Sri Krishna Janmashtami August 2022 at Sri Krishna temple, Udipi.

Among the Hindu festivals the birth of Sri Krishna (god Vishnu) is an important one and Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm across India in places  like Guruvayur, Kerala Vrindavan,  Barsana, Mathura, M.P, and Dwarka GJ, Udupi, KA etc.  According to Hindu mythology  the birth of Lord Krishna  is the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu and he took the avatar to annihilate Asura Kamsan, his evil hearted uncle. The festival is celebrated on the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha in the month of Shraavana of Bhadrapad (which overlaps with August or September of the Gregorian calendar). Facing threats from his maternal uncle Kamsa, Vasudeva took baby Krishna to Gokul where he was brought up by Nanda  and  Yashoda.

Sri krishna idol udipi, KA
This year Sri Krishna jayanthi falls on the 18th for some  communities and for others on the 19th of August. At Sri Guruvayurappan temple, Kerala, it was held yesterday with great joy and pomp. The Dewasom arranged for a big feast for 30000 devotees visiting the temple. 

As for Udipi sri Krishna temple, it had been a low key affair for the last two years on account of Covid-19 pandemic and this year it was celebrated yesterday with renewed joy and the festivities would  continue  the following day. 

This famous temple is being run by eight monasteries or mutts by rotation for a period of two years and each mutt has its own tradition. The Paryaya Krishnapura Matt  which is looking after the affairs of the temple,  made elaborate arrangement for  Krishna Ashtami celebrations in Udupi this year.  

The Ashta mutts that celebrate Sri Krishna Jayanthi here follow different tradition as to the date of celebration of lord's birth.  According to the Mutt pundits well-versed in almanac (panchanga), Janmashtami can be celebrated only with the confluence of Simha Maasa, Krishna Paksha, Rohini Nakshatra and Ashtami Thithi as prescribed by the Souramana (Solar Almanac). This is the accurate ‘ghalige’,” said vedic scholar Gopalacharya.

In other places, such as  Guruvayur in the south to Mathura in north, Janmashtami is observed on the basis of ‘Chandramana Panchanga’ (Lunar Alamanac) where only the Ashtami Thithi will suffice. Pundits  are of the view that Vedic maths ‘Drugganitha’ calculates the cosmic events in a different perspective. The founder of Dwaitha philosophy, Ashta mutts (8 mutts) and  Sri Krishna temple, Sri Madhwacharya (13th century)  had used  Drugganitha  as a guidance to calculate  the exact time of birth of Lord Krishna.

So as per Vedic maths, this year Sri Krishna Jayanthi was held yesterday on the 18th of August.  On Janmashtami Day, normally the head of the Paryaya Krishnapura Matt  Sri Vidyasagara Theertha Swamiji would conduct puja. After the Maha Puja, the Swamiji would  offer Naivedya (Prasadam/Ladoos) to the devotees.  Devotees are allowed in the preparation of  ‘laddoos’. After the Puja around midnight (12:21 a.m.) Arghya Pradhana will be offered to Lord Sri Krishna. Arghya Pradhana is a long-held  traditional ritual of offering  milk and water to the specially-made clay idol of Lord Sri Krishna in the grabagriha - the sanctum of the temple. Normally, this temple ritual is done at midnight.     

The Sri Krishna Leelotsava festival, locally  known as Vittal Pindi, is scheduled on the 20th of August. The Ratha beedhis - car streets will be  decorated with buntings poles, etc The clay idol will be taken out in a colorful procession  round the streets  and finally immersed in the temple water tank. The procession is accompanied by  folk and cultural troupes with tiger dances  Pili Vesha/ Huli Vesha   marking the day.

Yet another interesting part of Sri Krishna Jayanthi is preparation of Ladoo prasadaam by  Mutt  workers, numbering roughly 100 to 150.  They, with care,  prepare ‘Chakkulis’ and ‘laddoos’ (about 5 or 6 varieties) meant for distribution among the devotees during Vittal Pindi. Chakkulis and laddoos will b offered to Sri Krishna first and later they  will be served to people on 20 August on the eve of Vittal Pindi. Sri Vidyasagara Theertha Swamiji will offer the Arghya followed by special Puja