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Govardhan Puja Festival

GOVARDHAN PUJA: COMMEMORATING LORD KRISHNA'S HEROIC DEED

Place of celebration: Northern India

A day after the noisy mid night celebrations on Lakshmi Puja night, the festival of lights celebration goes on for the next two days. Well, the families and friends meet each other, feast on delicious meals and have a relaxing. But for the North Indians, it is not an exception. They celebrate Govardhan Puja with zeal and enthusiasm.

What is Govardhan Puja?

Govardhan Puja is celebrated just a day after Lakshmi Puja in North Indian states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. This festival is an occasion to worship Lord Krishna and Govardhan Parbat. It is to commemorate the heroic act of lifting Mountain Govardhan, a tiny hillock near Braj, by Lord Krishna.

What is The Legend Behind Govardhan Puja?

According to India's ancient Vishnu Puranas, it is believed that the people of Gokul celebrated Govardhan Puja in honor of Lord Indra?the Rain God at the end of every monsoon season. During Krishna's growing up days, he instigated the people to stop worshipping Indra to off His Divine Supremacy. Lord Indra, in revenge, wanted to show his power over Krishna and brought about a rainstorm, which send shivers on the local people. But Krishna assured them that no harm would befall them. Krishna, miraculously, He lifted Mount Govardhan with his tiny little finger and sheltered men and beasts from the rain for seven days. This gave him the epithet Govardhandhari. After this, Indra accepted the supremacy of Krishna.

Information on Govardhan Puja - Celebrations

While the whole nation was busy bursting fireworks the night before, staunch believers of Lord Krishna, particularly in Mathura and Nathdwara, in Uttar Pradesh, stay awake the whole night preparing 'bhog' (religious meals) of over fifty six or hundred and eight types of food. The meals range from all kinds of Indian vegetarian menu like cereals, pulses, fruit, vegetables, chutneys, pickles, and salads This religious ceremony is called as 'Annakut' meaning 'mountain of food'. Here, both men and women, prepare with love and devotion the favorite meals of Lord Krishna.

The deities are bathe with milk and are attired in shimmering attires embellished in dazzling ornaments like diamonds, pearls and rubies. Then they are worshipped, offered prayers and bhajans are sung melodiously in praise of Lord Krishna. Delicious sweets, fruits and eatables are ceremoniously raised in the form of a mountain before the idols.

After the prayers, the prepared meals are distributed as prasad. In rural areas, there is s a tradition of building cow dung hillocks, which symbolize the Mount Govardhan. After making such hillocks people decorate them with flowers and then worship them. They move in a circle all round the cow dung hillocks and offer prayers to Lord Govardhan.

However, in other parts of the country, where devotees find it impossible to visit Krishna Temples, they celebrate in their own way at home. They offer gifts to Brahmins and seek his blessings. Cows and bulls are also decorated and worshipped.

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