Friday 20th October 2017
Govardhana Puja, Go-Puja and Annakuta are all connected with the story of Lord Krishna lifting Govardhana Hill to protect the inhabitants of Vrindavan. On this day, a hill of sweets is made from food prepared by the devotees, which is then offered to the Deities, and subsequently distributed to everyone. This is known as the “annakuta” ceremony. Cows are honoured as part of the festivities as well.
Celebrations at Bhaktivedanta Manor
4:30am Mangal Arati
7:30am Deity Greeting
12:00am Go-Puja in the Goshalla
1:00pm Govardhana Hill arrives in the Tent
1:30pm Goverdhan Puja in the Tent
2:15pm Free Vegetarian Meal (Prasadam)
Note: Annakuta Darshan from 7:30am-7:30pm (darshan will be closed between 5:00am-7:30am)
The story behind Govardhan Puja
The day after Diwali is referred to as Annakuta, or Govardhan Puja. On this day the inhabitants of Vrindavan (Lord Krishna’s abode on Earth) would hold a harvest festival in honor of King Indra, the demigod who provided the rains essential for the harvest.
One day, however, 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 ploughed the lands. Outraged, Indra retaliated with terrifying thunderstorms. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, calmly lifted Govardhan Hill with the little finger of his left hand. For seven days and seven nights the Lord 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.
To celebrate this festival, devotees build a replica of Govardhan Hill made of various opulent foods, worship Lord Krishna as the lifter of Govardhan Hill, worship the hill as His incarnation, and worship the cows and bulls who are dear to the Lord.
At the end of the festival, the hill of prasada (sanctified food) is distributed to the public. All Vaishnava temples in India observe this ceremony, and hundreds of people are given prasada according to the capacity of each temple.