Govardhan 2016.07.13 (VT): “Sapta Kosi” (22 kilometres) Govardhan parikrama (encircling the sacred Govardhan hill) has been a part of Braj culture for ages. It is believed that one who does this parikrama will be freed from all grief and the pains of the material world, and will get a place at the lotus feet of Lord Krishna. Therefore devotees consider it a most auspicious and sacred act.
As the Muriya festival is approaching, devotees from all over the world are thronging to Govardhan hill to do parikrama on the auspicious occasion of Guru Purnima. Most devotees walk around the hill, whereas a few do “dandauti parikrama” by lying down on the ground to enhance their devotion towards Lord Krishna.
Nowadays many people are also using public and private vehicles to do parikrama, but somehow this lacks the spiritual connection to the Lord, due to which many still continue to do parikrama in the traditional manner.
Thousands of people do a walking parikrama of Govardhan almost every day, but more than a crore people are expected to be there for the Muriya festival. Walking parikrama is generally done without any footwear, walking in quiet contemplation of the Lord or loudly chanting his names. Parikrama by walking takes around 5 hours depending on one’s speed.
Dughdhar Parikrama (Milk Parikrama)
Devotees do a dughdhar parikrama (milk parikrama) of the Govardhan hill in which they take a clay pot filled with milk. A small hole is then made at the bottom of the pot and “kusha” (holy grass) is fixed in it, from which a small amount of milk keeps dropping. People then encircle the hill offering milk to the God. It takes around 40-45 litres of milk to do dughdhar parikrama.
Dhoop parikrama (incense parikrama) is done to purify the aroma around the sacred Govardhan hill. In earlier days, devotees use to keep a piece of solid cow dung burning in a pot and walked with that. But with the changing times, people now just carry burning incense sticks.
Dandauti parikrama is the toughest form of encircling the Govardhan hill. In this, devotees lie down after every step to complete the 22-kilometre long parikrama. They touch the sacred Braj dust with their head and eyes, get up, take a step and lie down again. A small stone or coconut is used to mark every step they take. It takes around 17,300 “dandwats” and 7-8 days to complete one parikrama of the sacred hill.