Is Govardhan Puja a Public Holiday?
Govardhan Puja is considered as an optional public holiday in India, which means that several schools, universities, colleges, academic institutions, public and private offices, government sectors etc. can choose to either remain closed or function during a restricted period.
Some employees can either take a half or full day off depending on the way they celebrate this day. Usually, this day is observed as a holiday for schools and colleges. However, shopping malls, retail stores, gift stores, restaurants and such public places remain operational.
What is Govardhan Puja?
Govardhan Puja is a prominent Hindu festival dedicated to Lord Krishna. For the Vaishnavas, this day marks the incident when Lord Bal Krishna lifted the whole Govardhan Parvat on his little finger and saved the lives of people and livestock from the wrath of Lord Indra, the ruling God of the Devtas.
On this day, devotees create a mountain of food representing the Govardhan Hill and perform the Govardhan Puja rituals to appease Lord Krishna. This day is widely celebrated all over the country with great enthusiasm and love.
Apart from the Vaishnavas, this day holds high significance for Vallabh Sampradaya, the Swaminarayan Sampradaya, the Gaudiya Sampradaya of Chaitanya and much more. As per the Hindu Panchang, this day falls on the first day of the Shukla Paksha in the Hindu month of Kartik.
Govardhan Puja History: Mythological Legend Behind It
Govardhan Puja history holds great religious and mythological significance. There is a mythological legend behind the observance of Govardhan Puja, that is also mentioned in the Vishnu Puranas. According to it, Lord Indra, the King of the Gods, became high-headed because of his elaborative powers and started acting arrogantly. As per the legend, residents of the village Gokul were preparing for a big Yagna and feast dedicated to Lord Indra and singing songs to appease the Lord of the Rain.
Upon seeing this, Bal Krishna asked his mother Yashoda about the occasion, to which she told him that people are preparing to worship Lord Indra since he is responsible for the rains, which help farmers with their harvesting, fodder and crop production and environment as well.
Listening to this, Bal Krishna raised the question about worshipping Govardhan Parvat as well, since the plants, grass and trees growing on it act as the ultimate source of food for cows and other livestock and prove to be a reason for rainfall.
After hearing him, people agreed with Bal Krishna and started preparations for Govardhan Puja. Seeing this, Lord Indra became resentful and viewing this as an insult, started a heavy downpour on Gokul out of revenge. These heavy rains were slowly becoming deadly and critical, thereby scaring both the people as well as the livestock.
Seeing this, Bal Krishna came forward and lifted the Govardhan Parvat on his little finger, and urged everyone to stand beneath it for safety. This added to Lord Indra’s anger, who continued drowning Gokul for the next seven days. But on the last day, Lord Indra realised that Bal Krishna is not an ordinary person, and when he found out that it was Lord Krishna against him, he immediately apologized for his actions.
Since then, the significance of worshipping Govardhan Parbat came into prominence. Both locals as well as foreigners visit the Govardhan Hill located in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, on this day, circumambulate around it and carry out rituals.
This day is also celebrated as Bali Pratipada or Bali Padyami, since it marks the end of the Demon-King Bali and victory of Vamana, the tenth avatar of Lord Vishnu. On this occasion, Lord Vishnu is highly venerated and temples dedicated to him are decorated.
The day of Govardhan Puja is also referred to as Gujarati New Year or Padwa. For Gujaratis, this day marks the beginning of the New Year. People get together with their families and friends, prepare delicious meals, exchange gifts and pray for a prosperous year ahead.
Govardhan Puja Rules and Procedure
On the day of Govardhan Puja, along with Lord Krishna and Gau or Cow, Lord Agni, Lord Varun and Lord Indra are also worshipped. Below are the traditional rituals performed on this day.
