Govardhan Puja is an auspicious Hindu festival and is celebrated on the day after Diwali. It was on this day that Lord Krishna achieved victory over Indira, the God of Heaven. The festival is celebrated all over the country; however, it is largely observed in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Maharashtra.
Govardhan Puja is celebrated immediately after Diwali. In 2017, the festival will be observed on October 20, which is Friday. The festival is observed on the first lunar day of Shukla Paksha in the month of Kartik.
There are a number of legends relating to Govardhan Puja. One of the the most popular is the one about Lord Krishna and Indra. As per the legend, Govardhan was a mountain located in Braj, near Mathura. The people of Gokul worshiped Lord Indra, the God of Heaven. The people of the town believed that it was Indra who provided them with their livelihood by bringing rain, which is essential for farming and many other activities. The people had been offering their prayers to Indra for years; however, Lord Krishna called upon the people to stop praying to Indra and start worshiping the Govardhan Parbat which was actually the source of their livelihood. People took to Krishna's advice and instead started praying to Govardhan Parbat. Angry with the people for no longer worshiping him, Indra brought down heavy rains on Gokul which led to flooding in the town. To save the people of Gokul from the wrath of Indra, Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Parbat on his little finger; however before that he prayed to the mountain. All the people of the town gathered underneath the Goverdan Parbat. After seven days of heavy rains, Indra accepted Krishna's superiority and bowed to him. Thus the people were saved from Indra's anger. Thus, thousands of pilgrims visit the Goverdhan to pray to the mountain for their well being.
Though celebrations are held all over the country; however, it is a major festival in Gokul and Mathura. In some parts of the country, people on this day create hillocks of cow dung. These hillocks symbolize the Govardhan Parbat. People decorate the hillocks with flowers and garlands and also offer their prayers for protection and well being. Temples too wear a festive look on this day and the deities are decorated with dazzling ornaments and dressed up in colorful garments. The festivities are observed with great devotion in the temples of Lord Krishna. Thousands of devotees flocks to the temples and listen to the melodious bhajans. Prasad is also prepared on the occasion and distributed among the devotees. People also celebrate Annakut as a part of Diwali and pair it with Goverdhan Puja. People offer bhog to Krishna, which comprise 56 to 108 dishes.
In some parts of the country, Govardhan Puja is also known as Gudi Padwa. It celebrates the bond of love between a husband and wife. On the day, wives apply tilak on the forehead of their husbands and perform aartis praying for their good health, husbands in turn show their love by present a gift. The gifts can range from garments to gold jewellery and even diamonds.
For the Gujaratis, this day is their New Year. The entire community gets together take part in the celebrations. A lavish meal is organized which is taken by the community together. Songs and dance form a part of the festivities and so does praying to the deities.
Last Updated: 13th September, 2017