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janmashtami 2020

Janmashtami 2020


Krishna Janmashtami, which is also known as Janmashtami or Gokulashtami is a famous Hindu festival celebrated to mark the birth of Lord Krishna, the eighth avatar or incarnation of Lord Vishnu. 


Janmashtami is celebrated on the eighth day (Ashtami) of Krishna Paksha in the month of Shravana or Bhadra. Devotees perform various rituals to celebrate Janmashtami. 


This is one of the most joyous celebrations for the Hindus; they celebrate this festival with great devotion and enthusiasm.
Number eight has a very interesting significance with this festival. 

This festival is celebrated on the eighth day of Krishna Paksha to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna who is the eighth son of his parents and believed to be the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu. 


Lord Krishna: 


Lord Krishna is one of the major Hindu deities. According to the epic The Mahabharata he was born around 5,200 years ago approximately. He was believed to be the incarnation or avatar of Lord Vishnu,  one of the main three Gods of Hinduism known as Tridev. He came to this world with the purpose of destroying evil and established goodness in society. 


Lord Krishna was born to Vasudev and Devaki as their eighth son in the prison of Kin Kansha at Mathura. Vasudev gave little Krishna to his friend Nanda to raise, that's why Krishna’s one name is Nandalala. Krishna was raised in Gokula by Nanda and his wife Yashoda. 


When Krishna reached his adolescence he moved to Mathura and killed the evil king Kansha. He played a major role in Mahabharata. He was head of Yadavas and well-wisher of Pandavas. 
Lord Krishna was third Pandava Arjun’s sarthi during the famous Kurukshetra war and taught the world Karmayog and Bhaktiyok by his Srimad Bhagavad Geeta. 


He breathed his last by an arrow of a hunter who misunderstood Lord Krishna as a deer hiding in a bush. 



Janmashtami story: 


According to Hindu mythology once there was an evil king named Kansha in Mathura. He was highly ambitious and tortured his people a lot that's why his subjects used to call him as demon King. In a bad intention to expand his empire, he married his virtuous sister Devaki to Yadav king Vasudeva. 

Kansha wanted to gain the trust of Vasudeva and Yadavs so he decided to pamper the newly married. But destiny had another plan. Suddenly a voice from heaven booms with the prophecy that he will be killed by the 8th son of Vasudeva and Devaki.

After this Prophecy, Kansha wanted to kill his little sister whom he used to claim to love a lot. But Vasudev promised to hand over all of their future children to Kansha if he spared Devaki’s life so Kansha agreed and imprisoned Devaki and Vasudev in a high-security cell. 

One after one Kansha killed six children of the couple in the prison but a divine intervention happened during the seventh pregnancy of Devaki. Goddess Yogamaya pulled the seventh child from Devaki’s womb to Vasudev’s first wife Rohini’s womb. So the child was safely born but Kansha thought the child was dead in the womb itself. 

Devaki gave birth to her eighth son Krishna at midnight on a dark and stormy night. The night was full of thunderstorms and lightning. Devi Yogmaya with her divine power unlocked all the locks of the prison and made all the guards sleep. Vasudeva got a divine instruction that this child of theirs is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and he will kill Kansha in the future. He also got the instruction to take the baby to Gokul and exchange the baby with the newborn baby of his friend Nanda and his wife Yashoda. 

As per Instruction, Vasudeva went out of the prison carrying his son in a wicker basket. According to mythology when Vasudeva put the basket to his head unknown to him, the king of Nagas Sheshnag became an umbrella for baby Krishna to protect him from the rain. Vasudeva crossed the Yamuna river and exchanged his son with the newborn baby girl of Nanda. 

The next day Kansha killed the baby girl who was none other than Goddess Yogamaya. As soon as he threw the baby girl she transformed to the goddess and said  "O Kans, your destroyer has already been born, and is elsewhere. He is now well and alive in a safe place. And one day, he will come in search of you and kill you! You can not change your destiny, how hard you may try!". Baby Krishna was safely raised in Gokula as the son of Nanada and Yashoda. This was the enchanting story of Janmashtami. 

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Janmashtami History : 


According to Historian and scholars, the celebration of Krishna's birthday started at his foster parents' home in Gokul. People of Gokula believed that Krishna was a wonder child and they were enchanted by his skills since childhood only. People slowly started believing that Krishna is among the commoners to save them from all tumultuous situations. So they started to celebrate his birthday in a grand way. 

