Krishna Janmashtami or Krishnashtami is observed by the Hindus in Nepal, India and rest of the world. It is an annual festival that celebrates the birth of Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu according to the Hindu mythology. People believe that Krishna took birth to destroy the evils from the earth in that era. The celebration takes place on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in the month of Shrawan and during August-September of the Gregorian calendar.
More than eighty percent of the population of Nepal are Hindu devotees and celebrate Krishna Janmashtami today. They have a custom to celebrate Janmashtami by fasting until midnight. The devotees recite the popular religious book ‘Bhagavad Gita’ in dedication of lord Krishna. They sing religious songs called ‘bhajans’ and ‘kirtans’ that praise and describe the mischievous childhood of Krishna. They also perform dance together with the songs.
Krishna was the son of Devaki and Vasudeva and Hindus celebrate his birthday as Janmashtami. Krishna took birth in an era when evil was present everywhere. After Krishna’s midnight hour birth, statues of baby Krishna are washed, clothed and placed in a cradle. The devotees then break their fast by sharing food and sweets. Some communities also celebrate and enjoy Krishna’s legends. They organize dance-drama events called ‘Rasa Lila’ or ‘Krishna Lila’ on this special day.
Many Indian pilgrims wish to visit the Pashupatinath Temple in the month of Shrawan. The festival season in Nepal starts from Shrawan (July-August). There are some popular pilgrimage tours available by the tour operators in Kathmandu. The tour mostly includes the major temples and shrines in Kathmandu. Among them, stone temple of lord Krishna in Patan is a major site during the season.