days in Varanasi.
The women worshiped the Amla Trees, and prayed long life for their husbands.
With the beginning of Shukla ekadashi, begins the 40 day long Kartik Niyam Seva celebration where devotees all round the world gather in Vrindavan to celebrate and adopt satvik lifestyles in the name of the Lord.
The devotees sing and dance glorifying the Lord’s name. Groups of devotees belonging from various ashrams and temple participate in the Nagar Sankirtans which pass through the markets and small lanes of Shri Dham Vrindavan.
Devotees offer lamps to the deities in the morning and in the evening during the aratis. They perform four rounds of Parikrama of the Damodar Mandir, resembling one full parikrama of Shri Govardhan hill. Many devotees take the vow of daily parikrama of Shri Dham Vrindavan.
It is seen that Gaudiyas normally observe this fast in order to please the divine couple . Following strict rules like walking barefoot, cooking food with own hands, bathing early morning reciting japas and sacred texts mark their love and devotion to the Lord and his consort.
परमानन्द मुरारी मोहन गिरधारी
जय रस रास बिहारी जय जय गिरधारी || ॐ जय ||
Krishna, Gopal is considered the saviour of humanity. The Lord whose magical & charming stories are most popular not only within the borders but also far & beyond. Janmashtami is celebrated to commemorate the birth of the Lord. Thereby with great spirit and devotion the day is celebrated across India especially in his birth town Vrindavan and Mathura.
Alongside cities like Dwarka, Udupi and Guruvayur, get all beamed up to celebrate this auspicious occasion of Janmashtami. The town of Vrindavan is significant in the history of Janmashtami, because Lord Krishna performed the rasleelas with his beloved Gopis in this place. On the occasion of Krishna Janmashtami, Vrindavan is filled with devotees who visit the place from nook and corner of India & the world to offer prayers to their beloved Lord.
The air above these cities echoes that of bhajans, mantras. The cities are decorated, ghats are all lit up with lights and diyas, appearing like a piece of paradise in the earth. The celebration continues for ten to fifteen days till Radhashtami, day when Lord Krishna’s beloved consort Radharani was born. These days are marked by Pujas, Fastings, Holy bathing in the ghats, distribution of Prasadams & various plays are staged at different places in the town. Naming artists and celebrities are called upon to give their best performance on the festive season. Excerpts from the story of Janmashtami are depicted in the dramas which are also called Krishna leela, which are conducted all through the festive days.
Some temples of Vrindavan and Mathura, which see huge footfall during Janmashtami & Radhashtami are Banke Bihari Temple, Rangnathji Temple, Shri krishna Balram Temple, Radharaman Temple and ISCKON Temple. One of the important rituals of the temples is Abhishek (holy bath) during which darshans are open for the devotees.
In Udipi, chakkulis and laddoos were offered to Lord Krishna. In Guruvayur, Krishna Janmashtami is also known as Rohini Ashtami, the temples had arranged a grand feast for the devotees in the days following Janmashtami. Satsangs and sloka readings are a part of the celebrations.
On these days of celebration the Lord is dressed in beautiful costumes and. Dwarkadheesh Temple in Dwarka, is mainly famous for its way of dressing up the Lord.
With ‘ Jai Shri Radhe Krishna’ echoing and dominating the atmosphere the entire world unites & brightens the glory of the celebration more, celebration of the the birth of One Lord.
In the land of Vraja, Radhika’s birthday was celebrated joy and zeal equal to Krishna’s on Janmashtami.
The temples of Vrindavan were thronged since early in the morning by the devotees to celebrate the birth of the Queen of Vrindavan. Kirtan, bhandaras were organized in celebration of the beloved of Shyam Sundar.
The birth of Radha Rani is usually celebrated in a grand way at Varasana and Raval. But, the joy of this festivity is not lesser in Vrindavan, either. The temples of Radha Ballabh and Tatiasthan were special attraction on this occasion in Vrindavan.
At Radha Ballabh Temple, the Radhashtami was celebrated for nine days. The Goswamis performed the ritual bath of the deity. Congratulatory devotional couplets (badhai) were sung by the temple musicians. Various types of delicacies having Moothaa Laddus, Besan Laddus etc. were offered to the deity of Thakur Shri Radha Ballabh.
The temple arranges a lavish ‘Rajbhog’ consisting of several kinds of rice ( Sakhri), vegetable (kadhi), breads finally followed by Beedi (Betel leaves enriched with cardamom, saffron and dry fruits, traditionally offered after each and every ‘bhog’ at the temple)
As a blessing, the devotees were sprinkled with a mixture called ” Dadhi Kando” made up of curd, sandal paste, saffron and turmeric powder by the Goswamis. The fellow priests danced merrily in circles to the tune of ‘Radha Pyari Ne Janam Liyo Hai’.
In the evening, there was this holy procession of Chav till Bara Raas Mandal. Similar, celebrations were performed in other temples of Vrindavan. Radha Raman, Radha Shyam Sundar, Radha Damodar, Banke Bihari and other Sapta Devalya Temples.
Radhashtami is also the birthday of Swami Haridas making this day more special. The temple of Banke Bihari, the Nidhivan and the Tatiasthan were decorated with flowers, flags, festoons, balloons and lights. Panchamrita abhishek was performed at the Samadhi of Swami Haridas. Congratulatory devotional couplets (badhai) were sung by the saints of Tatiasthan and other places belonging to the Haridasis. Several cultural events were also organized at various places of Vrindavan to commemorate the birth of Swami Haridas.