Govardhan Puja or Annakut puja is celebrated across India and Nepal to cherish the victory of Lord Krishna over the King of demigods Lord Indra. Lord Krishna taught the people of Vrindavan to worship nature. Annakut pooja is performed with immense gratitude, passion, and eagerness. Govardhan Puja is performed on the fourth day of Diwali by worshiping the heap of grain which symbolizes the Govardhan Parvat (mountain).
The story behind Govardhan Puja or Annakut
One day, Lord Krishna wanted to teach Indra a lesson. He convinced the inhabitants of Vrindavan to honor Govardhan Hill instead, whose fertile soil provided the grass upon which the cows and bulls grazed, and to honor the cows and bulls who provided milk and plowed the lands. Outraged, Indra retaliated with terrifying thunderstorms. Lord Krishna, calmly lifted Govardhan Hill with the little finger of his left hand. For seven days and seven nights, Sri Krishna held up Govardhan Hill, providing a giant umbrella to shelter the inhabitants of Vrindavan from the torrential rain.
Realizing the futility of his actions, King Indra bowed down before the Lord with folded hands and offered prayers of supplication. In this way, Lord Krishna demonstrated that He is Deva Deva, the lord of the demigods and that any purpose for which demigods might be worshiped could easily be served by worshiping Him, the cause of all causes.
Several thousand years later, on this same day, Srila Madhavendra Puri established a temple for the self-manifest Gopala Deity on top of Govardhan Hill.
Devotees prepare varieties of foodstuffs with grain and ghee and all kinds of milk preparations. The food is stacked like a small hill and offered to the Lord. Then it is distributed to everyone as prasadam. Hence, this festival is also called the Annakut Festival.
Significance of Govardhan Puja
The Govardhan Puja is also significant as it spreads the message of conserving natural resources. Worshipping the mother nature has always been an integral practice in Hindu dharma. The main purpose behind the mountain worship has always been conservation and protection of the vulnerable and precious natural resources.