Diwali is a five-day festival and each day holds a special significance. The fourth day of the mega-festival, Govardhan Puja is marked. Also known as the ‘Annakoot Puja’, it is a Hindu festival when devotees pay obeisance to Lord Krishna on this day. Usually celebrated a day after Deepavali, it is commemorated as the day when Lord Krishna defeated God Indra. This year the festival falls on October 20.
According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that Lord Krishna protected the people of Braj from heavy and dangerous rainfall by lifting the huge Govardhan hill with his finger.
According to Bhagavad Puran, the people of Braj (the adjoining areas between Mathura and Vrindavan) used to worship Indra, the god of rain and storm, as well as the king of all gods during the autumn season, thanking him for the bountiful rains and good harvest. However, Krishna thought that instead of thanking a distant God, they should thank the Mount Govardhan that stood in the middle of the habitation. Irked by people praying Govardhan, Indra decided to punish the locals with heavy torrential rain, it then when Krishna lifted the mountain to provide shelter and protection to the people. After much trial and tribulation, Indra accepted that he could not harm the villagers and realised that he had let his ego dictate his actions, thus, conceding defeat.
Govardhan Puja Vidhi
When Krishna urged people to thank Mount Govardhan for his offerings, he asked people to create a mountainous offering of food and delicacies for a ‘giri yagna’. It is said that Krishna himself, then assumed the form of a mountain himself and accepted the villagers’ offerings.
Thus, on this special day, people prepare elaborate vegetarian meals of 56 or 108 different kinds of dishes made with wheat, rice, gram flour. Delicious food using leafy vegetables, milk, pulses, and fruits are also cooked and offered to Lord Krishna on this day.
Also, people create a hillock using cow dung, that symbolically refers to Govardhan, the mountain Krishna had lifted. The small hillock is adorned with flowers and devotees circumambulate the hillock and pray to Lord Govardhan, asking him to protect their families.
Govardhan Puja Muhurat
According to religious texts, Govardhan Puja is conducted during the Pratipada Tithi of Kartik month. The Govardhan puja is conducted in the morning as well as the evening. Here are the mahurat timings for conducting a puja.
Pratipada Tithi Begins at 12:41 am on October 20, 2017
Pratipada Tithi Ends at 1:37 am on October 21, 2017
Govardhan Puja Pratahkal Muhurat — 6:28 am to 8:43 am
Duration: 2 hours 14 mins
Govardhan Puja Sayankal Muhurat — 3:27 pm to 5:42 pm
Duration: 2 hours 14 mins