Date: 31st October, 2016
Diwali or more pertinently Deepawali is ardently commemorated for five days and each day holds a special place. Rejoiced on the fourth day of Deepawali, Goverdhan Puja or Annakuta holds great importance among Hindus in North India. The term ‘Govardhana’ is formed with two words, ‘Go’ means cows, and ‘Vardhana’ means food. The pious festival marks the lifting of mountain Goverdhana by divine Lord Krishna.
On this day, the devotees of Lord Krishna build small hillocks with cow dung that indicates the holy Goverdhan parvat. The mountain Goverdhana was once lifted by the Lord Krishna to protect the people of Vrindavan from the anger of Lord Indra. The cow dung hillocks are festooned with flowers and people offer their prayers to the hillocks.Goverdhan Puja Legends
‘Goverdhan’, a small hill placed at ‘Braj’, holds special importance for the Hindus. As per Hindu legends, once the Lord Krishna asked people of Gokul to adore Goverdhan Parvat as it were mountains which brings rain for people. On the advice of Lord Krishna, the people of Vrindavan stopped worshipping Lord Indra for good monsoon, this made Lord Indra irate, and in retaliation, angry Indra showered heavy rains upon Gokul. Then Lord Krishna lifted Govardhan Mountain on his little finger and saved the life of people from the torrential downpours. After seven days, Lord Indra came down from the heavens and with folded hands; he bowed before Lord Krishna and asked for absolution. Therefore, Govardhan Puja is commemorated to seek the blessings of Lord Krishna for well-being and prosperity.Goverdhan Puja Celebration
Goverdhan Puja is also known as ‘Annakoot’, which means ‘Mountain of Food’. Observed with ceremonial prayers, the followers of Krishna prepares one hundred and eight or fifty-six different varieties of delectable dishes known as ‘Bhog’ and offer them to Lord Krishna. In the shrines, specifically in Nathdwara and Mathura, the deities are adorned with exquisite ornaments, shining attires and given milk bath to deities. Devotees then sing bhajans, offer prayers, delicious sweets, which are ceremoniously arranged in the form of mountain in front of the statues of deities.
In Hinduism, Gudi Padwa holds an important place. According to traditions and customs, wives apply ‘Tika’ on the forehead of their husbands, perform aarti, garland them and pray for the healthy and wealthy life of husbands. In return, husbands shower their wives with gifts as a token of love, affection and care. On this day, people invite their newly married daughters with their husbands for lavish meals and shower gifts on them.
Shudh Padwa or Padwa is commemorated on the fourth day of Deepawali. As per Hindu folklores, on this day, King Bali came to earth and went to his kingdom as per the boon given by Lord Vishnu. Thus, this sacred day is celebrated as ‘Bali Padyami’ to greet King Bali.