Krishna Janmashtami 2023: Date, History, Significance And More
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In the month of Bhadrapad, on the Ashtami tithi, Krishna Janmashtami or Krishna Jayanti is celebrated to mark the birth of Lord Krishna. Also known as Gokulashtami, the festival falls on September 6 this year beginning at 3:37 PM and ending at 4:14 PM on September 7, with earnest devotees fasting in anticipation, to follow ancient traditions. As per the scriptures, Lord Krishna was born in the middle of the night in a prison cell in Mathura – to Devaki and Vasudev, post which he was carried to Vrindavan, where he grew up under the watchful eyes of Yashoda and Nanda Maharaj.

Devaki, who was imprisoned with her husband, by King Kansa – her older brother, had six other children before Krishna was born, that were all killed by the evil king due to a prophecy that announced his death. As a result of this, the birth day of Lord Krishna is said to signify the triumph of good over evil, while also propagating the idea of unadulterated devotion and belief in a higher force. In India, the festival is observed by many, who celebrate in communal ways – one of them being the dahi handi.

What is essentially a pot filled with yoghurt, coins, flowers and more, the dahi handi is a recreation of Lord Krishna’s childhood pastime where he was known to steal butter, yoghurt and milk from the house of the gopis, along with his cowherd friends. In contemporary times, human pyramids are formed, where groups of young boys and men stand on top of one another, handing a coconut to the person standing right on top, encouraging him to break the pot before the pyramid collapses.

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Devotees also observe a fast, drinking only water or consuming fruit until midnight, following which, an aarti – holy fire offering takes place. This is followed by grand festivities where delicious food is distributed and eaten, along with singing of spiritual hymns and dancing. Here are five milk sweets to prepare on the occasion and bring in the festival:


A delicacy similar to curd-rice, gopalkala is made by combining beaten rice, yoghurt, cucumbers, pomegranate arils, green chillies, coconut and a few spices. Eaten specially after breaking the day-long fast to cool the system down, the refreshing flavours of this dish can be made even better with the addition of freshly churned cream.


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A sweet, hung curd preparation known to be one of Lord Krishna’s favourites, the shrikhand is a classic Gujarati and Maharashtrian delicacy. Flavoured with cardamom, saffron and even fresh fruit, on occasion, the dessert can be eaten on its own or enjoyed with piping hot puris. The creamy, luxurious-tasting mixture is also one of the offerings made to the deity, before it is distributed among devotees.

Makhan Mishri

Since Lord Krishna is fondly referred to as makhan chor – or butter-stealing thief – fresh white butter is mixed with rock candy that is coarsely ground, to make an offering. Eaten on its own, this mixture of butter and sugar is one of the most popular delicacies enjoyed on the festive occasion and shared with family and friends as prasadam – or religious remnants of food.


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As the name suggests, the panchamrit is made with five ‘elixirs’ of Ayurveda – milk, ghee, yoghurt, honey and sugar. Considered to be a holy drink that is consumed after deities of Lord Krishna are bathed in each of these ingredients, this cooling beverage is also scented with rose water or fresh flower petals in some places.

Papite Ka Halwa

A fruity sweet treat made with a combination of ripe papaya, rice flour, ghee, sugar and cardamom, the halwa is known to be a rich Indian dessert preparation that is savoured on Janmashtami. Based on what kind of recipe is used to make the halwa, milk solids (khoya) and dry fruits are also added to give the dish additional richness and its buttery texture.