Govardhan Hill Celebrations
BY: SUN STAFF
Govardhana Hill, Vrindaban
Nov 4, USA (SUN) Celebrations in honor of Govardhana Hill and Giri Govardhana have taken place at ISKCON temples around the world this month. Govardhana Puja is the festival celebrating Sri Krsna’s pastime of lifting Govardhana Hill to protect the residents of Vrindavan from the wrath of Lord Indra’s storm. In Krsna Book, Srila Prabhupada relates the story of how the village cowherds and local vaisyas arranged to worship King Indra, hoping for boons of rain and good crops to feed the cows. Krsna’s father, Nanda Maharaja, was arranging a yajna to the demigod, but Krsna encouraged him instead to make many opulent preparations from ghee and grains for offering to the cows, the brahmanas and to Govardhana Hill. The residents of Vrindaban did just that, circumambulating Govardhana Hill worshipfully. Krsna then expanded Himself into the giant form of Govardhan and accepted their offerings.
This all greatly agitated the mind of Lord Indra, who called forth the samvartaka clouds to produce an intense storm and flooding that would destroy the entire village. Lord Krsna saved the residents of Vrindaban by lifting the entire Govardhana Hill aloft, keeping it raised on his one little finger for seven days while everyone took shelter beneath it from Indra’s wrathful storm.
"The cowherd men then inquired from Krsna how He wanted the yajna performed, and Krsna gave them the following directions. "Prepare very nice foodstuffs of all descriptions from the grains and ghee collected for the yajna. Prepare rice, dhal, then halava, pakora, puri and all kinds of milk preparations, like sweet rice, sweetballs, sandesa, rasagulla and laddu, and invite the learned brahmanas who can chant the Vedic hymns and offer oblations to the fire. The brahmanas should be given all kinds of grains in charity. Then decorate all the cows and feed them well. After performing this, give money in charity to the brahmanas. As far as the lower animals are concerned, such as the dogs, and the lower grades of people, such as the candalas, or the fifth class of men who are considered untouchable, they also may be given sumptuous prasadam. After giving nice grasses to the cows, the sacrifice known as Govardhana-puja may immediately begin. This sacrifice will very much satisfy Me."
Krsna Book, Chapter 25
Govardhana Hill, Vrindaban
Devotees around the world celebrate Sri Krsna’s Govardhan pastime with a yearly festival called Govardhan Puja. A replica of Govardhan is built with prasadam, and a murti of Lord Krsna is placed atop it for the devotees to circumambulate and offer kirtana to.
In Vrindavan, throngs of devotees arrived to take darshan of Giri Govardhana. A most amazing Govardhana Hill was fashioned out of opulent foodstuffs, as shown here in photographs taken by Bhurijana das.
Govardhana Hill, Chowpatty Temple
At the Chowpatty temple, a similarly opulent and enormous Govardhana Hill was built of prasadam, as described in a recent article by Arush Chopra:
"A mountain of freshly cooked rice, ponds full of milkshakes and hills of barfis - this may sound like a scene from a fairy tale. However, here we are not talking about any fairy tale, but the Govardhan Puja festival organised by ISCKON at the Sri Sri Radha Gopinath Mandir, Girgaum, Chowpatty. On Thursday, as part of the festivities, a tableaux made entirely of food items on were display.
The ‘mountain of prasad’ depicting the Govardhan hill that Lord Krishna had effortlessly balanced on his little finger for seven days was clearly the centre of attraction for thousands of devotees who thronged the temple to offer their prayers and partake the prasad with divine blessings.“Most of the food has been prepared by the regular members of the congregation at their homes. I prepared about 5 Kg of burfi,” said Shoba Fernandes, a regular visitor and closely involved with the temple’s affairs. Chants of ‘Hare Krishna’ filled the air as devotees enjoyed the aarti to the beats of mridangam."