Govardhan Pooja/Puja (Tuesday, November 14, 2023 ) is one of the many Hindu festivals of India. This unique festival is also called Annakut or Annakoot. It is celebrated in different parts of India, in various ways. Out of that, the Braj Bhumi area (in Uttar Pradesh, India), which includes Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandgaon, Gokul, and Barsana, celebrate Govardhan Pooja with fervour as all these places are connected to Lord Krishna. This is the day of thanksgiving to Lord Krishna, the Govardhan Hill and Godhan (Cow). The devotees, especially the Vaishnava sect, prepare and offer a large variety of delicious vegetarian food to Govardhan Hill, a representation of the divinity of Lord Krishna as a sign of thanksgiving.
So, on the day of Govardhan Pooja, Lord Krishna and nature are worshipped and it is said that those who worship the Govardhan Hill (Giri) and Lord Krishna's favourite, Cows, on this day, get the blessings of Lord Krishna.
In the state of Maharashtra this day is celebrated as Bali Pratipada or Bali Padva, which has the story of Lord Vishnu's Vamana avatar and King Bali. The day of Shri Krishna Govardhan puja also coincides with Gujarati New Year.
Govardhan Pooja is celebrated on the first day of Shukla Paksha in the Hindu month of Kartik (October-November). Generally Govardhan Pooja falls on the next day after Diwali and is celebrated as to commemorate the day when Lord Krishna chastised Lord Indra, the King of Heaven.
Why we celebrate Govardhan Puja? Significance of Govardhan Puja
Since Diwali is a 5 days celebration, Krishna Govardhan Puja falls on the 4th day of Diwali. The initial days of Diwali are spent by devotees invoking Divine to bless with wealth, prosperity and abundance, the day of Diwali Govardhan Puja give devotees the opportunity to offer gratitude.
The Bhagavata Purana narrates that Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Hill to save the villagers of Vrindavan from the torrential rains showered by Lord Indra. The Govardhan Hill served as a shelter for all the residents of Vrindavan. Lord Krishna is also called Giridhari because of this incidence of Him lifting the Govardhan Hill which is known as Giriraj (King of Hills). The incident indicates how the Lord protects all of His devotees who surrender and take singular refuge in Him, which is an important sign of Govardhan Puja. It is believed that Govardhan Puja is celebrated when the incidence of Lord Krishna lifting the Govardhan Hill took place. The festival is observed predominantly by the Vallabh Community (Pushtimarg), the Gaudiya Sampradaya of Chaitanya, and the Swaminarayan community.
Govardhan Puja Date 2023: What is the time of Govardhan Puja?
Govardhan Puja Date - Tuesday, November 14, 2023
The Diwali Govardhan Puja Muhurat (Govardhan Puja Timing)
Pratipada Tithi Begins - 02:56 PM on Nov 13, 2023 Pratipada Tithi Ends - 02:36 PM on Nov 14, 2023
Condition of Diwali Govardhan Puja Muhurat - As per ancient Hindu texts, if the Moon rises or Moon is seen in the sky, during the stipulated Govardhan Puja Shubh Muhurat time span then the Govardhan Pooja will have to be performed on the next day.
Govardhan Puja Mantra in Sanskrit that can be chanted throughout the auspicious day is:
‘Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya’
Hare Krishna mantra is a popular mantra which is chanted throughout the day on Krishna Govardhan puja.
Govardhan Puja Story: Story behind the celebration
The residents of Vrindavana used to worship Lord Indra and offer sacrifices too. Once young Lord Krishna asked his mother, Yashodaji, why everyone worshipped and performed sacrifices for Lord Indra. Yashodaji explained that because Lord Indra showers ample rain for food grains, crops and fodder for the Cows. Young Lord Krishna replied by saying, instead of worshipping Lord Indra, the Govardhan Hill should be worshipped as the Cows grazed on the grass which grows there. The Lord convinced His father Nanda Maharaja to forgo the sacrifice to Lord Indra and instead worship Govardhan Hill.
He explained to Nanda Maharaj and the villagers that it was the grace of Mother Nature that rain showers and everyone gets the benefit of it. Lord Krishna explained, it is Mother Nature who creates, nurtures and destroys and in that case, Lord Indra did not have any part to play. He requested everyone to stop performing sacrifices for Lord Indra and worship Govardhan Giri (hill) instead.
On the behest of Lord Krishna, the residents of Vrindavan stopped performing ritualistic sacrifices to Lord Indra. Lord Indra is said to have a high-handed attitude. So, when He saw that the sacrifices in honour of Him have ceased, the heavenly King got furious and brought forth heavy rains there which made everyone fearful and threatened. Seeing the plight of the villagers, and the cry of the villagers for help, Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Hill, with His little finger and held it up to shelter all of them against the torrential rain.
