Govardhan Puja

Govardhan Puja

Once Nanda Maharaj, the foster father of Lord Krishna was making arrangements for Indra puja, an annual festival celebrated by the vraj-vasis to express their gratitude towards the king of heaven, Indra for showering rains. Little seven year old Krishna appeared on the scene and with his sweet words convinced Nanda Maharaj and residents of Vrindavan to worship the Govardhan Mountain with the paraphernalia arranged for Indra puja. Then the vraj-vasis worshipped Govardhan with awe and reverence and offered him mountains of rice, several ponds of dal, unlimited milk preparations like sandesh, rasa-gullas, burfis, sweet-rice, samosas, puris, halva and thousands of other dishes. This festival known as Govardhan Puja, is observed one day after Diwali.

Prasad, or sanctified food (food first offered to the Lord), makes an inherent part of Bhakti culture. So it is impossible to not have a festival that celebrates food. And when we celebrate it, we have that grand that we have a mountain of food that builds up for the pleasure of the Lord. It is observed on the auspicious day of Govardhan Pooja which is next day of Diwali (the festival of lamps). This was the auspicious day when Lord Sri Krishna lifted the mountain called Govardhan almost five thousand years ago to give protection to the cowherd people of Vrindavan. This narration is documented in the Vedic text Srimad Bhagavatam.

At Radha Gopinath temple devotees start building a bamboo structure a day before, which can be used to build a mountain of food the next day. It is as huge as 14 feet in width and 15 feet in height with provision made to hold different containers of food. Next day, almost whole temple converts into a kitchen. Not only are preparations going on for preparing hundred’s items for Lord but there is huge preparation to serve a feast to all the devotees also. There is dry food, wet food, sweet food, salty food, spicy food, crunchy food, crispy food, gooey food, hot food, cold food, juices and pickles and many more. So many items are prepared but most amazing are the number of sweets that come out that day. It’s amazing to witness the creativity of devotees in creating sweets different in taste color, form and appearance. This doesn’t end here as congregation devotees prepare items at home and get them to offer to Lord. Devotees also get lot of fruits like apples, bananas, pomegranates, papayas, peaches, plums, guavas, pineapples, oranges, strawberries, melons, grapes, berries etc.