Those devotees who observe fast on Janmashtami should take only single meal on the day before Janmashtami. On the day of fasting, devotees take Sankalpa and observe a day long fast, which they will break on the next day when both Rohini Nakshatra and Ashtami Tithi are over. However, some devotees break the fast when either Rohini Nakshatra or Ashtami Tithi ends. After finishing the morning rituals, they take Sankalpa and the day long fast starts with Sankalpa.
Nishita Kala is the right time to perform Krishna Puja, which is the midnight as per Vedic time-keeping. During midnight, devotees perform elaborate ritualistic Puja, which involves all sixteen steps that comprise a part of Shodashopachara Puja Vidhi. Krishna Janmashtami Puja Vidhi, describes the detailed Puja steps the Vedic Mantra to perform Janmashtami Puja.
How to perform Lord Krishna Pooja Vidhi / Vidhanam / Process:
Take a holy bath before beginning with the puja rituals. The person keeping the fast must ensure cleanliness of the worship place and purity of heart. Place an image or statue of Lord Krishna’s infant avatar on clean sheet of cloth. Perform Krishna Abhishekam, bathing the statue with milk, curd, sandalwood paste and honey. Offer new clothes and decorations to Lord Krishna, apply vermilion and flowers. Place him on a decorated cradle and swing it gently, while chanting Om Govindaya Namaha. Keep satvik fruits and Prasad in one plate as a holy offering.
Importance of Sri Krishna Janmashtami:
The Kingdom of Mathura was under deep peril and misery under the rule of King Kansa. The merciless king had a sister known as Princess Devaki, whom he loved dearly. He married his little sister to Vasudeva with much splendor and magnificence, when suddenly the cloud roared with a prophecy that the eight son of Devaki and Vasudev would be the cause of his death. The merciless king took over the loving brother and he immediately threw Devaki and Vasudev into the prison or ‘Karaghar’.
The cruel king went on to kill all the six children that Devaki had borne in all those years. However, the seventh child who was informed to be miscarried was mystically transferred to the womb of Princess Rohini in Vrindavan who grew up to become Balram, the elder brother of Lord Krishna. During the birth of Lord Krishna, Vasudev was guided by the Gods and carried the baby to Vrindavan to the house of Nanda and Yasoda. It was a night of frightening thunderstorm and heavy downpour. But Vasudev kept walking with Krishna atop of his head in a basket, braving the storm and the choppy river.
To protect Krishna, Shesh Nag (the Snake God) also quietly rose from behind to cover his lord from the rains, as Vasudeva made his way. When he reached Nanda’s place, Vasudeva kept his son and returned with their girl child born on the same day to present her to King Kansa in the hope that he wouldn’t harm her because the prophecy had said that the eight ‘son’ would be the one to kill him. But the merciless Kansa held the child and tried to throw her against a rock when she rose to the air taking the form of Goddess Durga, warning him about his death. And sure enough, years later, Krishna took the life of Kansa and Mathura was reinstated as a happy kingdom once again.