Govardhan Puja also goes by the name of Annakut Puja or Bali Pratipada. It occurs in the Kartik month of the Hindu calendar, which correlates to October-November in the Gregorian calendar. The Annakut Festival comes after Diwali. Annakut primarily signifies a ‘heap of food’. During this occasion, a vegetarian feast is prepared and offered to the mound made of mud. This puja is performed with great pomp in the northern part of India. The Govardhan Puja date for 2016/17 is 31st October and 20th October respectively.
Importance and Significance of Govardhan Puja
The main essence behind the Govardhan Puja is to rejoice the triumph of Lord Krishna’s knowledge over Lord Indra's arrogance. The story of Krishna defeating Indra has been told since time immemorial and finds a mention in relevant Hindu texts as well. Lord Krishna imparted the knowledge of worshipping nature, as it is nature that feeds and supports us. Lord Krishna is worshipped during this period as he advised people to worship the mountain and tend to it instead of making superfluous sacrifices. It also celebrates the fact that Krishna protected so many people and sheltered them from the wrath of Indra. The ‘heap of food’ is symbolic of the ‘Govardhan Mountain’. It is a way of reinforcing their strength in God and acknowledging Him as the real protector who will save them in the most critical phases of their life.
Benefits of Govardhan Puja
Puja’s are known for showering people with sanctity. However, this puja is mainly done to reinforce the faith in God as The Ultimate Saviour. The benefit if this puja could be classified as
- It is believed to remove misery
- A person never falls short of food
- An individual is showered with intellect, awareness, and knowledge
- Lastly, it instills qualities of honesty and productivity
History and Stories
Lord Krishna’s life is full of fascinating tales. One such story is in the Bhagavata Purana that talks of his valour and fabricates the reason as to why the Govardhan festival is celebrated. As the story goes, Lord Vishnu incarnated as Lord Krishna in the ancient town of Braj where he was taken care by Nandji and Yashoda. One day, he saw all the villagers along with Nandji preparing a lot of food and happened to ask him the reason behind the arrangement of such a huge feast. Krishna found it discriminatory when he learnt that it was an act to please Lord Indra so that he could bless them with rain. If they did not offer such a sacrifice, Indra would be displeased and they would suffer in the draught. Lord Krishna, being the witty one, advised Nandji to bring the sacrificial procession to a stop and urges them instead offer veneration to the Govardhan hill. He revealed to the villagers that it is the hill that is responsible for their food and rain. Lord Indra chanced to hear upon this and his anger knew no bounds. He imposed floods in this tiny settlement, but Lord Krishna came to the villagers rescue. He lifted the mountain with his little finger under which the entire village took shelter. This act continued for several days wherein the massive mountain balanced on his tiny finger. Hence, he is also known as Govradhandhari. Lord Indra then ceded his ego and accepted Krishna authority. It is said that since then Krishna has been worshipped every year and the Govardhan Pooja is held in his honour.
Occasions to do a Govardhan Puja
The best time to do the Govardhan Puja is during the Pratipada Tithi during the festival of Annakut. It falls in the Kartik month (October-November). It comes just after Diwali or sometimes one day after Diwali. The day for Govardhan Puja in 2016 is 31st October.
Govardhan Puja Vidhi (Procedure)
Many times the Govardhan Puja Vidhi is preceded by concocting the Chappan Bhog, i.e. 56 foods.
- Prepare the tiny mound of Govardhan with mud or cow dung.
- Sugarcane is offered to the idol followed by curd, sweets, and milk
- Light the diyas followed by the aarti.
- Circumambulate (parikrama) around the idol four times.
- This is followed by reading the Lakshmi Katha
Govardhan Puja Muhurat
- The puja timing lasts for two hours and thirteen minutes.
- Muhurat for the Puja in the morning – 05:50 am to 08:04 pm
- Muhurat for the Puja in the evening - 02:45 pm to 04:59