The celebration started in Gokul spread throughout the whole Mathura with time and later whole Uttar Pradesh started to celebrate Lord Krishna’s birthday. And now the whole country celebrates the day as Janmashtami. 

Why do we celebrate Janmashtami?


Sri Krishna is famous as the God of love and harmony. He came to this world to destroy evil and established goodness. He killed his maternal uncle Kansha and released the subjects of Mathura from his torturous ways. 

He himself told Arjuna whenever there is evilness surrounding the world he will come to destroy it. In the 7 and 8 of Chapter 4 of the holy book Srimad Bhagavad Gita, it is recorded….

“Yada yada hi dharmasya glanirbhavati bharata
Abhythanamadharmasya tadatmanam srijamyaham

Paritranaya sadhunang vinashay cha dushkritam
Dharmasangsthapanarthay sambhabami yuge yuge” 

“यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत।
अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदात्मानं सृजाम्यहम् ॥४-७॥

परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम् ।
धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय सम्भवामि युगे युगे ॥४-८॥” 

So people celebrate the festival to mark the birth of their beloved deity Lord Sri Krishna and get blessings from him. 

Significance of Janmastami :


The main significance of Janmashtami is to encourage goodwill and bring good out of people. People believe that on this day the bad intentions in people end. Krishna Janmashtami festival also celebrates love and togetherness. The holy occasion brings people together, thus it signifies unity and faith.

Celebration of  Janmashtami :


Devotees celebrate Janmashtami by fasting, singing, praying together, preparing and sharing special food, night vigils, and visiting Krishna or Vishnu temples. They decorate their home and temples for this auspicious occasion. They offer various kinds of sweets, malai, and butter (homemade) to the deity as it is believed that baby Krishna loves butter. 

Many Krishna temples organize recitation of ‘'Bhagavata Purana and Bhagavad Gita in temple premises.  Many communities and organizations organize dance-drama events called Rasa Lila or Krishna Lila. The tradition of Rasa Lila is particularly popular in the northeastern states of India and in parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat. 

State-wise celebration of Janmashtami


Janmashtami is celebrated in every state of India in a grand way. Devotees celebrate the co; a powerful joyous festival in different styles in different cities in India. Let's have a quick glance about state wise celebration. 

Uttarpradesh : 

Mathura where Sr Krishna was born and Vrindaban where he spent his childhood and adolescence, these both places fall in the state of Uttar Pradesh so it is very much obvious that The state truly reflects the secular spirit of this festival. 

Throughout the state, people celebrate the festival in a grand way but elegant and special ceremonies are held in Mathura and Vrindavan. There is a temple in the exact place where Lord Krishna was born and people visit this temple on this auspicious occasion in a large number. 

In the main hall of the temple, a ceremony takes place where the priests bathe the idol of Lord Krishna and chant mantras. After the ceremony generally, people break their fast. At midnight, the hour when Shri Krishna was believed to be born, the well-decorated idol of the deity is taken out of the temple and people gather to get a view of the idol. The atmosphere became magical with the sound of conch shells, Krishna bhajans, and shouts in praise of the Lord. 

The whole festival is celebrated for two days but Jhulan Utsav takes place during the entire month of Sravan. During this festival, the children can be spotted dressed in bright and colorful attire as Lord Krishna, Radha, and Meera and participated in various competitions organized at the event.

Gujarat: 

Gujarat has its own charisma celebrating the festival of Janmashtami. Gujrat is home to the holy city Dwarka. According to mythological stories, Sri Krishna along with his brother Balaram moved his kingdom from Mathura to Dwarka for better protection of his subjects.   

It is believed that in Sri Krishna's request  the divine architect Vishwakarma built this city of Dwarka in two days. Several palaces of this mysterious city were made of gold, emerald, and diamonds. However, now the city is underwater and it is said that the sea engulfed the city after Krishna's death.

Janmashtami celebration in Dwarka is huge and elegant. The celebration begins with early morning rituals of cleaning the Shri Krishna idol, brushing his teeth, washing his face. This is followed by morning arti, prayers, and offerings of milk and milk products (called banta bhog) to the deity as it is believed he deity in his childhood loved milk products.

