While hundreds of Govinda groups will build pyramids and break dahi handis on Monday, families celebrated Janmashtami, the occasion of Lord Krishna’s birth, with their own festive rituals at homes and in temples at midnight on Sunday.
In Ghatkopar, the six-member Shah family had hidden an idol of Baal Gopal (baby Krishna), which they brought out at midnight, bathed in milk and honey, and dressed in new clothes.
“In keeping with tradition, each of us rocked the cradle in which baby Krishna was kept,” said Khushali Shah, 24, a freelance interior designer. “My nephews lso enacted the scene of the Lord’s childhood attempts to steal butter and curd from earthern pots.”
Nita Kotak, 40, prepared for Janmashtami for a week. “We made prasad from coriander seeds, sugar and dry coconut, to give to our neighbours and friends at the temple at midnight,” said Kotak who recited hymns on Krishna at her local Panvel temple on Sunday night, and will observe a fast on Monday. “The fast is traditionally observed to mark the Lord’s birth.”
Ranchhod Patel, 45, was among the thousands of devotees participating in the midnight celebrations at Juhu’s Iskcon temple. “We sang bhajans and danced to their tunes to celebrate the Lord’s birth,” said Patel, who will keep his provisions store in Andheri (West) closed on Monday to celebrate the festival.
At Iskcon, which is expecting more than six lakh devotees between Sunday and Monday, police security has been beefed up in light of the July 13 bomb blasts, said Parijata Devi Dasi, the spokesperson for the temple. “We have organised a cup of halwa for devotees as prasad, a symbol of the mercy of God.”
On Sunday evening, Iskcon also held a concert by classical flautist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasiya as part of its annual Radha-Krishna festival.