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Gokulashtami or Gokul Ashtami (Janmashtami or Sri Krishna Jayanti) celebrates the birthday of Lord Sri Krishna. Gokulashtami is celebrated with great fervor in South India.
In Tamilnadu, the people decorate the floor with kolams (decorative pattern drawn with rice batter). Geetha Govindam and other such devotional songs are sung in praise of Lord Krishna. They draw the footprints of Lord Krishna from the threshold of the house to the temple, which depicts the arrival of Lord Krishna into the house. A recitation of Bhagwadgita is also a popular practise. The offerings made to Lord Krishna include fruits, betel and butter. Savories believed to be Lord Krishna's favorites are prepared with great care. The most important of them are Seedai, Sweet Seedai, Verkadalai Urundai. The festival is celebrated in the evening as Lord Krishna was born at midnight. Most people observe a strict fast on this day and eat only after the midnight puja.
Andhra Pradesh State
Recitation of shlokas and devotional songs are the characteristics of this festival. Another unique feature of this festival is that young boys are dress up as Lord Krishna and they visit neighbors and friends. Different varieties of fruits and sweets are first offered to Lord Krishna and after the puja, these sweets are distributed amongst the visitors. The people of Andhra Pradesh observe a fast too.
Various kinds of sweets are made to offer Gokulnandan on this day. Murukku and Seeddai are prepared in Tamil Nadu. Eatables made of milk and curd are prepared to make offerings to Lord Krishna. Joyful chanting of Lord's name takes place in quite a few temples of the state. The number of temples dedicated to Sri Krishna are few. The reason being that people have taken to worship him through paintings and not idols.
The Rajagopalaswami Temple in Mannargudi in the Tiruvarur district, Bala Krishna temple at Udupi, Pandavadhoothar temple in Kanchivaram and Krishna temple at Guruvayurare dedicated to the memory of Vishnu's incarnation as Sri Krishna. Legend has it that it in Guruvayure that the idol of Sri Krishna was installed after the city of Dwarka submerged in the sea.