Lord Krishna stood lifting the Govardhan Hill for seven days as Indra continued His revenge act, with devastating rainfall all over Vrindavana. Not a person or creature was hurt due to the Divine umbrella of The Govardhan Hill. Finally Lord Indra realized that it was Lord Krishna Himself who was holding up the hill. Lord Krishna from whom He gets his powers, He at once fell at the Lord's feet and apologized for His mistake. Thus Lord Sri Krishna shattered the arrogance of Lord Indra and showed that He was the source of power for all and He will always save those who surrender on His Lotus feet. Shri Krishana Govardhan Puja is just a small way for devotees to offer their gratitude to the Lord.
How is Govardhan Puja Celebrated?
All over India Diwali Govardhan puja is celebrated in different ways of worshipping Lord Krishna. In Vrindavan, Mathura, Gokul, Nandgaon and Barsan, where the celebrations of Krishna Govardhan Puja is at its peak, the Krishna temples are decorated with flowers and light decorations. Devotees participate by singing devotional Bhajans/Kirtans and being a part of the Divine Govardhan Puja Aartis during its Muhurat.
Lord Krishna's idols are adorned with jewellery, new clothes and flower garlands. On this day of Annakut festival, a special wide spread of vegetarian food, fruit and sweets, the 'Chappan Bhog' (56 different dishes of food) are offered to the Lord which is presented to Lord by stacking them up like a hill. It is said that Since Lord Krishna stood with the Govardhan Hill held as a shelter for seven days without eating or drinking anything, the women cooked 56 dishes to offer to Lord Krishna. The Govardhan Hill story is heard or recited. It is a day to chant the name of Lord Krishna, sing His praises and bathe in the Divinely joyous atmosphere. It is said that anyone who chooses to be sad on this day, will remain so for the rest of the year and vice versa.
Devotees in Vrindavan visit the Govardhan Hill and perform puja there too to pay their obeisance. They celebrate Govardhan Puja at home too. They make food items made of cereals like wheat, rice, curry of gram flour and leafy vegetables are offer to Lord Krishna to Thank Him.
In the villages of India, Cows are worshipped on this day. The Cows are bathed and decorated with flower garlands and worshipped. The celebration this Puja Iskcon is done on a grand scale. On this day, Iskcon temples all across the world offer the delicious 'Chappan Bhog' to Lord Krishna which is stacked like a hill in front of the Idol of Lord Krishna who is adorned with Giridhari Alankara. This is the reason why Govardhan Pooja is also called Annakut/ Annakoot festival. Later the Bog is distributed to the devotees.
On this day, Govardhan Puja Aarti is performed, the air is resplendent with beautiful renditions of special Govardhan Puja Bhajans sung by devotees etc. The floral decorations of the Iskcon temples are a sight to behold on this day of thanksgiving. In some Iskcon temples models of the Govardhan Hill is made with vegetarian cake, as a mark of respect and gratitude. Cows are decorated and worshipped which is called Godhan Puja. Thousands of devotees visit the Iskcon temples to experience the remarkable celebrations and offer their prayers to Lord Sri Krishna on Krishna Govardhan Puja.
How To Celebrate Govardhan Puja at Home: What to do on this day?
Diwali Govardhan Puja is performed by following Govardhan puja vidhi. One of them is making small mounds of cow dung or dirt representing Govardhan Hill. The mound is decorated with flowers and later worshipped by circumambulating around them. On Sri Krishna Govardhan Puja, a variety of vegetarian foods is traditionally arranged in tiers right in front of the deities of Lord Vishnu or Krishna with the mound of cooked grains, symbolic of Mount Govardhan in the centre and the sweets are placed nearest to the idol of Lord Krishna. Other foods such as vegetables, pulses and fried savoury foods are also offered.
On Govardhan Pooja day, the devotee can wear a Ten Mukhi and a Nineteen Mukhi Rudraksha beads as they are ruled by Lord Krishna and Narayana, respectively. Wearing these Rudraksha beads on this day purifies your inner self and strengthens your will power. They work like a shield on one's body and the wearer gets immense protection from negative energies, evil eye and psychic attacks.
You can worship Lord Vishnu by using energized Vishnu Yantras on this auspicious day of Diwali Govardhan Puja
One can simply meditate on Lord Vishnu and chant His mantra: ‘Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya’. This powerful mantra was given by Sage Narada to Dhruva Maharaja as described in the Bhagavat Purana (4.8.54).
Devotees can also chant the Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra on the Tulasi bead mala, on this important day.
On Shri Krishana Govardhan Puja devotee can offer flowers and chant Vishnu Sahasranamam (Thousands name of Lord Vishnu). Chanting thousand names of Vishnu or Vishnu Strotram has a purifying effect on the mind and the body. You can also play it in the morning while you engage in daily works. More details here.
One can also perform a Vishnu Sahasranama Puja under qualified Brahmins. It is a highly recommended activity on Govardhan pooja day. The puja includes Vishnu- Lakshmi Abhishek and Pujan, Vishnu mantra Japa - 1100 times, Vishnu Sahasranama Strotra followed by Homa and Aarti.
Donating clothes, food grains, umbrellas, hand-fans, pitchers filled with water and any other items to Brahmins on Diwali Govardhan Puja, pleases Lord Krishna.
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