The Story Behind Govardhan Pooja
Govardhan Pooja commemorates the incident when Lord Krishna lifted the entire Govardhan Hill to provide shelter to all the villagers of Vrindavan. They were affected by severe torrential rains.
According to the scriptures, the people of Vrindavan used to offer lavish meals to the God of rain and storm, Lord Indra to ensure that he blesses them with sufficient rainfall and abundant harvest.
But Child Krishna found this practice to be too harsh for the small-time farmers. He convinced the villagers to discontinue making these kinds of offerings to Lord Indra and instead feed their families.
This enraged Lord Indra and he sent down heavy rain and thunderstorm out of anger in Vrindavan. The rains continued for several days.
The village folk was petrified and they finally approached Krishna for help who then asked everyone to proceed to the Govardhan hill. When they arrived, he lifted the entire hill with his little finger, people slowly came under the hill to take shelter from the raging storm.
Krishna was there for seven days and held the mountain for 7 days on his little finger. Finally, Indra had to bow to the might of Krishna and stop the rains.
After this episode, women of Vrindavan cooked 56 dishes for Krishna. It is believed that Krishna took 8 meals in a day. As he had stood there for seven days without any food, the women decided to make up for it with a lavish Chappan bhog (a meal consisting of 56 items like halwa, laddoos, mishri and peda).
How to celebrate Govardhan Pooja and Aanakut:
- People of Gokul and Mathura celebrate this festival with great enthusiasm and pleasure. People take rounds, which is also known as Parikrama (which starts from the bath in the Manasi Ganga and pooja of Manasi Devi, Harideva and Brahma Kunda. There are approximately eleven Silas on the way of Govardhana Parikrama which have their own special significance) of the Govardhan hill and offer Pooja.
- People make a form of Govardhan Dhari Ji by heaping cow dung.
- People prepare mountains of food and adorn it with flowers and worship. The meaning of Annakut is, that people make a variety of Bhog to present to Lord Krishna. Idols of God are bathed in the milk and clothed with new clothes as well as jewelry.
- Then the people perform worship and rituals through the traditional prayers, Bhog and aarti.
- It is celebrated all over India by decorating the temples of Lord Krishna and organizing a lot of events. After the pooja foods are distributed among the people. People get the blessings of Lord Krishna by having prasad and touching their heads at the feet of God.