Why We Celebrate Govardhan Puja After Diwali

Govardhan Puja is a revered Hindu festival celebrated with great enthusiasm, particularly in the northern parts of India.

Occurring the day after Diwali, it holds deep cultural and spiritual significance. The festival commemorates the legend of Lord Krishna lifting the Govardhan Hill to protect the villagers of Vrindavan from torrential rains.

It is a celebration that not only honors this divine act but also symbolizes the triumph of nature and the importance of ecological balance. This article explores the reasons behind celebrating Govardhan Puja immediately following the jubilant festivities of Diwali.

Key Takeaways

  • Govardhan Puja is intimately linked with Diwali, marking the continuation of the festive spirit and celebrating the victory of good over evil.
  • The festival is rooted in the historical legend of Lord Krishna saving the villagers by lifting Mount Govardhan, symbolizing the defeat of pride by humility.
  • It emphasizes the connection with nature and agriculture, as it involves the worship of Mount Govardhan and gratitude for the bounties of the land.
  • Traditional rituals include the preparation of Annakut, a mountain of food, which is offered to the deities and signifies abundance and prosperity.
  • Govardhan Puja fosters community unity and devotion, as people come together to perform prayers, circumambulation, and share in the festive joy.

The Cultural Significance of Govardhan Puja

Historical Roots and Legends

Govardhan Puja has deep historical roots and is intertwined with several legends within Hinduism. One of the most prominent tales associated with this festival is the story of Lord Krishna lifting the Govardhan Hill to protect the inhabitants of Vrindavan from the wrath of the rain god, Indra.

This act of divine intervention is celebrated as a symbol of protection and the nurturing aspect of God.

The festival also underscores the importance of nature and its conservation, reflecting the Hindu ethos of respecting and preserving the environment. The legend of Govardhan Puja is not just a narrative from the past but continues to influence the cultural fabric of the present.

  • The tale of Krishna and Govardhan Hill
  • The defeat of Indra's pride
  • The protection of Vrindavan's inhabitants
  • The celebration of nature's bounty
The essence of Govardhan Puja lies in the devotion and gratitude expressed towards nature, which sustains all life forms.

The Worship of Mount Govardhan

Mount Govardhan holds a revered place in Hindu tradition, particularly during Govardhan Puja.

It is believed that by worshipping Mount Govardhan, devotees pay homage to Lord Krishna, who, according to legend, lifted the entire hill to protect the villagers from the wrath of the rain god, Indra. This act of divine intervention is celebrated with great enthusiasm, symbolizing the protective nature of the divine.

The rituals involve offering prayers and making offerings to the mountain, which is seen as a representation of God.

Devotees prepare a variety of vegetarian dishes and offer them to the mountain, a practice that reflects the community's gratitude and dependence on natural resources.

The celebration of Govardhan Puja fosters a deep connection between the community, their environment, and their faith, underscoring the interdependence of all forms of life.

Connection with Nature and Agriculture

Govardhan Puja embodies the deep connection between cultural festivities and the agrarian lifestyle that prevails in many parts of India. It is a day that underscores the reverence for nature and the sustenance it provides.

Celebrated just after the harvest season, it is a time when farmers give thanks for their bountiful crops and pray for future prosperity.

The festival is marked by the worship of cattle, which are integral to farming and agriculture. Cows, in particular, are honored for their role in plowing fields and providing milk.

This respect for cattle highlights the symbiotic relationship between humans and animals in maintaining the ecological balance.

  • Worship of cattle
  • Thanksgiving for harvest
  • Prayers for future prosperity
Govardhan Puja serves as a reminder of the importance of environmental conservation and the responsible use of natural resources. It is a celebration that brings together the community, fostering a spirit of gratitude and unity.

Govardhan Puja in the Context of Diwali Celebrations

Diwali: The Festival of Lights

Diwali, celebrated with grandeur across India, is a time when the country is illuminated with lights and the air is filled with the spirit of joy and prosperity.

This festival symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil, resonating with the story of Lord Rama's return to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana. Homes are adorned with diyas, rangolis, and families come together to share sweets and gifts.

The celebration of Diwali is not just limited to Hinduism but extends to other faiths as well. For Sikhs, Diwali coincides with Bandi Chhor Divas, commemorating Guru Hargobind Sahib's release from imprisonment.

The Sikh community celebrates by lighting up gurdwaras and homes, and sharing festive meals, echoing the broader Diwali festivities.

The essence of Diwali is the celebration of life, encouraging individuals to dispel ignorance and embrace knowledge and enlightenment. The festival's ethos promotes unity, sharing, and an appreciation for the light within us all.

