Govardhan Puja




On the first day of the Hindu New Year, we celebrate Govardhan Puja by offering a large amount of food to God in our homes and temples.  We offer the first food of the year to God and distribute it to all our friends and family as prasad.  We pray for God’s blessing for peace, prosperity, health and happiness for the coming year.


The tradition of offering a “mountain of food” began when once Shri Krushna questioned his father about the tradition of Indra Puja.


Seeing the gopas gathering items for an Indra Yagna, Shri Krushna asked them what they were doing and why ?  His father Nanda baba told him that all the grain and food stuff will be offered up in a yagna as burnt offering to Indra.


Shri Krushna suggested that as, “We are not farmers, there is no need for us to worship the God of rains.  We are herds-men and live amongst the forests and mountains.  We should worship the mount Govardhan that provides our cattle with such luscious grass.  We should show our gratitude to the mountain by worshiping it and offering it food that can be shared with every one.  We should show our gratitude to the cows and Brahmins too by offering them food and clothes. 


Lord Shri Krushna wanted the people of Vraj to be ecologically aware and not waste food by burning it, but instead use it to feed the poor.  He told the villagers that, "This prasad should be distributed to everyone regardless of caste or gender.  Even the animals should be offered the prasad".  Hence we distribute the prasad to everyone after the Govardhan Puja.


On New Year’s day, the Gopas worshiped the mount Govardhan by bathing a large rock in the valley with waters from the river Yamuna.  River was far and the rock was large, so Shri Krishna created a new spring near the rock to make life easier for people.  They offered new clothes, put a kum kum tilak and garlands on the rock.  They placed the food as an offering, did arti and went around the mountain by doing a “parikram”.  To establish their faith in the new “God” Shri Krushna appeared as a large mountain deity, ate the food offered and gave them prasad.


We still carry on the tradition by doing darshan and offer food to the Gods on the first day of the year and share it with our loved ones.






 Bhagwat Shah ©

Pushti Marg

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