Lord Krishna's homeland Braj celebrates Janamashtmi
Thousands of devouts exploded in joyous rapture and greeted one another with "Jai Shri Krishna" and "Radhey Radhey", as the clock struck midnight, heralding the birth of Lord Krishna in the jail of Mathura's king Kansa.
The moment of deliverance has come, a priest announced on the loudspeaker at the Sri Krishna Janam Bhoomi, deluged by Krishna devotees.
Heavily guarded, pilgrims walked past the barricaded gate of the main temple after the darshan (glimpse) of the deity, which following the ritualistic bath in "panchamrit".
The whole complex was lit up, sprayed with herbal scents, and decorated with flowers.
At the Dwarkadheesh temple of Mathura, the crowd waited anxiously for the midnight darshan. Security personnel had a tough time controlling the increasing influx of pilgrims.
At the Radha Ballabh temple in Vrindavan, musical programmes were interspersed with folk dances.
The crowd at the Bankey Bihari temple was ecstactic, and burst into joyous chants.
The main attraction, however, was the newly-constructed Prem Mandir of Kripalu ji Maharaj.
Acharya Jaimini of Vrindavan said this time there was no shortage of "prasad". All temples had made elaborate arrangements, and the Sri Krishna Janam Bhoomi management committee had ordered one lakh laddoos for distribution.
After suffering from oppressive heat during the last few days, the weather Wednesday evening was different as a cool breeze was blowing and there was also some drizzle.
"The river Yamuna looked magnificent brimming with water," said Hari Krishan from Agra, who had come for "darshan" at the Bankey Bihari temple.
The Iskcon temple called "Angrezon ka mandir" in Vrindavan was buzzing with excitement, as devotees chanted "Nand ke ghar anand bhayo, Jai Kanhaiya lal ki".
The 5,239th birthday of Lord Krishna in the Rohini Nakshatra was described as special after many years.
Pilgrims from Delhi and Haryana found it convenient to reach Vrindavan via the new Yamuna Expressway.
For people from Agra, Gwalior and Rajasthan, the state transport department ran special buses for Mathura and Vrindavan. Railways too made special arrangements, with a new stop at Bhuteshwar Mahadev temple, near the Sri Krishna Janam Bhoomi complex in Mathura.
In Agra, people burst crackers at midnight, and took part in "bhakti sangeet" (devotional music) programmes," said Bankey Lal Maheshwari, after a visit to the Nehru Nagar Sri Krishna temple.
(Posted on 29-08-2013)