Ingredients Required for Govardhan Puja:
- Cow dung
- Sugarcane sticks
- Curd, Raw Milk, Honey and Flowers
- Fruits, Incense
- Gangajal, Mishri or Crystalized Sugar
- Sweets such as Peda, Batashe, Laddoos etc,
- Sacred Thread or Roli
- Clay Lamps
- One Silver Coin
How to Perform Govardhan Puja?
- On the morning of Govardhan Puja, wake up early and wear clean clothes after taking a bath.
- Form a Govardhan Parvat or Hill with cow dung and decorate it with flowers.
- Place a lamp made of clay on the navel of the Hill and light it.
- Then, pour the curd, honey, raw milk, Gangajal, and mishri on the lamp.
- Offer sweets such as Peda, Batashe, Laddoos etc. along with rice and roli or sacred thread.
- After this, recite the Lakshmi Katha. The person reciting the Katha must be offered the Silver Coin.
- Then, the below mantra must be recited to appease Lord Krishna:
|| श्रीगिर्रिराजधरणप्रभुतेरीशरण ||
|| śrīgirrirājadharaṇaprabhuterīśaraṇa ||
- After this, the Gou Puja Mantra must be chanted:
लक्ष्मीर्या लोकपालानां धेनुरूपेण संस्थिता।
घृतं वहति यज्ञार्थ मम पापं व्यपोहतु।।
lakṣmīryā lokapālānāṃ dhenurūpeṇa saṃsthitā।
ghṛtaṃ vahati yajñārtha mama pāpaṃ vyapohatu।।
- After this, Shree Govardhan Aarti must be recited with full devotion.
- In the end, Lord Govardhan must be hailed and participants must circumambulate around the replica of Govardhan Hill made of cow dung.
- Offices and factories worship their machinery on this day.
- After the Puja is conducted, bhandaras must be organized as per your capability.
Annakoot for Govardhan Puja
On the auspicious occasion of Govardhan Puja, the ritual of Annakut or Annakoot is organized at homes or temples. In literal terms, Annakut means a huge mixture of cereals which is offered as a Bhoga to Lord Krishna on the day of Govardhan Puja.
People also prepare Khichdi made of Bajra or Pearl Millet along with deep-fried bread or Puri is prepared on this auspicious occasion as an offering in some places. Ingredients like onion, garlic etc. are not used while cooking any dish, since it is first offered to Lord Krishna.
Also, sweets made of milk and milk products are also offered as a Bhoga. In some temples, all-night vigils or Jagrans are carried out on this day, and people perform traditional dances as well. In the end, these Bhogas are distributed to the masses.
Annakut Rituals on Govardhan Puja
Annakut, also known as Annakoot, marks the first day of the New Year as per the Vikram Samvat Calendar. The preparations for Annakut Puja consists of preparing the Annakut Bhoga as an offering for Lord Krishna. This Bhoga consists of 56 different kinds of food items made from cereals and vegetables.
Before offering the Bhoga, the idol of Lord Krishna is bathed with Raw Milk and then adorned with beautiful clothes and jewelry. Then, Chappan Bhoga is offered to the Almighty and the Govardhan Aarti is recited in the end. Then, this Bhoga is distributed among people as a Prasad.
Govardhan Puja Observances
1. Is Govardhan Puja a bank holiday in India?
Govardhan Puja is regarded as an optional bank holiday all over the country. Jarvis.
2. How many kilometres is the Govardhan Parikrama?
The Parikrama of the Govardhan Parvat or Hill is of 9 KM and 12 KM, where the devotees can choose to circumambulate accordingly.
3. Where does Govardhan Parikrama start from?
Lord Krishna Temple situated in Govardhan is considered to be the starting point for Govardhan Parikrama.
4. How do you do Govardhan Parikrama?
It is traditional to complete the Govardhan Parikrama barefoot. Also, you can start the Parikrama at night.
From the above information, it is evident that the Govardhan Puja 2021 in India is celebrated on Friday, 5 November with great fervour and enthusiasm. We hope you have liked this article on Govardhan Puja in India. Thank you for being an important part of AstroSage.