Janmashtami in Vrindavan
Vrindavan is quite a famous place for pilgrimage in North India. Just about 15 kms from Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, it houses nearly 5000 temples both ancient as well as modern. The holy town of Vrindavan is where Lord Krishna spent his formative years. The town situated on the banks of river Yamuna is also known for the famous rasleelas that Lord Krishna performed with his beloved gopis.
During Janmashtami, the entire city gets immersed in the spirit of devotion. Euphoric celebrations among the devotees is a common sight. The sound of bhajans and chanting echos in the city.
Rasleelas and staging of various plays
It is said that the city of Vrindavan starts celebrating Janmashtami 7-10 days before the actual date of the festival. This is done by staging various plays and rasleelas at different places in the city. Professional artistes enact various episode of Lord krishna's life. These plays are a huge drawers of devotees.
Celebrations at main Temples in Vrindavan
Although there are around 5000 temples in Vrindavan but the main temples are Banke Bihari Temple, Rangnathji Temple, Shri krishna Balram Temple, Radharaman Temple, ISCKON Temple etc. These temples have an itenarary for the entire day, with timings fixed for various ceremonies and poojas all day long. Darshans are open for devotees even during Abhishek (holy bath) of lord Krishna.
Celebrations at Madhuban during Janamashtami
According to legend in Vrindavan, Madhuban is the exact place where Lord Krishna is said to have performed rasleelas with his beloved Gopis more than 5000 years ago. A famous folklore associated with the place is that Lord Krishna till date ascends to perform rasleela with the gopis. Anyone venturing into the place during night either dies or becomes insane. Thus no localite ventures into Madhuban during night. The place becomes alive during Janmashtami with rasleelas being performed in the premises during the daytime.
Fasting by devotees
Fasting is another ritual followed by all the devotees religiously every year. Devotees observe all day long last and break it at midnight after the arrival of Lord Krishna. It is believed by devotees that fasts act as an offering that humans can make to the Lord and bring them closer to him. Devotees cook various dishes of milk and milk products to mark the occasion. This is so because Lord Krishna was quite fond of milk and butter. Popular dishes include Kheer, Pedha, Shrikhand and Singhare ki poori.