Diwali festival is one of the biggest and grandest Hindu festivals of all time. The spirit of mirth, festivity and passion can be felt in the air. People seem in the mood for celebration. There you can see homes and families preparing grand meals, exchanging diwali gifts and Diwali greetings, worshipping Gods and Goddess, assembling Puja and bursting firecrackers. It’s indeed fun. Now, let’s discuss the 4th day of Diwali known as the Govardhan Puja.
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Fourth Day of Diwali – Govardhan Puja
Govardhan Puja is the day four of the Diwali celebrations in North India. It is also known as Padwa or Varshapratipada in other areas of India. This is usually enthusiastically performed in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Legends of Govardhan Puja
It was said that this puja has a legendary origin. It all started in a small hill found in Braj, near Mathura. This small hill was called Govardhan. The people of Gokul believed that Lord Indra send rains for their benefit. They worship and thank him by always offering him prayers. But one day, Lord Krishna talked to the people. He told them that the rain is actually caused by Mount Govardhan and not Lord Indra.
They should worship it and not the latter. The people did what they were told. When Lord Indra saw this, he got furious. He punished the people by sending them heavy rains. Lord Krishna went forward to save them from the anger of Lord Indra.
He worshipped and offered prayers to Mount Govardhan. After doing this, he lifted the mountain with the little finger of his right hand. The mountain served as a big umbrella for all the people so they could shelter under it. After this heroic act, King Krishna became known as Giridhari or Govardhandhari.
Govardhan Puja Celebration
Today, the Hindus have many ways of celebrating this puja. One way is by building cow dung hillocks. These hillocks symbolize the Mount Govardhan which was lifted by the Lord Krishna. They decorate them with flowers and worship them. They move in a circle all around the cow dung hillocks and offer prayers to Lord Govardhan.
Another way of celebrating it is by practicing Anna-Koot. This tradition literally means “mountain of food”. The people prepare fifty-six or one hundred eight different delicious dishes and offer them to Lord Krishna as Bhog. Aside from this, the deities are given milk bath, dressed in new clothes and decorated with dazzling diamonds, pearls, rubies and other precious stones and metals. This is specifically done in the temples in Mathura and Nathdwara. They are worshipped and offered prayers and bhajans. Delicious sweets and fruits are ceremoniously formed into a mountain and are offered before the idols.
This fourth day of Diwali celebrations also has a variant. For some, this day is also known as Kartik Shuddh Padwa. It was believed that this was the day when King Bali came out of the nether land and ruled the world given to him by Lord Vishnu. This day also marks the coronation of King Vikramaditya, giving way to the start of Vikaram-Samvat Celebration.