Govardhan Pooja is an auspicious festival that occurs a day after Diwali to celebrate the ‘Baal Roop’ of Lord Shri Krishna. The other name of Govardhan is ‘Annakut’ or ‘Annakoot,’ in which devotees worship Govardhan Parvat and offer Chappan Bhog as a mark of gratitude. Lord Krishna lifted Govardhan Parvat on this day to protect the villagers. The pooja initially used to happen in Brijbhoomi only. However, it later gained popularity and became prevalent throughout the country.
When Does The Celebration Happen?
People celebrate Govardhan Pooja after the Laksmi Pooja, which is the fourth day of the 5-day festival of Diwali. According to the Hindu Calendar, Govardhan Pooja falls on the first day of Shukla Paksha of Kartik month. This year, Govardhan Pooja will be celebrated on 14th November 2023.
History Of Govardhan Pooja
The festival of Govardhan Pooja commemorates the incident when Lord Krishna protected the people of his village from the wrath of Indra. According to the story, young Krishna sees villagers preparing offerings for Indra. He asks his father about the same. His father tells him that everyone is thankful to Indra who showers rain, so the offerings are for him. But the little Krishna questions again, saying Indra Dev must shower rain, as it is his duty and that it is the Govardhan hill one should worship as it provides resources and asks nothing in return.
When the villagers agree with Krishna, it makes Indra furious. He starts pouring heavy rains on the people of Brij, scaring them. Krishna, then, lifts the Govardhan hill on his little finger to protect his villagers from heavy rains. For the next seven days, the rain doesn’t stop, and finally, Indra gets tired and accepts his defeat.
On the day of Annakut, devotees offer food to the mountain after doing the ‘Parikrama’ of an eleven-mile path around the parvat and offer flowers and diyas to shrines located in the region.
Govardhan Pooja in Brijbhoomi
The birthplace of Lord Krishna is known as Brijbhoomi, and people celebrate this festival with great enthusiasm. Here is how people celebrate Govardhan Pooja in Brijbhoomi:
- Lord Krishna and Goddess Radha’s idols are given a bath in milk and dressed in new clothes and ornaments in the temples of Mathura and Vrindavan.
- At the start of the pooja, devotees make heaps of cow dung in the form of a mountain. Afterwards, devotees decorate the cow-dung-made mountain with flowers and colours.
- Then, the devotees perform ‘Parikrama’ of the cow dung mountain while doing kirtans.
- They offer prayers and aarti to the Govardhan parvat (mountain) for the protection and happiness of their family.
Govardhan Pooja Celebration All Across India
The temples of Lord Krishna all across the country celebrate this festival by reciting bhajans and kirtans and offering different food, sweets, and flowers to the deities. Devotees eat the prasad. They offer ‘Chappan Bhog’ (56 food items made up of delicacies, sweets, or savouries) to the Govardhan mountain in respect towards Mother Nature.
Govardhan Pooja has different names in different parts of the country. In some places, it is called ‘Bali Pratipada’, ‘Annakut Pooja’, ‘Padva’, and ‘Gujarati New Year.’ In Maharashtra, people celebrate it as ‘Padva’. Other parts of India observe it as ‘Vishwakarma Day.’ On this day, people worship their tools and machines.