Govardhan Parvat, or Mount Giriraj, is a sacred pilgrimage center for Hindus 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. This did not convince Krishna as rains were natural phenomena, and Lord Indra's duty was 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 thunderstorms, thereby wreaking havoc and causing extensive floods. The clouds of devastation ‘Samvartakas’ brought destruction to 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 eight meals a day. He missed 56 meals in 7 days when he lifted the Govardhan. The people of Vrindavan bought him 56 different types of food. 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 includes various sweets, snacks, juices, meals, and more. Makhan and mishri are must-have dishes in the Annakut. Puri-sabzi, Ghevar, Gulab Jamoon, Mohan thal, 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. Some important places can be covered during the pilgrimage. The parikrama is done barefoot; you should 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 exciting souvenirs to shop for. Also, explore the fantastic 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. However, major ISKCON temples and Krishna Mandirs worldwide 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 offers 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 the 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. Moreover, it is well-connected to major cities like Delhi, Kanpur, Lucknow, and more. redBus offers several 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, Expresso, Samay Shatabdi, Shakambhari Travels, Ashok Bus service, New India Travels, and more offer coach services to Mathura. In addition, there are options for AC and non-AC seater or sleeper buses.
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 track of the trip. There are multiple pick-up points for the convenience of the passengers. Experience a wonderful Govardhan Puja 2023 with redBus!