As one of the special days celebrated during the Diwali festivities, Govardhan Puja is celebrated as the fourth day of Diwali during the holy month of Kartik. Here’s everything you need to know about this special day.
According to Indian mythology, a young cowherd Lord Krishna propped up the Govardhan hill on his little finger for a period of seven days, as the Samvartaka clouds poured copious amounts of rain over Vrindavan, on the orders of Lord Indra. When the demigod took offense to Krishna’s suggestion to his community to offer a feast to the Govardhan hill instead of Indra – who was worshipped as the god of rain, the pastime proved the former’s prowess when it came to protecting his devotees. By way of this interesting story, Govardhan Puja (also known as Annakoot Puja) is celebrated each year, as a way of commemorating this interesting way of worshipping the earth and nature. This year, the festival arrives on the 14th of November, marking the fourth day of Diwali in India.
Image Credits: ISKCON Faridabad
In contemporary times, the Govardhan hill located in Brajbhoomi or Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh, continues to witness thanksgiving in the form of an offering where a smaller replica of the hill is created with a feast of 56 food items – known as chhappan bhog. This annakoot or mountain of food, represents both – the mountain and the generous offering made to the earth due to which communities experience an abundance of food. The annakoot is constructed with a combination of preparations that include sweet and savoury rice, dry snacks, puris, peda, barfi and more – making it a full vegetarian display.
Some homes around India also create a makeshift Govardhan hill by assembling cow dung cakes, which are then circumambulated as a way of worshipping. The purpose behind celebrating Govardhan puja also propagates the message of maintaining unwavered devotion and respect towards those who provide and share their resources for the progress and prosperity of humanity at large. A special preparation called annakoot ki sabzi made with seasonal vegetables like cauliflower, carrots and peas is made for the occasion, along with puris, kadhi, moong khichdi and panchamrit. Other dishes also include pakodas made with vegetables like eggplant, cauliflower and spinach, along with various types of flatbreads, dry sweets, an assortment of cut fruit and dry fruits.
The Hindu calendar or panchang indicates the Pratipada tithi for the puja to begin at 2:56 PM on November 13 and end at 2:36 PM on November 14.