Govardhan, 2018.05.19 (VT): Of the traditional forms of Parikrama, dandavat parikrama is one of the most exacting forms. Dandavat parikrama takes strength, endurance and firm faith.
It usually takes around one week to complete a dandavat parikrama of Shri Govardhan. A person of average height will have to lie on the ground and stand up 17,300 times in order to offer obeisances to the entire circumference of Shri Govardhan.
Dandavat parikrama is done by stretching out on the ground and leaving a marker at the place where your hand reached. Devotees then walk to the place where the stone was placed, pick up the stone and lie down again.
Many devotees undertake further fasting during the week it takes to do dandavat parikrama, abstaining from soap and lotions and oils. To lighten the austerity, residents often form groups and perform the parikrama together, meeting at the same time each day and continuing their parikrama from the place they stopped the day before.
Other traditional forms of Govardhan parikrama include milk-parikrama and dhoop-parikrama. Devotees performing milk parikrama carry a pot of milk with a small hole in the bottom that drips milk along the way, thereby encircling Shri Govardhan with a milk offering. Around 45 litres of milk is needed to do a milk-parikrama.
Dhoop-parikrama is performed by carrying a pot of burning dhoop. The fragrant smoke becomes an offering to Shri Govardhan.
Parikrama can be performed in a variety of ways, according to a devotee’s feeling of what would please Shri Govardhan. Parikrama (or sections of parikrama) are started and ended by paying obeisances to Shri Govardhan, who bestows great mercy on those who do parikrama and helps us feel close to the Supreme.
The benefits of Parikrama are said to increase at particular times such as during purnima (full moon) and during the month of Purushottam Maas (16th May to 13th June 2018). Every purnima, Govardhan’s streets are filled with people who have given up their sleep in order to embark on a six hour walk around the mysterious Govardhan hill, whose glories are beyond our imagination and who was lifted easily by Shri Krishna.
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