Traditionally, the festival of Sri Krishna Jayanthi is one that commemorates the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna. But to the populace of Coastal karnataka, it is a time to celebrate with fun and frolic. Popular traditions include Mosaru Kudike or what is called Dahi Handi in Northern India and another is Hulivesha which is a tiger dance.
Streets in the city are transformed to fit the mood of festivities. The Sri Krishna Mutt or Temple in Udupi has made it a prominent tradition. This temple has a pleasing idol of Balakrishna holding his churning rod and rope in either hands. Competitions are held each year to express their love for this mischievous avatar of little Krishna. A fancy dress competition called ‘Muddu Krishna’ is held in the same theme. Children are divided categorically according to their age groups and are allowed to participate in Moodu Krishna, Balakrishna and Kishore Krishna competitions respectively depending on whether they are below 3 years, 5 years or 8 years respectively. They come on stage with their peacock feathered turbans while onlookers gaze at them in joy. Delicacies like Chakkulis and laddus are shared among worshippers. In Udupi, what is called as Mosaru Kudike is a part of the grand celebration of Udupi’s Vittal Pindi which is celebrated a day after Krishna Janmashtami.
The clay idol of Lord Krishna is carried in a chariot and halted in parts of the street decorated as gopuras. Milk and milk products hung in these gopuras is meant to remind one of Lord Krishna’s love for cow’s milk and his habit of breaking earthen pots containing curd, milk and butter. People dressed in traditional attire try to break these pots while the crowd cheers them on. The crowd may include devotees and visitors who are eager to witness the men representing Yadavas in friendly competition force their way to the earthen pots at the gopuras while the chariot and the charioteers wait.
Another part of this festival and a means of entertainment for the people of Coastal Karnataka is the Huli vesha. This is where people dressed as tigers dance in front of the chariot carrying the idol of Krishna to embody the true folk culture of the area. When the Chakkulis and laddus are distributed in the procession, another friendly competition is that of devotees trying to catch them. Another part of the festival includes climbing of the 60 ft tall greased areca palm placed near what is called the kanaka gopura, to attain food items and money tied at the top. At the temple, the idol is taken out of the chariot and immersed in the Madhwa Sarovara pond concludes the Vittal Pindi festival.
Unfortunately for those who look forward to this festival each year, 2020 will not satisfy them due to dangers of spreading the Corona Virus. Though, devotees celebrate Krishna Janmastami in their own homes with feasts prepared by family members and look forward to celebrating the same with grand fervor next year. Our team wishes everyone the best for the festival and hopes that everyone would follow social distancing guidelines.