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More Details about Festival - Goverdhan Puja (Kartik Shukl Pratipada)

Goverdhan is a hillock in the vicinity of Gokul, where Krishna spent his childhood. This worship was previously in honour of king of gods Indra, because it was believed that by rainfall, Indra awarded them good crops and thereby Indra was their bread giver. The maidens used to gather at the base of the Goverdhan hill, sing, dance and offered sweets and food, so much so that it gave a mountainous look. Krishna with his fellow comrades went there and saw the merriment and the heap of foods. He stressed that it was not Indra, who gave them rain and good crops, but it was Goverdhan hill which gave them these tributes, so Goverdhan hill which gave them these tributes, so Goverdhan hill should be worshipped and the hill will accept their food and sweets. Instead of Indra, who never consumed their oblation. Then Krishna by virtue of his divine powers, consumed all the food. The devotees were pleased and since then worship of Goverdhan commenced replacing worship of Indra.

The wandering priest of gods, Narada came by, saw Goverdhan Puja and flew back to Indra lok and instigated Indra against Goverdhan worship. Enraged Indra gave orders for continuous heavy rainfall on Goverdhan and Gokul. During seven days of intense rainfall residents of Gokul raised hue and cry and went to Krishna seeking advice. Krishna advised them all to go the base of Goverdhan. Then the lord lifted Goverdhan on a little finger of his hand and there by provided shelter to all residents. Indra was surprised at his defeat, sought advice from Brahma, who exposed that Krishna was none other but an incarnation of Vishnu god. Indra realized his misunderstanding and begged pardon of Krishna.

Another legend describes that when Lord Rama wished to cross the sea to invade Sri Lanka, he said that a very big boulder should be put in the sea first to make the bridge. Hanuman was asked to bring such boulder from the Himalayas. Hanuman set forth and put in all his might to lift a big boulder, but he failed. Then he heard a voice, which seemed to come from that boulder, it said, “I can lighten my weight, if you make me a promise to allow me to worship Lord Rama”. Hanuman agreed and the boulder could be lifted. On the way, when Hanuman was near Mathura-Gokul, he heard the voice of Jamvant (worthy bear minister) that the bridge was ready and no boulder was required. So Hanuman put the boulder at the spot where Goverdhan hillock exists at present, when he was about to move the boulder cried, “you have left me of no avail. I came with you with a promise. You have ditched me by not even having a glimpse of Rama.” Hanuman explained his problem to Lord Rama. Rama said that in his next incarnation in Dwapar Yuga, he would appear as Krishna in Gokul-Vrindaban region and then he would relieve Goverdhan from the anger of Indra, its master and that he would himself lift the boulder (Goverdhan paravat Hillock). Goverdhan puja initiated with the lifting of the hillock by Krishna.

Since then Goverdhan worship is done by the residents of Gokul, Braj region and by devotees from far off places who circumambulate the hillock, once a year and worship Krishna avtar. This worship is also called “Annakoot” i.e. food hilltop.

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