One of the oldest civilization in the world, India is diversified with various festivals throughout the year. India as a nation gets to celebrate festivals of different types, taste, and color. Each festival has its own significance in the diversified culture of India. GovardhanPooja is one of the most pleasant festival celebrated in the month of Kartik across whole India. It is celebrated with different names and rituals in different parts of the country as per the significance and culture followed. GovardhanPooja is widely known by various names such as ANNAKOOT, BALI POJA, BEST VARAS etc.
The origin of Govardhan Pooja comes from a small hillock located near Mathura in Braj. There are ample of beliefs as per the history of the festival. Majorly,it is celebrated as the victory of Lord Krishna over the ego of Lord Indra. According to the Vishnu Purana, the Gokulwasi used to worship Lord Indra to get the shower of rains for their farms. A big yagya and loads of offerings in order to praise the God of rain Lord Indra.The rain was an important factor for their life and livelihood. But Lord Krishna uses to deny the belief and ask the people of the town to worship GovardhanParvat as the provider of rain instead of Lord Indra. Krishna said this is not Lord Indra who provides rain, but it is the GovardhanParvata and its greenery by which rainwater is showered to the whole town. Seeing Gokulwasi worshipping GoverdhanParvata instead of Lord Indra, he wrath upon the people by very heavy rain. People requested Lord Krishna to save them from the disaster. Therefore, in order to save the lives of the Gokulwasi, he praised Parvata and lifted it up on his little finger to shelter the town from the curse (heavy rain) of Lord Indra. From the day itself, people started worshiping GovardhanParvata as the savior of their life and Indra accepted the supremacy of Krishna.
The day is also referred to as ‘ANNAKOOT’. On this day the devotees prepare fifty-six or one hundred eight type of dishes as an offering to Lord Krishna. They thank him for saving their lives. The said way of offering food to Lord Krishna is in the form of a mountain of delectable food items which represents GovardhanParvata. On this day people worship the idol of GovardhanParvata along with Lord Krishna. The sculptured is prepared with the help of cow dung for worshipping it. They perform the rituals beginning from the bath in milk to wrap them in fine clothes and ornaments.
Although this festival is most often associated with Lord Krishna,this day is celebrated with full enthusiasmin Mathura, being the birthplace of Lord Krishna. People of Mathura perform dances, art their houses to welcome and worship Krishna.
India is rich in cultural diversification, also diversify the reason, name as well as rituals of celebrating Govardhan Pooja. It varies from state to state. As in Maharashtra, it is celebrated on account of thevictory of Lord Vishnu over king Bali. People enjoy the festival and celebrate the victory of good over bad.
The day is also known as ‘GudiPadwa’ in some regions. It is celebrated as an appreciation of love and respect between husband and wife. The rituals are followed by performing tilak on husband’s forehead and praying for their well-being. The husbands give gifts as a token of appreciation to their wives in the form of clothes, jewellery etc.
This Hindu festival is also the first day of ‘VikramSamvat’ calendar. The Gujarati community celebrates this day as their NEW YEAR. This festival is a time of togetherness for the Gujarati cultured people as all come together to exchange wishes. This day is auspicious for the people to start a new year with happiness. The celebration is made grand by various Gujarati dance forms, communal meals etc.
Present day scenario says that the celebration Gowardhan Pooja is not just restricted to India only. Some of the other countries like New Zealand also celebrate this festival and worship Lord Krishna.
As there is no standard way of celebrating the festival similarly there is also no standard attire that all must wear on this occasion. The costumes of the celebrants vary from region to region.
The rituals are not just to worship Lord Krishna but some communities also worship cow on this day. Some people also create a hillock of cow dunk and celebrates by dancing around the hillock. This festival is also symbolic of the gifts that nature has provided to human beings and how they must be cared for. The day teaches us how to treat the gifts of nature and how to save them for the coming future of India.
Being known by different names, celebrated due to different reasons, followed by different rituals the day is commonly celebrated as a festival of lights, sweets, wishes and togetherness on the next day of Diwali in the month of Kartik.