 Around 10 am,  after the first major aarti (prayer session) of the day called the mangal aarti, a holy bath is given to the idol with the panchamrit – gangajal, ghee, honey, curd, and sugar. 

Then the decoration of the idol with colorful clothes (mostly yellow) and beautiful ornaments takes place. After this sringer ritual, an offering is made to the deity which is known as Sringer Bhog  after those devotees are allowed to see the idol and pay their respects.

At midnight people welcome the lord and celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna by various bhajans such as “Nand Gher Anand Bhayo- Jay Kanaiya lal ki”. After two hours of celebration, the deity was offered Mahabhog and then the temple closed as it became the time of sleep for Dwarkadhis. 

On this auspicious occasion, a huge number of devotees visit the famous Dwarkadhish temple in Dwarka to pay their respects. The temple is well-lit and decorated this day for the celebration. 

During the Janmashtami celebrations in Gujarat, people organize folk dance performances and prayer sessions that consist of group singing and chanting of bhajans. 

Farmers of the Kutch region also celebrate the day of Janmashtami by decorating their bullock carts and carrying out processions with idols or artwork of Lord Krishna.

Rajasthan: 

Rajasthan,  the state of Meera Bai, the biggest devotee of Lord Krishna, celebrates the festival of Janmashtami which is more famous here by the name of Gokulashtami with great enthusiasm and zeal. 

The epicenter for the celebration is the GovindaJi Temple of Jaipur. The temple of the royal deity of Jaipur was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh approximately 450 years ago. 

During this festival, the idols of Radha Govindji are decorated beautifully and placed in a specially decorated swing. Special pujas are being held for this festival. 

People of Rajasthan celebrate this festival with poetry, music, folk songs, Krishna Bhajans, Raas Leela, etc. this day thousands of people visit various Krishna temple and worship Lord Krishna with devotion. 

Delhi and other states of North India: 

Delhi, the capital of the country, celebrates the festival of Janmashtami with full religious zeal. People observe fast and celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna. They decorate their home and temples with flowers and lights. Here people organize many programs like Dahi- handi, bhajans, Raas Leela, etc to mark the festival. 

There are few famous temples of Delhi Laxmi Narayan Temple (Birla Temple), Chattarpur Mandir, Sri Sri Radha Govind Dev Temple, Noida,  who make it big during the festival. 

Other north Indian states Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana also celebrate this festival in quite the same ways. 

In Jammu, kite flying from rooftops is a popular part of the celebration of Janmashtami.

Eastern and Northeastern India: 

In Eastern and northeastern India Janmashtami is widely celebrated by Hindu communities called Vaishnava who worship Lord Krishna. The widespread tradition of worshipping Lord  Krishna in these regions is the result of  efforts and teachings of Sankardeva and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu during the 15th and 16th centuries. 

They developed philosophical ideas and new forms of performance arts to celebrate the Hindu god Krishna such as Borgeet, Ankia Naat, Sattriya, and Bhakti yoga now popular in West Bengal and Assam. In  Manipur people developed a classical Manipuri dance form famous for its Hindu Vaishnavism themes and showcasing the love-inspired dance drama arts of Radha-Krishna called Raslila These dance drama is a part of Janmashtami tradition in these regions.

On the occasion of  Janmashtami, parents dress up their children as characters in the legends of Krishna, such as gopis, Radha and  Krishna. Temples and community centers are decorated with regional flowers and leaves.  In many places, people organize recitation of  chapter of Bhagavata Purana, and the Bhagavata Gita.

In Assam, Janmashtami is celebrated at nearly every homes, in community centers called Namghars (Assamese: নামঘৰ), and the temples. According to the tradition, the devotees sing the Nam, perform pujas, and offer sweets to the deity as Prasad. 

West Bengal : 

In West Bengal, the celebration of Janmashtami is very famous in Vaishnava Community. On this occasion people observe fast, worship lord Krishna till midnight,  chant astattaro Shato nam (108 names of Lord Krishna), namgan (songs praising the deity) and The Bhagavata Purana is recited from the 10th chapter, a section dedicated to the life of Krishna. People also decorate their home and observe Jhulan Utsav. 

