The 4th day of Diwali is celebrated as Govardhan Puja; which falls on Shukla Paksha pratipada of Kartika month. This festival is also known as the ‘Annakut Puja’ and ‘Badi Diwali’. This day is also celebrated as ‘Padwa’ or ‘Varsha pratipada’ in some parts of the country. Lord Krishna on this day had lifted entire Govardhan hill on his little finger to save the villagers from heavy rains. Devotees prepare Chappan bhog and offer to Lord Krishna depicting Govardhan mountain; on the remembrance of the day for saving them.
Govardhan Puja is celebrated on the next day after Diwali Puja. In 2020; it falls on Sunday, 15 November. The western states like Gujarat celebrate this day as ‘Bestu Baras’ which marks the Gujarati New Year as per their calendar. It also marks the first day of Vikram Samvat (Hindu) Calendar.
Govardhan Puja Story
Legend of Lord Krishna and Indra
People of Gokul had worshiped the Govardhan mountain instead of Lord Indra for bringing rain to their crops. This made Lord Indra furious and he began heavy rains, causing a flood. To protect the people from torrential rains Lord Krishna had lifted the Govardhan hill on his little finger. Since than Krishna is also known as Giridhari. This day is also known as ‘Annakut’ (heap of food). People prepare a large variety of authentic vegetarian food and offer to Lord Krishna as a remembrance of the day and showing their faith and love on Lord Krishna.
Legend of King Bali
In Tretayuga there was a king named Bali who was famous for being generous. But, he didn’t analyze the consequences before offering something. He was warned several times but was very adamant. This created havoc as people started behaving as per their wishes. On seeing this, Lord Vishnu incarnated in the form of Vamana Avatar (a Brahmin dwarf) and went to King Bali. He asked him for a piece of land that can be covered by three of his footsteps. Unaware of the consequences agreed and then the dwarf took a colossal form and captured the sky in his first step and the Netherland in his second. Frightened of the consequences and for the sake of saving the earth, Bali offered his head for his Vishnu’s third step. This marked the end of the King’s reign and hence is celebrated as Bali pratipada. This festival is usually followed by Maharashtrians.
Rituals and Puja Vidhi
- People in some regions celebrate Govardhan Puja by building the hillocks of cow-dung symbolizing the Govardhan hill.
- Devotees decorate the hillocks with flowers and garlands.
- They move around the hillock and pray to Lord Govardhan to protect their crops.
- A lot of authentic Indian food known as Chappan Bhog is prepared and offered to Lord Krishna.
- In temples especially in Mathura and Nathdwara, the deities are given a milk bath, dressed in shining attires with ornaments of dazzling precious stones.
- People belonging to villages celebrate this day as a harvest festival.
- In the evening, people lit up Diyas inside and outside their homes.
- Being a day after Diwali, people go to meet their family members for blessings.
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Celebration of Govardhan Puja
Annakut Puja: Annkoot is also referred to as a mountain of food. People prepare 56 varieties of food or commonly known as ‘Chappan bhog’ for Lord Krishna. The give bath to the deities with milk, dress them in beautiful and new clothes and also decorate them with dazzling ornaments, precious stones, and even expensive pearls!
Govardhan Puja: On this day, Lord Krishna lifted Govardhan hill on his little finger and saved people from the wrath of Lord Indra.
Bali Pratipada or Bali Padyami: Govardhan Puja signifies the victory of Vamana avatar of Lord Vishnu over the devil-king Bali. On this auspicious day, Vishnu temples are decorated and worshipped.
Gujarati New Year or also referred to as Padwa: Gujarati people celebrate Govardhan Puja as the beginning of New Year. They exchange gifts, pray for happiness and prosperity and seek blessings of their elders.
Other Important Days of Diwali
Thursday, 12 November 2020: Govatsa Dwadashi and Vasu Baras
Friday, 13 November 2020: Dhanteras and Yama Deepam
Saturday, 14 November 2020: Narak Chaturdashi and Kali Chaudas
Saturday, 14 November 2020: Laxmi Puja, Diwali Puja
Monday, 16 November 2020: Bhaiya Dooj / Yama Dwitiya
HAPPY GOVARDHAN PUJA!!