The fourth day of the five day long festivals, followed by Diwali is Govardhan Puja. This festival is another day of celebration holding special tribute to Lord Krishna by his devotees. There is a tradition of building cow dung hillocks, which symbolize the Mount Govardhan, the mountain which was once lifted by Lord Krishna. After making such hillocks people decorate them with flowers and then worship them. They move in a circle around the cow dung hillocks and offer prayers to Lord Govardhan.
This day is also observed as Anna-Koot, which literally means ‘mountain of food’. On this auspicious day the people prepare fifty-six or one hundred and eight different varieties of delicious dishes to offer Lord Krishna as ‘Bhog’. In the temples the deities are given milk bath, dressed in new shining attires and decorated with ornaments. Then they are worshipped, offered prayers and bhajans and also offered delicious sweets, fruits and eatables that are ceremoniously raised in the form of a mountain before the idols.
Legend of the festival:
This festival signifies the victory of humility and nobleness of Lord Krishna over the ego of Lord Indra. Due to the strong pride of Lord Indra, he felt insulted when the devotees of Mathura adored Govardhan hill and the cows and bulls. He expressed his rage through heavy and violent rains. Soon lord Krishna came to rescue and he protected the villagers as well as the animals by lifting up the hill on his little finger. The love and faith of the people for Lord Krishna, made lord Indra realize his worth and he had to surrender his ego in the feet of Supreme God.
This festival is a celebration of the love between the being and his supreme creation. Human beings express their gratitude by performing different rituals and also pray for their safety and blessings. It also express our love for the natural habitat and inspires the being to value and conserve the natural resources.
This day is also celebrated as Bali Pratipada or Bali Padva. It is celebrated in regards of the victory of Vamana (incarnation of the Lord Vishnu) over demon King Bali. It also marks the coronation of King Vikramaditya as ‘Vikaram-Samvat’ was started from this Padwa day.