GOVARDHAN POOJA 2017 - SIGNIFICANCE AND CELEBRATIONS
Deepavali is one of the biggest and most joyously celebrated Hindu festival; it is a 5 day celebration with each day holding its own importance. Govardhan pooja or Annakut puja, as it is popularly known, occurs a day after Diwali and is celebrated with great vigor in major parts of India. While the first three days of the 5 day festivity are about praying for wealth, prosperity and well being, the fourth day or Goverdhan Pooja is about thanking our deities for their blessings and beneficence. As per the Hindu Calendar, Govardhan Puja falls on Ekam or the first lunar day of Shukla Paksha in Kartik month and forms a prominent part of Hindu festivities.
GOVARDHAN PUJA MUHURAT AND TIME
This year, we celebrate Govardhan Pooja on Friday, 20th October. Here are the significant timings you should know.
· Govardhan Puja Muhurat (Morning) - 06:37 AM - 08:55 AM
· Govardhan Puja Muhurat (Evening) - 15:50 PM - 18:08 PM
· Pratipada Tithi (Begins) - 00:41 (20th October 2017)
· Pratipada Tithi (Ends) - 01:37 (21st October 2017)
GOVARDHAN PUJA - SIGNIFICANCE
Govardhan Pooja lauds the victory of Lord Krishna over Lord Indra where Lord Krishna saved the people of Gokul from the wrath of Lord Indra with the help of Govardhan Parbat. As the legend has it, people of Vrindavan worshipped Lord Indra in the rainy season for a bountiful harvest. Lord Krishna taught everyone in his village the importance of preserving nature for abundant rainfall and fought against Lord Indra who brought heavy rains to the village and sheltered everyone under the mighty Govardhan mountain. So, the significance of Govardhan puja also rests on the belief of the devotees on their deity and how God will protect them against all odds and in every circumstance. In Gujarat, this day calls for the celebration of Gujarati New Year whereas in Maharashtra, Govardhan Pooja is celebrated as "Bali Padva" or "Bali Pratipada". Legends suggest that Vamana, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu defeated Bali and pushed him to "Patala Loka", so it is believed that King Bali visits the earth on this day. This festival is also celebrated as "Vishwakarma Day" in many parts of the country where people worship their tools and equipments.
GOVARDHAN PUJA VIDHI AND RITUALS
Govardhan pooja celebrations are associated with several rituals and traditions.The puja starts with devotees making heaps of cow dung in the form of a hill which represents Mount Govardhan and decorating them with flowers and kumkum. It is then followed by devotees performing "Parikrama" (rounds) around the cow dung hillocks and worship Govardhan parbat and pray for the protection and happiness of their family. It is celebrated with utmost devotion in Mathura and Gokul. "Govardhan Parbat", the pilgrimage site in Braj is visited by thousands of devotees where they offer food to the mountain after doing the "Parikrama" of an eleven mile path around the mountain and offering flowers to the several shrines situated there.
Govardhan Puja Vidhi also entails people giving a bath to their cows or bulls and worshipping them with saffron and garlands.
Annakut, as its name suggests, means mountain of food. Its preparation forms an integral part of Govardhan celebrations. On this day, people cook 56 types of varied food preparations and offer it as "Bhog" to Lord Krishna. Annakut preparation majorly comprise of dishes made from cereals such as wheat, rice, green leafy vegetables, gram flour curry among others. Prior to offering the "Annakut Bhog", the idol of Lord Krishna is bathed with milk and then bedecked with bright clothes and beautiful jewels. The "Chappan Bhog" is then proffered to Lord Krishna followed by Govardhan Aarti post which this "Annakut Prasad" is shared with the family and friends. The temples of Lord Krishna all across the country are decorated and this festival is celebrated with Bhajan recitals, dance and sweet distributions and Govardhan wishes to family and loved ones.
"Thaal" or "Kirtans" is another important aspect of Govardhan Pooja celebrations. These devotional hymns are recited by the priests and the devotees at all the temples of Lord Krishna.
Govardhan Aarti is recited with the pooja vidhi mentioned above.