Govardhan Puja: The Day After Diwali

Govardhan Puja is celebrated with great fervor as a part of the extended Diwali festivities. It marks the transition from the jubilation of Diwali to a day of reverence and gratitude.

The festival falls on the first lunar day of Shukla Paksha (bright fortnight) in the Hindu calendar month of Kartik, which is the day after Diwali.

The day is dedicated to the worship of Mount Govardhan by offering a 'mountain' of food, symbolizing the nourishment provided by nature. This tradition stems from the legend of Lord Krishna saving the villagers from the wrath of the rain god, Indra.

The significance of Govardhan Puja is not only religious but also reflects the agricultural aspect of the society. It is a time when farmers pay homage to the earth that sustains them. The following list highlights the sequence of events leading up to Govardhan Puja:

  • Diwali: The grand celebration of lights and the victory of good over evil.
  • Govardhan Puja: A day to honor the environment and the sustenance it provides.
  • Annakut: Communities come together to prepare and share a feast, representing the 'mountain of food'.

The continuity of celebration from Diwali to Govardhan Puja underscores the unity and joy within the community, as they move from the exuberance of Diwali to the humble offerings of Govardhan Puja.

The Continuation of Festive Joy

Govardhan Puja marks the extension of the Diwali festivities, a time when the jubilation and the spirit of the festival of lights carry forward.

It symbolizes the perpetuation of joy and togetherness in the community, as families and friends gather for another day of celebration.

The day is characterized by specific rituals that distinguish it from Diwali, yet the underlying sentiment of gratitude and reverence remains consistent. The following list highlights the key aspects of Govardhan Puja that contribute to the ongoing festive atmosphere:

  • The preparation of a variety of traditional dishes.
  • The creation of Annakut, a ceremonial mountain of food, offered to Lord Krishna.
  • Engaging in the act of 'Parikrama', circumambulating Mount Govardhan.
  • Sharing of food and sweets among community members, reinforcing social bonds.
Govardhan Puja serves as a reminder of the importance of community and the shared joy that festivals bring. It is a day that fosters unity and encourages reflection on the blessings of the past year, while looking forward to prosperity and happiness in the year to come.

Rituals and Traditions of Govardhan Puja

Preparation and Offerings

The meticulous preparations for Govardhan Puja involve a harmonious blend of devotion and tradition. Devotees engage in cleaning and decorating their homes and temples, symbolizing a fresh start and respect for the divine.

The offerings are a central element of the puja, consisting of a variety of foods that are later distributed among the community.

  • Clean and adorn the worship area
  • Prepare traditional dishes and sweets
  • Arrange the offerings in an aesthetically pleasing manner
The essence of Govardhan Puja lies in the collective spirit of giving and sharing that strengthens community bonds.

The Annakut, or 'mountain of food', is a spectacular sight, with the food symbolically representing the Govardhan Hill. This ritual signifies gratitude for the bounties of nature and is a reminder of the divine providence.

Annakut: The Mountain of Food

Annakut, which translates to 'a mountain of food', is a vibrant expression of gratitude and abundance. Devotees prepare and offer a variety of vegetarian dishes to the deity as a symbol of appreciation for the bountiful harvest. The offerings typically include cereals, fruits, vegetables, and sweets, each signifying the richness of the earth's yield.

The tradition of Annakut is a testament to the community's unity and devotion, as families and friends come together to prepare the feast. This collective effort not only strengthens social bonds but also reinforces the cultural ethos of sharing and caring.

The spirit of Annakut goes beyond mere feasting; it is a profound recognition of nature's gifts and a celebration of the sustenance it provides.

The following list represents some of the common items included in the Annakut feast:

  • Cereals like wheat, rice, and millets
  • A variety of fruits such as bananas, apples, and grapes
  • Assorted vegetables including potatoes, carrots, and beans
  • An array of sweets like laddus, barfis, and jalebis

Prayers and Circumambulation

Following the offerings and the grand display of Annakut, devotees engage in the significant act of prayers and circumambulation. This involves walking around Mount Govardhan, or a representation of it, which symbolizes respect and devotion to Lord Krishna.

The circumambulation, known as 'Parikrama', is performed with great reverence and is often accompanied by the chanting of prayers and hymns.

The completion of the Parikrama marks the beginning of post-ceremony traditions. These include distributing gifts and sweets to guests, which is a gesture of sharing joy and blessings. Cultural performances, music, and dance often follow, contributing to the vibrant atmosphere of the festival. A communal feast typically concludes the day's events, bringing people together in a spirit of unity and celebration.

