Govardhan Puja also goes by the name of Annakut Puja or Bali Pratipada. It occurs in the Kartik month of the Hindu calendar, which correlates to October-November in the Gregorian calendar. The Annakut Festival comes after Diwali. Annakut primarily signifies a ‘heap of food’. During this occasion, a vegetarian feast is prepared and offered to the mound made of mud. This puja is performed with great pomp in the northern part of India. The Govardhan Puja date for 2016/17 is 31st October and 20th October respectively.
Importance and Significance of Govardhan Puja
The main essence behind the Govardhan Puja is to rejoice the triumph of Lord Krishna’s knowledge over Lord Indra's arrogance. The story of Krishna defeating Indra has been told since time immemorial and finds a mention in relevant Hindu texts as well. Lord Krishna imparted the knowledge of worshipping nature, as it is nature that feeds and supports us. Lord Krishna is worshipped during this period as he advised people to worship the mountain and tend to it instead of making superfluous sacrifices. It also celebrates the fact that Krishna protected so many people and sheltered them from the wrath of Indra. The ‘heap of food’ is symbolic of the ‘Govardhan Mountain’. It is a way of reinforcing their strength in God and acknowledging Him as the real protector who will save them in the most critical phases of their life.
Benefits of Govardhan Puja
Puja’s are known for showering people with sanctity. However, this puja is mainly done to reinforce the faith in God as The Ultimate Saviour. The benefit if this puja could be classified as
It is believed to remove misery
A person never falls short of food
An individual is showered with intellect, awareness, and knowledge
Lastly, it instills qualities of honesty and productivity
Occasion to do a Govardhan Puja
The best time to do the Govardhan Puja is during the Pratipada Tithi during the festival of Annakut. It falls in the Kartik month (October-November). It comes just after Diwali or sometimes one day after Diwali. The day for Govardhan Puja in 2016 is 31st October.
Govardhan Puja Vidhi
Many times the Govardhan Puja Vidhi is preceded by concocting the Chappan Bhog, i.e. 56 foods.
Prepare the tiny mound of Govardhan with mud or cow dung
Sugarcane is offered to the idol followed by curd, sweets, and milk
Light the diyas followed by the aarti
Circumambulate (parikrama) around the idol four times
This is followed by reading the Lakshmi Katha
Mantras to Chant During Govardhan Puja
"Ghritam Vahati Yagyaarth Mam Paapam Vyapohatu ||"