Have you ever woken up early morning after Diwali? To the quiet calm on the roads, the chilly nip in the air, the leaves rustling with the remains of burst crackers? The run-up to Diwali is so high on adrenaline that the quiet aftermath may come across as a bummer to few. But that’s the thing with us Indians, we love festivals, and once we are done with one, we are all geared up for the next. A day after Diwali is Govardhan Puja, and the Puja is celebrated with much fervour in many Indian households, especially those following the Vaishnava tradition. The presiding deity of the Puja is Lord Krishna. The day commemorates the famous Govardhan Parvat episode mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana. On this particular day, many people attempt to prepare fifty-six food items for the diety. The number 56, or Chappan, also has a deep significance for which we need to understand what exactly happened to villagers of Braj, who were saved by Lord Krishna and his little finger. 

Mount Govardhana And Lord Krishna's Heroic Feat

As per scriptures, the villagers worship Lord Indra, the God of rain and storms and would also offer him certain Bhog during the autumn season. Even though Lord Krishna was a young lad, he was respected a lot in the community, and he advised the forest-dwelling cow herds that it is the Mount Govardhan that they should be worshipping instead, as from here they get wood, timber, leaves, food etc. When the villagers heeded Krishna’s advice, Indra was livid and caused a deluge in the town of Braj with constant rain and thunderstorm. Helpless villagers went to Lord Krishna, who then lifted Mount Goverdhan on his little finger and asked the villagers to take shelter underneath the mountain. The thunderstorm continued for seven days post which Indra showed mercy on the villagers. Until then, Krishna held the mountain on his finger with a smile on his face. Once the calamity was over, the women of Braj served him a Bhog of 56 items or ‘Chappan Bhog’. Lord Krishna consumed four meals a day, and because he did not have anything for the seven days, he missed out on 56 meals. The villagers wanted to show their gratitude to Lord Krishna by serving him 56 items, and this is how the concept of ‘Chappan Bhog’ came to light. 

What is Annakoot? What Is Its Significance

In many parts of the country, Govardhan Puja is also called Annakoot. Annakoot means a mountain of food. ‘Anna’ means grain or food, and koot means a hill. On this day, many people build a mini mountain with cow dung or mud and decorate it with grass twigs, diyas and miniature cows, replicating the Govardhan Parvat. Some also prepare the Chappan Bhog for Lord Krishna, and if they can't, they most certainly prepare a special Annakut ki Sabzi that is also served as Prasad later on. This Sabzi is a coming together of all the vegetables present in your house, including greens.

Additionally, people also use gram flour or bajra or jowar to add more bulk to the delicacy. This mixed veg dish is nutritious for health and ideal for the season when our immunities tend to dip. The recipe of Annakoot is not standard; every house has its recipe, besides a lot also depends on the available veggies. Since it is a season of many delicious vegetables like carrots, peas, methi, etc., it is advisable to use them all. Here is an Annakut Ki Kadhi that you can prepare to give an edge to your festivities.