In India, festivals are known for the excitement they generate. This year, however, the celebrations will be a lot more subdued due to the global pandemic, which necessitates avoiding large social gatherings and religious sites. Recently, more than 700 employees of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) were infected with COVID-19 after the temple was opened for devotees. Instances like these are a reminder that it is necessary to adapt to the new normal if we have to avoid a major catastrophe in future.
The festival of Janmashtami is almost upon us. In these unusual circumstances, here is how you can stay at home and celebrate the day, to keep the festive spirit alive.
Online Darshans for Janmashtami
From online school classes to online corporate meetings, the Internet has turned out to be everyone’s saviour in the lockdown. Several temples are also organising e-pujas and darshans. Here’s a list:
JKYog Janmashtami Mahotsav, Dallas
For those interested in watching renowned artists perform devotional chants, head to JKYog’s Youtube channel on Aug 11-12. The event will feature various festive events associated with Janmashtami. Viewers can also enjoy the performance of award-winning artistes like Vidushi Indrani Mukherjee, Vidwan Dr Vijaykumar Krishnan, Vidushi and Debamitra Sengupta perform.
You can register here.
Hare Krishna Temple, Ahmedabad
On August 12, this temple will organise various functions and broadcast them on YouTube and Facebook. It will begin at 8 am and close at 1 am.
Click here to register.
Home-Made Decorations For Janmashtami
While the government and temple authorities are coming up with feasible solutions, common citizens are not far behind. They have found creative ways to celebrate.
“For the last 40 odd years, I have been visiting temples during Janmashtami and I love seeing the colourful and glittery decorations. This year I have chosen to stay at home and turn my fascination into reality. I made 3-4 decoration variations for Lord Krishna,” says Mumbai-based Swati Harsora, a homemaker.
The ardent gardening enthusiast has built her mini-temple entirely from home-grown vegetables like okra, tendi, lemon, chillies and bitter gourd. “I repurposed artificial grass and used it as a backdrop and the jhula (swing) is made from cardboard,” she adds.
Meanwhile, Kalpana from Rajasthan decided to upcycle her household items, to celebrate the festival.
“I built Gokul Dham, Krishna’s birthplace in two days. We created a colourful hut using cartons and colourful papers, and used newspapers to make jhula (swing). We also made a cow shed using a shoebox, and pots (matkis) from paper clay. We reused paper to make flowers and leaves and also got some grass from our garden. My daughter and I will have a matki breaking competition,” Kalpana, a homemaker tells The Better India.
Learn Kalpana’s DIY ideas here.
For children who wish to perform the Dahi-handi breaking ritual, here are the steps:
- Get an earthen pot from a nursery and paint or decorate it. If you do not have a clay pot, you can make one from five layers of newspapers.
- Take a nylon rope or a dupatta and tie it at a certain height in your balcony or in a room.
- Take a thin dupatta or scarf and tie one end of it around the neck of the pot. Tie the second end to the rope you made in the balcony.
- Fill the pot with curd, sweets or chocolates.
- Dress up and break the pot!
Recipe: Thor by Swati Harsora
Thor or saata is a Gujarati sweet dish offered to Lord Krishna, on Janmashtami. It is a deep-fried pastry dipped in chashni (a thick sugary glaze).
Time taken: 20 minutes.
- 1 cup white flour (maida)
- 2 tbsp rava
- 3 tbsp warm desi ghee or 2 tbsp oil
- Sugar glaze (from 1 cup sugar and 3-4 tbsp water)
- 2-3 tbsp chopped pistachio
- 1 tbsp edible dried rose petals
How to Make
- Make a hard dough from half cup water, white flour and rava.
- Divide the flour in small golf size balls and make tiny pooris (thors). Prick the pooris with a knife or fork.
- Fry them in ghee or oil on a slow flame till it turns brown and crispy.
- Keep each poori separate on a plate and let them cool.
- To make the sugar glaze, add water and sugar in a non-stick pan and stir the mix till the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Once it is ready and thick, dip the thor one by one into it so that it is coated completely with sugar.
- Garnish the dish with rose petals and pistachio nuts and let it cool for 30 minutes till the glaze turns white.
- Store in an airtight container.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)