Bali Pratipada or Govardhan Puja (Annakut Puja) is held a day after the main Diwali in the month of Kartik. The day is celebrated by the Hindus as Lord Krishna had defeated the God Indra. Sometimes there might be one day gap between Diwali and Govardhan Puja. People celebrate Govardhan Puja by making food of cereals such as wheat, rice, curry of gram flour and leafy vegetables in order to offer to the Hindu Lord Krishna.
HISTORY OF GOVARDHAN PUJA
There are many legends that allude to the origin of Govardhan Puja. The most popular of these, states that Govardhan was a small hillock that was located near Mathura at a place called Braj. According to the Vishnu Puraan, that the town of Gokul used to worship Lord Indira because of their belief that he was the one who provided them with rains. The rains were important because their life and livelihood depended on it. However, Lord Krishna told the people that it wasn’t Indra but Govardhan Parvat that brought the rains and therefore the latter should be worshipped and prayed to. When the people followed this ordinance, Lord Indira’s wrath on the people resulted in heavy rains. Lord Krishna then saved the people of Gokul by first praying to Govardhan Parvat and then lifting it on his little finger under which the people took shelter from the rains.
WHY GOVARDHAN PUJA IS BEING CELEBRATED
At some places in India such as the Maharashtra it is celebrated as the Bali Pratipada or Bali Padva. It is celebrated in regards of the victory of Vamana (incarnation of the Lord Vishnu) over demon King Bali. It is considered that King Bali was booned by the Lord Vamana to be very powerful.Somewhere this day is celebrated as the New Year day by Gujarati in the Shukla Paksha Pratipada of the month of Kartik.
LEGENDS OF GOVARDHAN PUJA
Govardhan Puja is celebrated to commemorate the history of Govardhan Parbat through which the lives of many people were saved from the critical rain. It is considered that the people of Gokul were used to worshipping God Indra, also known as God of rain. But Lord Krishna had to change such type of opinions of the people of Gokul. He told that you should all worship the Annakut hill or Govardhan Parbat as he is the real God who is nurturing and saving your lives from drastic conditions by giving you food and shelter. Hence, they had started worshipping that mountain in the place of God Indra. By seeing this, Indra became angry and started raining too much in the Gokul. Finally, Lord Krishna had saved their lives by lifting the Govardhan hill at his little finger and covered the people of Gokul under it. In this way, proud Indra had defeated by the Lord Krishna. Now, the day is celebrated as Govardhan Puja to offer the homage to the Govardhan Parbat. Govardhan puja festival is also being celebrated as the Annakut. The day is also celebrated as Padva or Bali Pratipada in the Maharashtra as it is considered that demon King Bali was defeated and pushed to Patal Loka by the Lord Vishnu in the form of Vamana (incarnation of Lord Vishnu).
HOW TO CELEBRATE ANNAKUT OR GOVARDHAN PUJA
People of Gokul and Mathura celebrate this festival with great enthusiasm and pleasure. People make round, also known as Parikrama (which starts from the bath in the Manasi Ganga and puja of Manasi Devi, Harideva and Brahma Kunda. There are approximately eleven Silas on the way of Govardhana Parikrama which have their own special significance) of the Govardhan hill and offer Puja.People make a form of Govardhan Dhari Ji through the heap of cow dung, mountain of food and adorn it with the flowers and worship. The mean of Annakut is, people make variety of Bhog to present to the Lord Krishna. Idols of the God are bathed in the milk and clothed with new clothes as well as jewelry. Then the worship is performed through the traditional prayers, Bhog and aarti.It is celebrated all over the India by decorating the temples of Lord Krishna and organizing a lot of events and after puja foods are distributed among the people. People get blessings of the Lord Krishna by having prasad and touching their head to the feet of God.
Diversity in Celebration
3.Gujarati New Year
4.Attires during Gowardhan Pooja
Interesting Facts and Trivia
1.Govardhan also translates to the blessings (Vardhan) given to human by the cow (go) which is a sacred being in the Hindu culture.
2.Many communities also worship the cow on this day.
3.Besides creating a hillock of food, people also create hillocks of cow dung and celebrate this day by dancing around this hillock.
Govardhan Pooja is also symbolic of the gifts that nature gives to human beings and how they must be conserved and cared for.
Attires during Gowardhan Pooja
The costumes of the celebrants vary from region to region and there is no standard attire that all must wear. However, conforming to Hindu tradition, the celebrants ensure that their attires are ethnic Indian and modest. While the women wear sarees (preferably) or salwar kameez, the men can either wear white or cream colored shirts with pants or kurtas and pyjamas. The sarees worn by the women are colorful as there is no set palette preference for this day.