Govardhan Puja is an auspicious and grand festival celebrated in India and all over the world.

Govardhan Hill, Mathura
Top view of Govardhan Parvat, Govardhan (Mathura)

Namaste!

Welcome to the world of engrossed and resolute readings at www.onindianpath.com. Today I am going to share few insights about Govardhan puja celebrated on 4th day of five day long Diwali festival. I have been discussing the rituals, traditions and festivities in different series for last few months.

Introduction

As we all know Hinduism is the largest and oldest religion in the world. Hinduism is very vast and has many festivals all around the year. Apparently, all the Hindus, celebrate each and every moment and festival with great pride and joyousness.

Although coming to today’s topic – Govardhan puja is one of its kind. Infact, this festival is popularly called Annakut in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan.

Legends of Govardhan Puja

According to Bhagwad Purana, there is a famous legend behind the Govardhan Puja celebration.

Further, young Lord Krishna used to live in Brij region of Mathura. And, he used to live with his family and friends in a village called Vrindavan. Lord Indra (god of rains) was a prominent God in that region.

Although people used to worship Lord Indra for required rains in harvesting region. As agriculture was the main profession of the people.

Once upon a time, Lord Indra became haughty of his power and position in Swarg Lok (heaven). Then, Lord Krishna asked all the villagers and farmers including his parents to not to worship Lord Indra. lnstead, start worshipping the Govardhan mountain as it provides us shelter, food for our cattle and flora and fauna. On this, Lord Indra became furious and he started pouring storms, thunderbolts and lots of rain on the region. It resulted into great floods and destroyed every thing from houses to lands to everything. Thus, at this moment to save the people, flock, cattle and villagers, Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Parvat on his Pinky finger to save people from the torrential rains.

Moreover, it is believe that he lifted the Govardhan Parvat for seven days continuously without a break. This made Lord Indira realise his mistake. Apparently, Lord Indra ask for the apologies to Lord Krishna and Lord Krishna forgave him. Hence this day is celebrated as Govardhan puja.

Date and Timings of Govardhan Puja

Hindu panchang tells us that Govardhan Puja is celebrated on the pratipada of shukla paksha of Kartik maas. This year it will fall on 2 November 2024.

Additionally, tithi will begin at 6:16 PM on 1 November 2024 and ends at 8:21 PM on 2 November 2024. The prataha kaal Govardhan Puja muhurat will start at 6:34 AM and ends at 8:46 AM.

Rituals and Traditions of Govardhan Puja

Certainly, I am going to share some of the key rituals and traditions associated with Govardhan Puja here.

Anakut Preparation

Devotees prepare Annakut as one of the prime rituals of Govardhan Puja. Apparently they prepare a kut of Anna means mountain of food to be offered to Lord Krishna as a sign of paying homage and gratitude. Devotees include various food items, such as rice, grains, sweets, fruits and vegetables in it. This represents the mountain that Lord Krishna lifted.

Annakut is a special delicacy made in Northern Indian primarily of vegetables of all the season to be offered as bhog to Lord Krishna.

Key Features of Govardhan Puja You Can’t Miss

Cow Dung Symbolises Giriraj

Thus, as per ancient practices, devotees make small mounds of cow dung representing hillock Govardhan. Hindus believe that cow dung is auspicious and pious. Cows were very dear to lord Krishna. Hence, devotees decorate the hill with flowers and place a murti (idol) of Lord Krishna at the top. They then perform aarti (ritual of offering light in a clockwise circular way) and sing devotional songs.

Parikrama

Indeed Devotees perform a circumambulation(parikrama) around the Annakut or a representation of the Govardhan Hill. Generally, many devotees also visit Govardhan city to perform parikarma. This act of walking in a circle around the hill is considered an act of devotion and gratitude to lord Krishna for his benevolence.

Devotional Songs and Bhajans

People sing devotional songs and bhajans dedicated to Lord Krishna as a must to do ritual. These bhajans express gratitude and devotion to the deity.

Fasting and Prayers

However at many regional areas, devotees observe a day-long fast on Govardhan Puja. They abstain from consuming grains and certain other foods until the puja is performed. The fast is broken after the Annakut offerings are made to Lord Krishna.

Distribution of Prasadam

After the puja, the offered food items in mountain form become prasadam, considered blessed by the deity. Devotees distribute this prasadam to family members, friends and the community.

Decorations

Homes and temples are adorned with colorful decorations, rangoli (colorful patterns made with colored powders) and flowers to create a festive atmosphere.

Some devotees read passages from scriptures like the Bhagavad Gita or other sacred texts related to Lord Krishna during the Govardhan Puja celebration.

Similarly, I have grown up watching my grandmother making Govardhan Bhagwan with Cow Dung at center of house. For many, it may be outdated. But, for me it holds religious and scientific validity. As we know, cow dung is considered pious and used in puja, hawans and other Hindu worship rituals. And, scientifically speaking, it keeps insects and mosquitoes away.

Significance of Govardhan Puja

Subsequently Govardhan Puja has great relevance in our lives. It is festival embarking the importance of nature in our daily life. This festival is associated with Lord Krishna hence we pay homage and gratitude to him through this festival.

Why is 56 Bhog Offered to Lord Krishna?

Particularly Lord Krishna was fond of makhan and mishri. It is believed that while holding the Govardhan parvat, he ate during all the 8 pahars of all the eight days. His mother, Maiya Yashoda, served him with 56 varieties of eatables during this tenure. He ate different varieties of food hence, 56 food are served him as 56 bhog.

Conclusion

At the end, we can conclude it by acknowledging the existence of nature in our lives. Enjoy Govardhan Puja with great knowledge and enthusiasm this year. Have a blessed read.

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