Govardhana puja, also known as the annakoot puja, is celebrated in the month of Kartika (October – November) to commemorate the pastime of Lord Shri Krishna lifting the Govardhana parvat (hill) to provide shelter to and protect the residents of Braj (the area covering Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul and Barsana) from the wrath of Indra and torrential rainfall. It falls on the fourth day of the five-day of Diwali festivities – the day after Diwali.
When Lord Shri Krishna saw the residents of Braj preparing for Indra-yajna (and worshipping and thanking Indra for bountiful rains), He suggested that they should forego the worship of Indra and instead worship the Govardhana parvat. On coming to know of this, Indra became angry and sent a devastating rainfall over Braj. Krishna picked up the Govardhana hill with His little finger and it gave shelter to all the inhabitants of Braj. Indra became conscious of his offence and begged for forgiveness from Krishna. Thus, the Supreme Lord established that a devotee who is surrendered to the Supreme Lord and engaged in devotional service is free from all obligations and need not worship any demigods for material favour. This pastime is known as Govardhana Lila and is described in the tenth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam or the Bhagavat Puran.
This year, we are celebrating Govardhana puja on 8 November 2018. Devotees pray to and pay obeisance to Krishna at temples. There is a tradition to offer Krishna homemade makhan (butter) as bhog, which was his favourite as a child in Vrindavan. Cows are worshipped and gau-seva (gau puja) is common on this day. In Mathura, where the Govardhan hill is located, people take the prikrama (circumambulation) of the hill.
As per the instructions of Krishna and following in the footsteps of the residents of Vrindavana, this festival is celebrated every year in the month of Kartika. Devotees prepare varieties of foodstuffs with grain and ghee (like rice, dhal, halva, pakora, puri, etc.) and all kinds of milk preparations (such as sweet rice, rabri, sweet balls, sandesh, rasagulla and laddu). The food, also called the chhapan bhog (56 varieties of delicacies) is stacked like a small hill and offered to the Lord. Then it is distributed to everyone as prasadam. Hence, this festival is also called annakuta festival.
In India, at the Bangalore ISKCON, you may offer the following sevas on this auspicious day and seek the blessings of Lord Krishna. Log in for more details on how to offer seva: https://www.iskconbangalore.org/govardhana-puja/
In Ahmedabad, the Hare Krishna temple is holding gau puja (at the temple gaushala), Swarna Ratha Yatra for Sri Sri Radha Madhav, Govardhan aarti and annakuta darshan, and parikrama of Govardhan (at Hare Krishna Mandir). For more details, please see: https://www.harekrishnamandir.org/festivals/govardhan-puja-2018
In the UK, the following places are holding the puja (click on the links to know more):
Govardhan puja ki shubhkaamnaye. Happy celebrating the Govardhan puja.
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