Diwali is celebrated in several parts of the country. It is one of the biggest festivals in the country and celebrations last for five days, starting with Dhanteras (which is being celebrated today) and concluding with Bhai Dooj. One of these festivals is Govardhan Puja, which is also known as Annakoot. It occurs on the day after Diwali to commemorate the baal roop (child form) of Lord Krishna. On this day, people worship Govardhan Hill (in Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura) and prepare and offer a large variety of vegetarian food to Krishna as a mark of gratitude.
When is Govardhan Puja 2023?
The day is celebrated on the next day of Diwali. This year, the festival of lights (Diwali 2023) will be celebrated on Sunday (November 12), so Govardhan Puja will fall on Monday (November 13).
The festival encourages a sense of community and environmental responsibility, promoting the idea that small, collective efforts can lead to significant positive changes.
Why is Govardhan Puja celebrated? The history
This celebration is rooted in the legendary tale from the Bhagavata Purana. According to the popular story, Lord Krishna encouraged the people of Vrindavan to worship Govardhan Hill instead of making offerings to the rain god, Indra.
When he learned about this, Indra became furious and unleashed a torrential downpour upon Vrindavan. To protect the residents, Lord Krishna lifted the entire Govardhan Hill on his little finger, providing a shelter for the people and animals.
This event symbolises the power of faith, devotion, and the importance of living in harmony with nature. Govardhan Puja, observed the day after Diwali, is a time when devotees create elaborate replicas of Govardhan Hill using food items.
Significance of Govardhan Puja
The symbolic offerings represent gratitude for the Earth’s bounty and reinforce the values of humility and environmental stewardship.
Beyond its mythological origins, Govardhan Puja is a celebration of community, sharing, and recognising the abundance of nature. It encourages people to appreciate the resources provided by the Earth and foster a sense of responsibility towards the environment. In essence, Govardhan Puja resonates with the teachings of interconnectedness and reverence for the natural world.
How Govardhan Puja is celebrated?
The puja starts with devotees making heaps of cow dung cakes in the form of a hill, which represents Mount Govardhan and decorate it with different colours and festivals.
They also perform a parikrama (moving around the mound) while chanting hymns and mantras.
The devotees also offer prayers and aarti to the symbolic Govardhan mountain.
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