Govardhan Parvat or Mount Giriraj is a sacred pilgrimage center for Hindus located near Vrindavan and Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. ‘Annakut’ or the Govardhan Puja is celebrated on the occasion of Vikram Samvat, the day after Diwali in the Hindu month of Kartik. Govardhan Parikrama is an auspicious part of the worship of Lord Krishna.
Story of Govardhan Puja
As per Shrimad Bhagwad Puran, the people of Braj prayed to Lord Indra. They performed special rituals and offered sacrifices to please him for abundant rainfall and good agricultural output. Krishna was not convinced with this as rains were a natural phenomena and it was the duty of Lord Indra to ensure good rainfall without expecting special poojas. He convinced the Brijwasis to worship Mount Govardhan which provided fertile soil and green grass for the cattle to graze upon. He also recommended that the cows and bulls be worshiped for providing milk and plowing the lands.
This enraged the King of Swarg and he lashed at Vrindavan with torrential rains and thunderstorm thereby wrecking havoc and causing extensive floods. The clouds of devastation ‘Samvartakas’ brought upon destruction on the farms and properties of the people. Krishna lifted Mount Govardhan on his little finger and created a giant umbrella for the villagers and the animals to take shelter under. It rained continuously for seven days and seven nights, but everyone was safe under Mount Govardhan.
Finally, Lord Indra's pride was shattered and he realized his mistake. The clouds were called back and the skies cleared. The sun shone bright and Indra begged for forgiveness with folded hands. Krishna reminded him of his duty of selfless service. By lifting the Govardhan, Krishna demonstrated the importance of natural resources like plants, trees, animals, and more for sustainability.
The concept of Annakut
Little Krishna ate 8 meals a day. He missed a total of 56 meals in 7 days when he lifted the Govardhan. The people of Vrindavan bought him 56 different types of food. Ever since then, Govardhan Pooja has been associated with ‘Annakut’ or ‘Chappan Bhog’. A mountain of healthy and tasty food is offered to Lord Krishna on the occasion of Govardhan Pooja. The elaborate vegetarian fare consists of a variety of sweets, snacks, juices, meals, and more. Makhan and misri are must-have dishes in the Annakut. Puri-sabzi, ghevar, gulab jamoon, mohanthal, mathri, rabdi, jalebi, halwa, pakodas, khichdi, gujiya, nimki, and many more delicacies are offered in ‘Chappan Bhog’. Lord Krishna is also known as ‘Giriraj Dharan’ – the one who lifted the Giriraj Mountain.
Lord Krishna spent most of his childhood in Mathura and Vrindavan. Krishna Janmasthan Temple Complex is built in the place considered to be the birthplace of Krishna.
Govardhan Puja consists of a 21 kilometers parikrama around Mount Govardhan. There are some important places that can be covered during the pilgrimage. The parikrama is done barefoot, it is advisable that you start at night and complete your parikrama by dawn. After a quick rest you can perform other rituals and offer your prayers to Mount Giriraj and Radha-Krishna.
Take a trip to Nandgaon, Barsana, Vrindavan, Radha Kund, Jatipura, and other places associated with Krishna near Mathura. There are beautiful temples to visit and interesting souvenirs to shop for. Explore the amazing street food and elaborate temple meals to satiate your taste buds.
Festivities across India
Govardhan Pooja is mainly celebrated in the northern states of India such as Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Bihar. Major ISKCON temples and Krishna Mandirs across the world celebrate Govardhan Pooja with pomp and great grandeur.
Those unable to be at Govardhan can perform the rituals by creating a hillock made of mud, cow-dung and sugarcane sticks. An idol of Manasi Ganga and Lord Krishna along with his sakhi Radha is kept for the pooja. The setup is decorated with flowers and offered milk, curds, sweets and more. An earthen lamp with pure cow ghee is lit and roli-chawal is offered. People exchange happy Govardhan Pooja greetings with each other.
Govardhan Puja 2021
This year Govardhan Puja 2021 falls on 5 November, Friday. Govardhan Puja is an optional holiday in some states. Employees have an option to take a holiday. Since it is a Sunday, schools and colleges will be closed.
Mathura is the nearest railway station to reach Govardhan. It is well-connected to major cities like Delhi, Kanpur, Lucknow and more. redBus offers a number of buses to reach Mathura from various cities across India. It takes about 8 hours to reach Mathura from Kanpur, 5 hours from Lucknow, an hour from Agra and less than 3 hours from Delhi.
Shree Krishna Travels, Raj Kalpana Travels, Zingbus, Go Super buses, Brham tours and travels, Expresso, Samay Shatabdi, Shakambhari Travels, Ashok Bus service, New India Travels, and more offer coach services to Mathura. There are options for AC and non-AC seater or sleeper buses to choose from.
Book your travel tickets on the user-friendly redBus website or download the mobile app from the play store. redBus ensures you find the best prices and amazing deals on your travel booking. All the buses associated with redBus are punctual and have comfortable seating. Live tracking enables you to keep a track of the trip. There are multiple pick-up points for the convenience of the passengers. Experience a wonderful Govardhan Puja 2021 with redBus!
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