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Gokul Ashtami

Gokul Asthami is the annual commemoration of the birth day of Lord Krishna, the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu. Maha Vishnu took several avatars for protecting our mortal world from sinners and evildoers and one such avatar was Hindu deity Krishna. Lord Krishna was born in the "Shravana" the Hindu lunar month's eighth day at midnight.

Hindus celebrate this festival by observing a fast till midnight, when it is believed that Lord Krishna was born.

Significance of Gokul Asthami

Bhagvad Gita, a Hindu sacred book, which is believed to be narrated by Lord Vishnu, says that whenever there will be decline of religion and predominance of evil, HE will reincarnate in an earthly appearance to protect this mortal world from sinners and evildoers and to save the good. The main significance of Gokul Ashtami is to discourage the bad and evil while encouraging the good. It also celebrates togetherness and thus, signifies faith and unity.

Reason of Celebrating Gokul Asthami

Gokul Asthami commemorates the eighth avatar of Vishnu, Lord Krishna who in Indian sacred writings has been described as the God himself. Gokul Asthami is celebrated to pay respect and regards to this Hindu deity who is a symbol of the winning of good over evil.

Gokul Asthami is also celebrated as the day of profound spiritual renewal and celebrations which effectively ends an old year while staring a new one. It is believed that by worshipping Lord Krishna, you go close to him and he responds to the distinct desires and feelings which are held deeply in the heart of every single devotee.

Tradition on Gokul Asthami

Gokul Asthami is accompanied by splendid celebrations. In temples, the festivities begin even before dawn and extend the whole day till midnight, the exact moment of Lord Krishna's appearance anniversary. Devotees cook large feasts, perform dance and drama, decorate the idol of Lord Krishna in a creatively colored and festooned altar.

People in homes also stay up till midnight. Idols and images of Lord Krishna's infancy are placed in cradles and swings and at midnight they break their fast after swinging the cradle for Lord Krishna.

But the way of celebrating Gokul Asthami is unique in Maharashtra, especially in Mumbai and Pune. Gokul Asthami in Maharashtra is also known as Dahi Handi celebration, is celebrated with colossal enthusiasm and zeal.  Lord Krishna in childhood was a naughty kid and would steal butter from the gopis. That is why, this festival is celebrated with dahi handis.

The handi is clay pot and after filling it with buttermilk, it is tied and positioned quite high before the event. Then, people make a pyramidal structure by themselves in order to reach the handi, and the person on the top of the human pyramid breaks this handi and the entire buttermilk is spilled over the entire pyramid of people. It symbolizes their achievement through faith and unity and since buttermilk was the favorite food item of Lord Krishna, dahi handi pays a tribute to this celebrated Hindi deity as well.

Information Essential for Tourist

For people, who are planning their visit to Maharashtra, this time is an amazing one. They can see a vast set up dahi handis all over the city and youngsters "known as Govinda Pathaks" travel around the city in trucks trying to break as many dahi handis as possible in the day.

Way of Worshipping Lord Krishna on Gokul Asthami in Different States of India

Gokul Asthami is celebrated all over India in many different ways but with the sole purpose of celebrating the birthday of Lord Krishna. In south India, ladies decorate their houses on this occasion for welcoming Lord Krishna in their home. They prepare several sweets and especially Shrikhand. The area between inner meditation room and the doorway is marked with small child like footprints symbolizing the entry of Lord Krishna as child.

It is also celebrated with great zeal in Mathura, where Lord Krishna is believed to have actually born and spent most of his childhood. In Manipur, this festival is celebrated in two major temples with grand celebrations.

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