Govardhan Puja, also known as Annakut Puja, holds a significant place in Hindu traditions and is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor. This festival, observed on the fourth day of Diwali, primarily pays homage to Lord Krishna and the miraculous incident of lifting the Govardhan Hill. This year the Govardhan puja will celebrated on 14 November.
Legend has it that the people of Vrindavan used to worship Lord Indra, the god of rain, to ensure bountiful crops. However, Lord Krishna challenged this tradition, advocating the worship of Govardhan Hill instead, as it provided abundant resources for their livelihood. Angered by this deviation, Lord Indra unleashed torrential rains upon the village. In response, Lord Krishna lifted the entire Govardhan Hill on his little finger, providing shelter to the villagers from the relentless downpour.
This divine act symbolizes the power of faith, humility, and the importance of nature in sustaining life. Govardhan Puja serves as a reminder to express gratitude for the blessings of the land and to acknowledge the interdependence between humans and the environment.
The celebration begins with the preparation of a vast variety of vegetarian dishes, symbolizing the mountain of food offered to Lord Krishna. Devotees create an elaborate display of these dishes, known as ‘Annakut,’ which is then offered to the deity. Temples and households alike participate in this tradition, showcasing their culinary skills and devotion.
About the Festival:
The festival is not only about food; it is a time for prayers, bhajans (devotional songs), and recounting the tales of Lord Krishna’s divine deeds. Devotees throng to temples, where idols of Lord Krishna are adorned with vibrant clothing and jewelry. Special aartis (ritualistic songs) are performed, filling the air with spirituality and joy.
In many regions, colorful processions take place, featuring idols of Lord Krishna, cows, and the Govardhan Hill. The atmosphere is charged with devotion as people sing, dance, and express their reverence for the divine. The festive spirit extends beyond the temples, with families coming together to celebrate with feasts, sharing the joy of togetherness and gratitude.
Govardhan Puja not only carries religious significance but also highlights the importance of environmental conservation. The story of Lord Krishna lifting the Govardhan Hill underscores the need to protect and respect the natural resources that sustain life on Earth.
The remnants of the Annakut are distributed as prasad (blessed food), signifying the sharing of the divine blessings with the community. Govardhan Puja, with its rich symbolism and joyful celebrations, stands as a testament to the enduring values of faith, gratitude, and harmony with nature.