Bangalore: It was an occasion when piety and gaiety were clearly intertwined. As the devout, many of whom kept a fast, went about their prayers and rituals, there was much room for mirth and colour too. All this was true to the day they were commemorating, Krishna Janmashtami.
The City’s temples had made room for both prayers and joyous celebrations. In fact, the deity, whose birthday is Janmashtami, stood for fun as well as serious thought – as a naughty, smart and affectionated kid and the serious teacher who touched upon everything under the sun, through Gita, the Song Celestial.
As the City’s temples came alive with flowers and lights of every hue, people thronged them on Wednesday, like they have done on this festival year after year for eons on end.
The queues only lengthened as dusk approached. It was as if little children had incarnated themselves as Krishna, resplendent in the trademark silk dhotis in ordered sizes, with a flute and peacock feathers for the headgear thrown in. There were discourses to give food for thought.
The Venugopala Krishnaswamy Temple at Malleswaram, one of the oldest in the City, wore a grand look. Chief priest of the temple, Madhava Narasimha Bhatt said, “We have elaborate poojas, extending up to a fortnight, each year for Janmashtami. There are poojas and spiritual activities galore to mark the occasion.”
Sneha Gopal, one of the devotees, said, her family considers this festival special for children. “It is the only day when we get to look at cute young children dressed up in Radha and Krishna costumes. The temple witnesses around 30,000 devotees on this day.
The speciality in this temple is that there is a competition for breaking curds-filled pots placed at a height.”
Towards evening, there was a serpentine queue of devotees at the Puttige Mutt on Bull Temple Road. Among the crowd were students seeking divine blessings.
“This time too, we have several competitions and events planned for children as we want more youngsters to participate,” said the Puttige Mutt temple administrator. “We take pride in being part of the festival mood at the temple,” said Anantha Murthy, a devotee, as others were busy poring over religious books on sale at the stall there.
Around 1,200 people performed ‘koti laksharchane’ and recited ‘Vishnu Sahasranama’ from 6 am to 12 noon at Poornaprajna Vidyapeetha. The secretary of the Vidyapeetha, Keshavachar, said, “A ratha yatra has been planned so that everyone gets a glimpse of the tastefully decorated Krishna idol. We request the devotees to pray for world peace.”
The Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) had organised fancy dress and drawing competitions for children at the KMF complex to mark the occasion. More than 200 students participated and winners walked away with cash prizes. Several schools held contests for children dressed as Krishna and other cultural events.
The Iskcon temple is celebrating the festival for three days from August 27 to 29.