Mathura, Aug 27 (IANS) Preparations for Wednesday's Krishna Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna, have reached a crescendo in the whole of Braj region of Uttar Pradesh, with temples all decked up and devotees thronging the area for a glimpse of the deities.
People from all parts of India have thronged the Yamuna ghats, despite heightened security. Braj comprises Mathura, Agra, Bharatpur and Hathras districts.
The main focus of the 5,239th birthday of Krishna will be at Mathura's Sri Krishna Janambhoomi.
Krishna, one of the 24 avatars of Hindu god Vishnu, is worshipped by millions of devouts the world over.
"For the Vaishnavs, Janmashtami is the most important festival. Special pakwans (dishes), laddoos, dry fruits, 'panjeeri', 'panchamrit' are being prepared. Most people fast and eat only after the midnight birth of Krishna," Pandit Madhukar Chaturvedi told IANS.
Heavily surrounded by security personnel, the Janambhoomi campus in Mathura itself looks like the demon Kansa's jail, where Krishna was born. The whole campus has been lit up and decorated with flowers.
The Yamuna river ghats in Mathura are filled to the brim by a flood of pilgrims.
Though the hot and sultry weather may affect the festival, "we are hoping the clouds will come and give us some relief", said Ramesh, a pilgrim from Gujarat.
Special "Raslila" programmes are being daily enacted by artistes under the guidance of Swami Sri Ram Sharma Nimai.
"This year, there will be special spraying of herbal scents in the sanctum sanctorum. A number of generators will provide the power backup in case of a breakdown. Devotees will be provided cool water and prasad," said Kapil Sharma, secretary of Sri Krishna Janm Sthan Sewa Sansthan.
Gopal Das, president of the Sansthan Nritya, will perform the main 1,008 pushp shringar aarti (special floral ritual) around midnight.
Faced with an acute demand for flowers, some temples like the Janambhoomi's Keshav Dev temple have made arrangements for supplies from Kolkata and Bangalore.
Both in Vrindavan and Mathura, a whole lot of "kirtans", "satsangs" and "Raslilas" have been planned, with famous seers lined up to create a truly divine ambience.
The Panchamat Abhishekam (holy ritual) at the famous Dwarkadheesh temple in Mathura will be held early Wednesday.
Police personnel and intelligence units have cordoned off the area around the Janambhoomi campus and pilgrims are being thoroughly screened.
The state road transport corporation will run extra buses to ease traffic pressure in Mathura and Vrindavan.
Half a dozen trains will stop at Bhuteshwar, close to the Janambhoomi in Mathura. Some trains will have an extended run till Jhansi to clear the rush, officials said.
(Brij Khandelwal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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