 In Nabadwip and Mayapur this is a big festival. Through various religious and spiritual activities maths and temples celebrate the festival. Devotees also take parts in spiritual rallies. 

The following morning kicks off with Nanda utsava to celebrate Krishna’s foster parents, Nanda and Yashoda. On this day people offer chappan bhog to the god, following which they break their fast.

Orissa:

Puri, the beach town of Orissa celebrates the festival of Janmashtami in a very unique and interesting manner. And people around the Globe visit Puri during this time to witness the unique festival. 
The Jagannath temple of Puri becomes crowded with devotees for its special and unique rituals and celebrations during Janmashtami. Before the birth of Sri Krishna, a special kind of Bhog is offered to Lord Jagannatha called ‘Jeuda Bhoga’. 

It is believed that this bhog helps ease the labour pain of the deity. And then the Lord Jagannath gives birth to Lord Krishna and Rama, the avatars of Lord Vishnu. 

On this occasion, All the deities of Jagannatha temple are adorned with new clothes and ornaments. At midnight the statue of Lord Krishna in his childhood form is kept in a specially decorated jhoola with flowers. 

Other temples of Bhubaneswar and Puri also celebrate the festival with great zeal. 

Maharashtra:

Janmashtami which is popularly known as "Gokulashtami" in Maharashtra is celebrated in major cities such as Mumbai, Latur, Nagpur, and Pune. 

In Maharashtra, Janmashtami is celebrated in a unique way. Dahi Handi is very popular in Maharashtra during Janmashtami which is a part of this festival. The term Dahi Handi literally means "earthen pot of yogurt". The day after Krishna Janmashtami here, people organize Dahi-Handi. Dahi Handi celebrates the mischievous and playful side of Krishna.

For this ritual, people hang a decorated pot of yogurt high up. They sometimes tie the pot with tall poles or from ropes hanging from the second or third level of a building. As per the tradition few young boys called “Govindas” go around to these hanging pots, climb one over another and form a human pyramid to break the pot.

Neighbors and visitors cheer and tease them while dancing and singing. To make this event more lively and competitive, people splash water on the group attempting to break the pot. After breaking the pot the spilled contents are considered as Prasada (celebratory offering). The event also includes a cash prize for the winning team. The prize money depends on the sponsors and organizers. It usually ranges from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 12 lakh. 

This tradition of the festival gets this popular regional name from the legend of baby Krishna. According to mythological stories, baby Krishna used to steal milk products such as yogurt and butter and people of Gokul would hide their supplies high up out of the baby's reach. Krishna used to try all sorts of creative ideas to break these high hanging pots. among them; the popular one was making human pyramids with his friends 

Goa:

People have a conception that Goa is a Christian state, but the state has a large Hindu population. Goa is also popular for its temples as its churches. The state is associated with Yadavas, the clan from which Krishna belonged. One of the unique temples in Goa is the Devaki Krishna temple. 

 This temple celebrates Janmashtami on a grand scale. People visit Devaki Krishna temple to celebrate the festival.

Tamilnadu: 

Tamil Nadu celebrates Janmashtami or Gokulashtami with great devotion. In Tamil Nadu, the people decorate the floor with decorative patterns drawn with rice batter called kolams. People also draw the footprints of baby Krishna from the threshold of the house till the temple room or their place of worship depicting the arrival of Krishna into their house.

They sang devotional songs such as  Geetha Govindam and others in praise of Lord Krishna. A recitation of Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavad Purana is also a popular practice. 

As prasadam they offer Krishna fruits, betel and butter as baby Krishna or Bal Gopala loved butter. People prepare Krishna's favorites with great care. The most important of them are Seedai, Sweet Seedai, Verkadalai Urundai. 

People observe day-long fast and celebrate the festival in the evening as Krishna was born at midnight. Most people break their fast only after midnight puja.
Andhra Pradesh:

Like other states of India, Andra Pradesh also celebrates this festival in a grand way. In Andhra Pradesh, the main attraction of the festival is recitation of slokas and devotional songs. 

Like other places here also parents dressed up young boys are as Krishna and they visit neighbors and friends. Different varieties of fruits and sweets are first offered to Krishna as prasadam and after the puja, these sweets are distributed among the devotees.

