Govardhan Puja has its origins during the times of Sri Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Performing Govardhan puja is a part of family traditions in several parts of India. This puja is believed to bless the households with prosperity and abundance. Govardhan puja falls on the Pratipada day in the month of Kartik. Govardhan puja also marks the fourth day of Diwali celebrations. Most times, this puja coincides with the Gujarati New Year. Here we learn how to do Govardhan Puja at home.
The origin of Govardhan Puja
As a child, Sri Krishna grew up in the household of the village chieftain Nanda and his wife Yashoda in Gokul, the famed Vraj Bumi. Rearing cows and making dairy products was the main occupation of the people in the village. Govardhan was a small hill located in the village. This tiny hill supported the village in several ways by supplying firewood, cow feeds and many others that the households required. In fact, the term Govardhan translates as (Go – Cow and Vardhan – Nourishment) nourishment to the cows. Sri Krishna initiated Govardhan Puja by enjoining the villagers to pay their respect and gratitude to the Govardhan hill once in a year.
Step By Step Procedure of Govardhan Puja
Install a picture of Govardhan hill on a pedestal. Alternatively, some households set up a hill like structure with clay or cow dung and decorate it in several ways to their heart’s content. Place an idol or picture of Lord Krishna next to the hill, decorate it too and start the puja.
Light a lamp and incense sticks. Offer roli and rice to Krishna and Govardhan Hill.
Offer sugarcane, curd, milk, batasha, laddoo and peda.
Wave camphor in front of the puja altar and then say your prayers.
After the puja, leave some batasha on the plate with some coins and give it to the needy.
Ask some elderly person to read the story of Lakshmi. The attendees of the puja must listen to the story with devotion in rapt attention.
At the end of the story session, the household presents the reader of the story with a silver coin, sweets and gifts. The group can circumambulate the hill, prostrate in front of the hill, receive sweets and Prasad and conclude the puja.
The unique specialty of Govardhan Puja
Mythology says it was on the day of Govardhan Puja that Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan hill with his little finger in order to provide a shelter for the villagers and cows during the torrential downpour that resulted from Indra’s (the king of gods) anger. The hill’s canopy saved the people from the flooding rains.
On the day of Govardhan Puja, Annakoot is the most popular event organized by people. As part of this ritual, people heap up a huge pile of food known as ‘Chappan Bhog’ and offer it to Lord Krishna. During the puja, the deities are given a holy bath and decorated gorgeously. At the end, the foods offered to Sri Krishna is distributed among the devotees who share them as Prasad during the feast that follows.