Vrindavan / Govardhan, 2016.10.31 (VT): Annakoot Mahotsava and Govardhan Puja were celebrated with much joy and splendor in the temples of Vraja. Devotees thronged in Govardhan and worshipped Giriraj at Indra Maan Bhanjan Puja sthal near Jatipura and other Giriraj Temples. Thousands of liters of milk were offered on Girraj, apart from offering varieties of prasad to the mount Govardhan, who is a form of Shri Krishna. The Annakut festival occurs on the first lunar day of Shukla Paksha (bright fortnight) in the Hindu calendar month of Kartik.
The temples of Radha Damodar, Radha Shyam Sundar, Radha Gokulananda, Radha Raman in Vrindavan attracted the most of the crowds to celebrate the festivity. The other temples of Vrindavan were also crowded with the devotees. A mound of cooked rice decorated with 108 cooked vegetable was prepared in the temples. Devotees queued up for hours to have the prasad as they believed, “consuming a few grain will save them from hunger.”
The temples prepared 56 types of delicacies and offered it to the deities seated in the temples. The food offered to Krishna is arranged in the shape of a mound. A huge mound of 251 kilogram Suji Halwa was made in Vrindavan’s Iskcon Temple to give the shape of Giriraj.
Many tourists arrived specially on this occasion to witness this beautiful sight. Then the prasadam was distributed among the devotees. The festival of Govardhan Puja is also known as Annakuta.
Special darshan of the imprints of the Lotus foot of Shri Krishna on Giriraj Shila (a stone from Govardhan Hill) was displayed at Shri Radha Damodar Mandir. This is the special Shila as it was given to Shrila Sanatan Goswami by Shri Krishna himself, with the imprints of His foot, flute, stick and footprints of the cow. It is believed that performing four parikramas to this Girraj Shila is equivalent to one parikrama of the Giriraj Hill itself.
An image of Govardhan was made on the floor in most of the temples using gobar or cow dung. The image was adorned with flowers and branches of the trees. The devotees performed parikrama of the govardhan made of cow dung.
The cows were worshipped after the Govardhan Puja. They were adorned with jewels and garlands. The traditional story of this festival related to the Dwapar Yuga. During the age of Dwapar, in Vraja, people worshipped Lord Indra in Annakuta festival. Shri Krishna thought of changing this tradition and told the people that cows were the real gods that should be worshipped.
According to him, Lord Indra couldn’t be seen and had never accepted the offerings made by the devotees. Hence, the cows should be offered food and worshipped Govardhan. Lord Krishna turned into a cow and ate the food offered to Govardhan. When Indra came to know about this, he became furious and caused heavy rainfall in Vraja. Lord Krishna the picked up the Govardhan hill on his finger under which all the people and animals sought shelter. When seven days of incessant rainfall couldn’t affect Vraja, then Indra realized the divine power of Shri Krishna. He immediately came down and pleaded Shri Krishna for forgiveness. Hence, from this day it is considered that worshipping Govardhan is similar to worshipping Vishnu.