The essence of Govardhan Puja lies in its ability to foster community spirit and reinforce the bonds of kinship among participants.

The Symbolism of Govardhan Puja

Victory of Humility over Pride

Govardhan Puja symbolizes the victory of humility over pride, a central theme in its underlying story. According to legend, Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Hill to protect the villagers from the wrath of the rain god, Indra, who was angered by their devotion to Krishna over him.

This act represents the triumph of modesty and devotion over arrogance and ego.

The festival encourages the shedding of pride and the embracing of a simpler, more humble approach to life.

The lessons from this story are reflected in the rituals of Govardhan Puja:

  • Devotees offer their respects to the mountain, acknowledging the protection it provided.
  • The community comes together, setting aside individual egos, to celebrate with gratitude and humility.
  • The act of circumambulation, or 'parikrama', around the hill is a physical manifestation of these values, as it signifies reverence and the abandonment of selfish desires.

The Importance of Conservation

Govardhan Puja serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of conservation. The festival's emphasis on nature and the environment underscores a message of sustainable living and respect for the earth's resources.

The act of worshiping Mount Govardhan symbolizes the acknowledgment of natural resources as divine gifts that must be preserved and cherished.

In the context of Govardhan Puja, conservation takes on a spiritual dimension, where the protection of the environment is seen as a sacred duty.

This perspective encourages communities to engage in practices that ensure the longevity of the natural world, which in turn supports their own well-being and prosperity.

  • Sustainable agriculture practices
  • Water conservation efforts
  • Preservation of local flora and fauna
  • Promotion of ecological balance
The festival inspires a collective responsibility towards maintaining the balance of the ecosystem, fostering a culture of care and reverence for nature.

Unity and Devotion in the Community

Govardhan Puja serves as a powerful reminder of the strength found in unity and collective devotion.

Communities come together, setting aside individual differences, to participate in the rituals and celebrations. This collective spirit is mirrored in other festivals across India, where the sense of unity in diversity is palpable.

  • Fairs and festivals practice culture and religion.
  • They present a sense of unity in diversity.
  • Deeply connected with rituals.
The essence of Govardhan Puja transcends the mere act of worship; it fosters a sense of belonging and togetherness among the participants, reinforcing the social fabric of the community.


Govardhan Puja, celebrated just after Diwali, is a vibrant and significant festival that embodies the spirit of gratitude and devotion. It is a time when communities come together to honor Lord Krishna's miraculous feat of lifting the Govardhan Hill to protect the villagers from torrential rains.

This festival not only strengthens the cultural fabric of Hindu society but also reinforces the values of humility, protection of nature, and the importance of nurturing bonds within the community.

As the festivities of Diwali conclude, Govardhan Puja provides a reflective yet joyous transition, reminding us of the continuous cycle of celebration and reverence that is integral to Indian traditions and the Hindu faith.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the significance of Govardhan Puja?

Govardhan Puja commemorates the day when Lord Krishna lifted Mount Govardhan to protect the people of Vrindavan from torrential rains caused by Lord Indra's anger. It symbolizes the victory of humility over pride and the importance of nature in providing for the community.

Why is Govardhan Puja celebrated after Diwali?

Govardhan Puja is celebrated the day after Diwali, as per the Hindu calendar. It follows the grand festivities of Diwali, continuing the celebration of good over evil and light over darkness. It also signifies the beginning of the Hindu New Year in some regions.

What are the main rituals performed during Govardhan Puja?

The main rituals include preparing and offering a large variety of vegetarian food to Lord Krishna, known as Annakut or the 'mountain of food'. Devotees also perform Prayers and Circumambulation (Parikrama) of Govardhan hillocks made of cow dung or hillocks symbolizing the sacred mountain.

How is Govardhan Puja related to nature and agriculture?

Govardhan Puja has a strong connection with nature and agriculture as it marks the end of the monsoon and the beginning of the harvest season. It is a time to thank nature for its bounty and to pray for a good harvest in the coming year.

What is the story behind Bandi Chhor Divas and its relation to Diwali?

Bandi Chhor Divas is celebrated by Sikhs to mark the release of Guru Hargobind Sahib from Gwalior Fort prison and his arrival in Amritsar during Diwali. It is synonymous with Diwali for Sikhs and signifies the victory of light over darkness, reflected in the lighting of homes and gurdwaras.

What other festivals are celebrated around the time of Govardhan Puja?

Around the time of Govardhan Puja, several other festivals are celebrated, including Dhanteras, Kali Chaudash, Diwali, and Bhai Dooj. In some regions, the Hindu New Year and Chhath Puja are also observed shortly after.

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