The people of Andhra Pradesh also observe a fast till midnight. Various kinds of milk made sweets are made to offer Gokul Nandan on this day. Joyful chanting of names takes place in quite a few temples of the state. Here people worship lord Krishna  through paintings and not idols.

Karnataka:

The citizens of Karnataka have a tradition of performing the divine play called Rasleela depicting the love story of Krishna and Radha in Vrindavan locally named as Vittal Pindi.  Huli Vesha dancers are known to create huge attractions on this day and people enjoy watching them on the streets. 

Like Maharashtra and other western states here also people celebrate Dahi- Handi after the day of Janmashtami. 

Kerala :

The people of Kerala express their devotion and love for Lord Krishna on Janmashtami by performing different rituals and pujas. On this day many people visit the Guruvayur Temple and Bhuloka Vaikuntha located in Guruvayur town. A huge number of people visit these temples on this day to get a glimpse of the deity. 

People offer Special dishes like palpaysam and appam to Krishna on this day of Janmashtami.. 

Celebration in Iskcon : 

The International Society for Krishna Conscience (ISKCON) celebrates  Janmashtami as the most important festival. The birth of Krishna is celebrated with great devotion by the temple throughout the World. 

They start the Preparations for the celebration well ahead of the date. The temple is cleaned and beautifully decorated with flowers and lights for the occasion. ‘Bhog’ or the offering made on the day of  Janmashtami is one of the main events during the celebration of Janmashtami. Temple offers a total of 108 different kinds of food items to the idol of Krishna. These offerings are usually prepared by devotees.

They offer all kinds of food from sweets to savouries to Lord Krishna. After the puja for distributing the Prasada and Bhog among the devotees who come to the temple for darshan on this auspicious day takes place. 

Another important event of the festival is the ceremonial bathing of Krishna idol. water with saffron, cardamom, tulasi leaves, cloves, and rose petals kept in a decorated Kalash  is being  used for the ceremonial bathing. 

Many devotees visit the temple premises for the Janmashtami celebration. The top ISKCON temples of India include ISKCON Mayapur, ISKCON Bangalore, ISKCON Vrindavan, ISKCON Delhi, ISKCON Mumbai, ISKCON Pune, ISKCON Ahmedabad, ISKCON Jaipur, ISKCON Imphal, and ISKCON Pandarpur.

Many other organizations like Ramakrishna Mission, many Vaishnava organization Janmashtami celebrations for devotees. 

Outside India: 

Not only in India but outside India many Hindus celebrate Janmashtami throughout the world. Nepal, Bangladesh, Fiji, Thailand, USA, UK all these countries also celebrate Janmashtami. 


Janmashtami 2020: 


This year Janmashtami is going to be celebrated during the lockdown due to Coronavirus pandemic. So mejor Krishna Temples such as Mathura Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple, Dwarkadhis Temple, Govindaji Temple, Banke Bihari Temple, etc. are not going to allow pilgrimage this year. ISKCON temple society this year is going to organize a digital celebration. Various State Govt. also decided not to allow any public event for the celebration and encourage Digital Darshana of deity of various temples. 

How can we celebrate Krishna Jayanthi at home?

This year you can celebrate Janmashtami at home by 

Organizing a small puja at home. 
Observing fast
Decorate your Krishna idol and giving it a ceremonial bath 
Reading Bhagabat Geeta and other sacred Texts.
Chanting slokas
Telling stories about Krish’s life to children
Chanting 108 names of Srikrishna
Singing Bhajanas
Participating in digital darshana

Janmashtami sweets: 


There are some special sweets for the festival of Janmashtami. Among them, the maximum is made of milk and milk products as Baby Krishna used to love milk products. Few famous Janmashtami special sweets are  Maakhan Misri, Makhana Paag, Mathura Peda, Dhaniya Panjiri, Boondi Ladoo, Meva ka Ladoo, Gole ki Barfi, Kheer, Meethi Mathri, Shrikhand, Gopalkala, Gujiya, Rasmalai, Rabri, etc.

Janmashtami date and time:


Janmashtami: 11th of August. 
Janmashtami Tithi : Ashtami tithi will begin at 09:06 am on August 11 and end at 11:16 am on August 12.
Nishita (Midnight) Puja: 12:21 am to 01:06 am
Dahi-Handi: 12th of August. 

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