We have reached the fourth day of the five-day Diwali festival. On this day Govardhan Puja takes place. The Govardhan Puja or Annakut festival falls on the first lunar day of Shukla Paksha (bright fortnight) of the Hindu calendar month of Kartik. This year, it is celebrated on November 8, 2018. The day is also celebrated as Balipratipada in honour of the notional return of the demon king Bali to earth. Balipratipada also called Akashadipa is celebrated as New Year Day in Gujarat. Despite several other observances, it is the Govardhan Puja, which is widely celebrated on the fourth day of Diwali.
Significance and History of Govardhan Puja or Annakut Puja
According to the scriptures, the people of Vrindavan used to offer lavish meals to Lord Indra-The God of rain and storm, to make sure he blesses them with timely rainfall and good harvest. Little Krishna found the practice to be too harsh for the small-time farmers and convinced them to stop making these offerings to Lord Indra and feed their families instead. On not finding his ritualistic offerings, Indra sent down rain and thunderstorm out of anger in Vrindawan. The rains continued for days.
Fearing for their lives, the villagers approached Krishna for help who then asked everyone to proceed to the Govardhan hill. Once there, he lifted the whole hill with his little finger, people trickled under the hill to take shelter from the storm.
On this auspicious day, several devotees go to the Govardhan hill and offer food and delicacies to Lord Krishna. Those who cannot go, offer him bhog of 56 items in their homes. Some of the common items found in the chappan bhog are makhan misri, kheer, rasgulla, jeera ladoo, jalebi, rabri, mathri, malpua, mohan bhog, chutney, murabba, saag, dahi, rice, dal, kadhi, ghewar, chila, papad, moong dal ka halwa, pakoda, khichadi etc. There is also a common ritual of making small mounds of cow dung to represent Govardhan Mountain, which is then beautifully decorated with flowers.
Govardhan Puja 2018: Govardhan Puja Date and Time
Govardhan Puja Pratahkal Muhurat = 6:45 AM to 08:57 AM
Govardhan Puja Sayankal Muhurat = 3:32 PM to 5:43 PM
Pratipada Tithi Begins = 9:31 PM on 7/Nov/2018
Pratipada Tithi Ends = 9:07 PM on 8/Nov/2018