Janmashtami, (as it is casually known) is one of the most popular festivals of Hindus which celebrates the birth of their beloved God, Sri Krishna. Detailed story of Janmashtami or Lord Krishna's birth has been narrated in Puranas. Please read here for details.
Sri Krishna was born in the month of Sravana more than 5000 years ago. According to some scholars, Krishna was born on Wednesday, the eighth day (Ashtami) of the second fortnight in Sravana month in the year of Visvavasu around 3227 BC, also known as Dwapur Yug. He lived for 125 years and his departure was the onset of the current corrupt age known as Kaliyug (that we are in right now). Source: here
Shri Krishna has uncountable names and forms that devotees pray to. In Kerala Krishna is prayed in the form of Guruwayurappan.
The word Guruvayurappan, meaning Lord of Guruvayur, comes from the words Guru referring to Brihaspati, the Guru of the Devas, Vayu, the God of Wind and Appan, meaning father or Lord in Malayalam. Since Guru (Brahaspati) and Vayu Deva is said to have installed Lord Krishna's statue, the name Guruvayurappan was given to the lord. Although many temples of Guruvayurappan exist, the oldest and most famous of them all is located in the town of Guruvayur, Kerala, India.
Guruwayoorappan pic source
Lord Krishna at Guruvayur, a city located in Trichur district in Kerala, India, is worshipped as Lord Guruvayurappan. It is believed that the idol of Lord Guruvayurappan was worshipped by Vasudeva, father of Lord Krishna and represents the full manifestation of Lord Maha Vishnu. The idol is made of a stone called "Patala Anjanam" or black bismuth and is in the standing pose with 4 arms carrying the shanku (conch), the chakra (discus), the gada (mace) and padma (lotus). Guruvayur is also hailed as "Bhooloka Sri Vaikuntham" where the Lord reveals himself to his devotees in the same majestic form in which he welcomes them in Vaikuntha, his celestial abode. Source: Wikipedia
See the beatiful oil lamps that are lit around the temple ay Guruwayoor here
Since Krishna loves sweets things made of milk and milk products, so a post on his favourite ‘pedas’ was inevitable on Soul Food. This is also a very easy recipe, as its made in the microwave. This Krishna prashad is a regular at Ramayan poojas and Janamashtami at our house.
What you need:
- 4 cups full cream milk powder
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups milk (full cream)
- 2 tsp elaichi (cardamom) powder
- a few tsp ghee to combine the pedas
What you need to do:
1. Dissolve the sugar and elaichi powder in the milk to make a syrup. Microwave it until the sugar dissolves.
2. Use the syrup to combine the milk powder to make a very soft dough. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Use a knife and spoon to cut into the dough to see if it has changed colour. It should slightly darken( go from cream colour to light caramel). The mixture will also get drier as you go along.
3. Microwave for another 4 minutes and check again, if the dough has cooked or not. If it has not, microwave it further in 2 rounds of 2 minutes, checking to see if the peda mixture is cooked. At the end of these rounds, it would definitely have been cooked through.
4. Let it cool until it is warm enough to handle by hand. Grate it finely with a grater. Use ghee in your hands and shape into pedas and keep for bhog. If the mixture is too wet, dry dessicated coconut can be added to firm them up. If the mixture is too dry, you can add splashes of milk to soften the mixture.
The pedas can be decorated with silver vark. Put pedas for bhog on Krishna Janmashtami and then feast on them later! This makes about 25 – 30 pedas.