"When Lord Krsna passed over the public roads, all the ladies from the respectable families of Dvaraka went up to the roofs of their palaces just to have a look at the Lord. They considered this to be the greatest festival.
Purport: To have a look at the Lord is a great festive occasion undoubtedly, as it was considered by the metropolitan ladies of Dvaraka. This is still followed by the devout ladies of India. Especially during the days of the Jhulana and Janmastami ceremonies, the ladies of India still throng up in the greatest number at the temple of the Lord, where His transcendental eternal form is worshiped. The transcendental form of the Lord installed in a temple is not different from the Lord personally. Such a form of the Lord is called arca-vigraha, or arca incarnation, and is expanded by the Lord by His internal potency just to facilitate the devotional service of His innumerable devotees who are in the material world. The material senses cannot perceive the spiritual nature of the Lord, and therefore the Lord accepts the arca-vigraha, which is apparently made of material elements like earth, wood and stone but actually there is no material contamination. The Lord being kaivalya (one alone), there is no matter in Him. He is one without a second, and therefore the Almighty Lord can appear in any form without being contaminated by the material conception. Therefore, festivities in the temple of the Lord, as held generally, are like festivals performed during the manifestive days of the Lord of Dvaraka, about five thousand years ago. The authorized acaryas, who know the science perfectly, install such temples of the Lord under regulative principles just to offer facilities to the common man, but persons who are less intelligent, without being conversant with the science, mistake this great attempt to be idol worship and poke their nose into that to which they have no access. Therefore, the ladies or men who observe festivals in the temples of the Lord just to have a look at the transcendental form are a thousand times more glorious than those who are nonbelievers in the transcendental form of the Lord."
Srimad Bhagavatam 1:11:24
Janmastami is the yearly celebration of Lord Krsna's appearance as the Cowherd Boy of Vraja. In His bluish, two-armed form, Sri Krsna delighted Mother Yasoda, Father Nanda, the cows and cowherd boys, and all the residents of Vrindaban. Wishing to return back home to Godhead with Krsna in his eternal abode, the Vaisnavas celebrate Janmastami as the major festival of the year. Observed in late August or early September, the devotees fast until midnight, which is the hour of the Lord's appearance. In the temples, a great feast is offered, typically featuring 108 or more opulent preparations for the Lord's pleasure.
In honor of Sri Krsna's unlimited opulences as the Darling of Vrindaban, our Janmastami feast begins with Shyam Rice, a savory preparation with bluish hues from currants and poppy seeds, topped with Lotus Bud Butterballs. Shyam Rice goes perfectly with a sumptuous Toor Dal Dhokali, in which savoury chapati dough noodles float about. Sri Krsna's pastimes fighting the demons are celebrated with Bakasura Bread, a fried delight shaped like Baka's beak, held open by Krsna's fist in the form of a crispy chenna ball.
Wet and dry sabji's are offered, including a Brussel Sprout, Chenna and Boondi Sabji in a rich sour cream base, along with a flavorful cauliflower Gobhi Sabji. An ecstatic Urd Dal Bada savory is offered, as it was prepared by Srila Prabhupada for Janmastami in Montreal, 1969. These crunchy urad dal patties with black pepper go perfectly with the tart fruity flavor of Banana Raita.
Remembering Sri Krsna's pastimes in Dwarka, where he melted the hearts of 16,000 wives, we include a delectable, buttery-soft Dwarka Khandvi.
An old favorite, Bitter Melon Chips are a nice compliment on the side.
The Lord's later pastimes on the battlefield are recalled with an amazing Eggplant Brahmastra. Sandwiched between two fried eggplant discs, a pungent mixture of ginger-infused cream cheese with red pepper flakes will stand your hairs on end!
And of course, we are reminded of Srimati Radharani, who is never far from Krsna's side, with a prep much-loved by the devotees - Yamuna devi's Radha Red Chutney.
The feast concludes with two mellow sweets. Mother Yasoda's Sweet Rice is an ambrosial concoction she prepared for Krsna and Balarama with rice, yoghurt, fruits and sweatmeats. Lord Krsna's much-loved Lugdoos, and a tart Thandhai Anise Cooler round out a nectarian Janmastami feast.