Photo Essay

Krishna Janmashtami

Janmashtami Baby Contest Line-up

Like many things Indian, I discovered the Krishna Janmashtami Festival over the past few years. It is by far my favorite Hindu festival with all of the special dances and sweets celebrating the birth (August 28) of Lord Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu.

Lord Krishna is the God of Eternal Love and in that way is comparable to Jesus Christ. Hindus celebrate Janmashtami by fasting and staying up until midnight, the time when Krishna is believed to have been born. Images of Krishna's infancy are placed in swings and cradles in temples and homes. At midnight, devotees gather around for devotional songs, dance and to exchange gifts. Some temples also conduct reading of the Hindu religious scriptures.

In Houston, Texas, the Indian community's joyous annual Janmashtami celebration at our largest convention center includes a Baby Krishna costume competition, much dancing, Dharma and Yoga Fest, the usual parade, prayer called puja, live music, all presided over by the Consul General of India. This year 51 organizations participated.

For me, the most touching scenes are of children rocking Baby Krishna's cradle at the various Hindu Temple booths and the harried but proud Mom's and Dad's preparing and participating with their small children in the Bala Krishna beauty pageant. Even little girls are costumed like a Baby or youthful Krishna playing his flute or his mate, Radha. The costumes are so beautiful; I never tire of photographing the children!

Towards the end of the evening, the giant convention floor is cleared for Raas Garba dancing. Thousands of teenagers and adults flood the dance floor dressed in their finest, most beautiful outfits, twirling and hitting each other's sticks in time to live music. The Raas Garba is a holy stick dance. Sometimes danced with a partner, it can also involve long lines that wind wildly around the room. Others stand in a long line opposite their partner and rhythmically click sticks and twirl. It's unbelievably colorful and exciting!

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20 responses

  • Krishna Dronamraju

    Krishna Dronamraju gave props (14 Sep 2013):

    Excellent Story!

  • Donald Garrett

    Donald Garrett   gave props (14 Sep 2013):

    Voted. Well done. I can't over all the brilliant colors.

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (14 Sep 2013):

    I love the amazing vivid colors of the costumes. Excellent photo essay. Voting!


    PINAKI SARKAR said (17 Sep 2013):


  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (18 Sep 2013):

    Dear Michele... You are a good soul and you have narrated so nicely, some of the activity of children you have narrated so nicely. Lots of appreciations and bleesings friom Lord Krishna. God Bless!!! Vote for sure.....

  • Richard Knight

    Richard Knight gave props (19 Sep 2013):

    Photos and narrative -- what joy and wonderment!

  • Richard Knight

    Richard Knight gave props (19 Sep 2013):


  • Michele Wambaugh

    Michele Wambaugh   said (20 Sep 2013):

    Thank you so much, Saroj, Don, Andrea, Pinaki, Richard & Krishna!

  • Shannon Burch

    Shannon Burch gave props (21 Sep 2013):

    What beautiful color rich photo's! Love the story! Voyed!

  • Geoff Plant

    Geoff Plant   gave props (21 Sep 2013):



    ROCIO GUILLEN   gave props (21 Sep 2013):

    Beautiful! Voted.

  • Krishna Dronamraju

    Krishna Dronamraju gave props (23 Sep 2013):

    My favorite story!

  • Michele Wambaugh

    Michele Wambaugh   said (23 Sep 2013):

    Thank you Shannon, Geoff, Rocio & Krishna!

  • Cindy Romero

    Cindy Romero gave props (23 Sep 2013):

    Wonderful essay, gorgeous photos, voted!

  • rekha nag

    rekha nag gave props (23 Sep 2013):

    Great job Michele!! You have really enjoyed the festival and have described it so well. Appreciation & voted!

  • Michele Wambaugh

    Michele Wambaugh   said (26 Sep 2013):

    Thank you!

  • Geoff Plant

    Geoff Plant   gave props (29 Sep 2013):


  • Deborah Downes

    Deborah Downes   gave props (9 Oct 2013):

    Fascinating and beautiful. Sure gets my vote.

  • Davide Simone

    Davide Simone   said (31 Mar 2014):

    Excellent Story!

  • David Delannoy

    David Delannoy said (31 Mar 2014):

    magnifique histoire des visages ! David

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