Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Padwa and Govardhan Puja

India is the land of cultural diversity and hence, in different parts of India different celebrations take place. One such festival is Padwa & Govardhan Puja, which are celebrated in different parts of the country with great fervor.

The Govardhan Puja takes place on the day after Diwali or on the fourth day of the Diwali celebration. Padwa and Govardhan Puja are celebrated at different parts of the country differently. When the celebration is popularly known as Padwa in Maharashtra and the western part of India, it is called Govardhan Puja in the northern states of India.

The Padwa is celebrated on the fourth day of the Diwali celebration or the day after the Amavasya. It is also called the 'Kartik Shuddh Padwa' since it takes places on the first day of the Kartik month.

According to the mythology associated with the Padwa, it is said to be the day when King Bali comes out of the patal lok, or the nether land reclaim the Bhoo Lok, which was given to him by the Baman avatar of Vishnu. Hence, the day is also called 'Bali Padyami' in certain parts of India. Indians also celebrate Padwa as the day of coronation of King Vikramaditya and the calendar which was initiated by Vikramaditya starts on the day of Padwa.

In some parts of the India Padwa is also considered as an occasion to celebrate conjugal love. On this day the newly married daughters are invited with their husband to their parental houses for special feats. Exchanging of gifts and wishes are integral parts of the celebration.

Govardhan Puja
According to the Hindu mythology Lord Krisha performed Govardhan Puja for good harvest. On the day of the puja people gather at the temples to offer oblation to the God. People will create a hillock with cow dung, replicating the Govardhan Parvat. They will then decorate the hillock with garlands and flowers and worship it.

A sneak peek at the background of Govardhan Puja
According to the Vishnu Puraan the people of Mathura used to worship Lord Indra for good rain and harvest. But Lord Krishna disagreed to the idea and said that it is the Govardhan parvat which they should worship. This had made lord Indra so enraged that he flooded the small village with incessant rain. Lord Kirsha then came forward to rescue the people of Braj and offered puja to please Govardhan Paevat so that he can raise him on his little finger and provide the people with shelter.

Anna-koot is a part of Govardhan puja. The word Anna-koot means ‘mountain of food’. On this auspicious day people offer an oblation of fifty-six spread, known as ‘chappen bhog’.

Anna-koot is specially celebrated in Mathura and Nathdwara, where the deities are bathed in milk and dresses in new shinning clothes.

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