Janmashtami marks the birth of Lord Krishna the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu on earth. It is celebrated with great fervour every year. According to Hindu mythology whenever the earth is wrought by cruelty and misery, Lord Vishnu descends upon the earth in one of his human avatars. Lord Krishna is one of his avatars who took birth in Mathura to Devaki and Vasudeva to kill his cruel uncle Kansa. Lord Krishna is known by countless names - Govinda, Balgopal, Jagadguru, Manmohan, Murlimanohar, Krishna, Kanhaiya, Gopal, Nandlal, Brijesh. No matter what you call him, Makhan Chor spreads joy and peace amid the mayhem. Did you know that little Krishna was also called 'Makhan Chor', owing to his love for butter.
Krishna Janmashtami is one of the major festivals in the Hindu calendar. This year India is celebrating Janmashtami on 12 August. Different regions in India celebrate this auspicious festival in their own way. Most people do fasting on an entire day. People stay up till midnight to break their fast and recite bhajans for Lord Krishna as it is believed that Lord Krishna was born on 12 AM. If you want to know how Janmashtami is celebrated in different parts of India then do read the blog Janmashtami celebrations across India.
In spite of his pranks Krishna was everybody's favourite in the neighbourhood. On the occasion of Janmashtami let’s recall the story behind the Chappan Bhog offered to Lord Krishna on Janmashtami. One time he saved his entire town from the torrential rains by lifting Mount Govardhan on his little finger. This episode is one of the most famous legends of Hindu mythology and is also tied with the famous practice of offering Lord Krishna 56 types of prasads also called “Chappan Bhog” (56 different offerings). Worshippers prepare 56 types of prasads and offer it to their beloved deity on occasions like Janmashtami and Govardhan puja. You must be wondering why 56 and not any other number? Keep reading the blog to know the legend behind this.
Legend behind Chappan Bhog
According to Hindu texts people in Vrindavan followed a practice of offering lavish meals to Lord Indra (God of rain and storm) to please him so that they are blessed with good monsoon and harvest every year. Lord Krishna found this practice to be harsh for the farmers who cannot afford the lavish food. Then he persuaded the villagers to stop making these offerings to Lord Indra. Lord Indra got angry due to the lack of food offered and triggered tremendous rainfall and thunderstorm in Vrindavan. The rain and storm continued for months that led to the flooding of the houses, displacement of the people from their loved ones. Fearing for their lives, the villagers approached little Krishna for help who then asked everyone to proceed to the Govardhan hill.
Lord Krishna then lifted the Govardhan Parvat with his little finger. The rain continued till 7 days and the little Makhan chor held the entire hill on his little finger for all 7 days. In Fact he did not even consume any food. Eventually Lord Indra had to stop the rains in Vrindavan. It is said that Mother Yashoda used to feed Sri Krishna 8 times a day. As soon as the rain subsided all the people offered a total 56 dishes to compensate for 7 days of abstinence, out of gratitude.
The lavish spread of 56 dishes consists of Lord Krishna's favourite dishes. As legend has it, devotees prepare the Chappan Bhog on Janmashtami to please Krishna and as an act of respect for his sacrifice. On this day devotees wake up early and start preparing the Bhog in the morning. Chappan Bhog includes cereal, fruits, dry fruits, sweets, drinks, namkeen and pickles. Some of the common items found in the Chappan Bhog are makhan mishri, kheer, rasgulla, jeera ladoo, jalebi, rabri, mathri, malpua, mohanbhog, chutney, murabba, saag, dahi, rice, dal, kadhi, ghewar, chila, papad, moong dal ka halwa, pakoda, khichadi, brinjal ka sabji, lauki ka sabji, poori, badam milk, tikkis, cashews, almonds, pistachios and elaichi among others.
The traditional bhog comprises 16 snacks, 20 sweets and 20 kinds of dry fruits but the first bhog offered is makhan mishri. The bhog is arranged in a particular sequence like milk items are placed first followed by savoury items and sweets in the end. It is first offered to Lord Krishna and then distributed among the devotees & priests.
Now you know why devotees of Lord Krishna follow the tradition of Chappan Bhog and prepare plethora of delicacies for the deity. Here’s wishing you all a very Happy Janmashtami!! Let’s celebrate this Krishna Janmashtami with the loved ones by preparing Chappan Bhog delights. For quick ticket booking experience, book your train and flight tickets through Trainman app. Download Trainman App and check PNR Status of the booked ticket, Seat Availability, Train Running Status, Train between Stations and lot more.