Govardhan-Puja is a festival to worship Lord Krishna and Govardhan Parvat or Mount Govardhan. It is widely celebrated in the northern part of India. This is the fourth day of Diwali and is celebrated in commemoration of lifting the mountain Govardhan byLord Krishna on his finger tip.
The day is to worship Govardhan mountain which is said to have saved its’ inhabitants from incessant rains. It symbolizes the importance of nature in our lives.
Gowardhan Puja is also known as Annakut Puja. On this day food made of cereals like wheat, rice, curry made of gram flour and leafy vegetables is cooked and offered to Lord Krishna.
In Maharashtra the same day is celebrated as Bali Pratipada or Bali Padva. The day commemorates victory of Vamana, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, over King Bali and subsequent pushing of Bali to Patal Lok (the underworld). It is believed that due to boon given by Lord Vamana, Asura King Bali visits the Prithvi Lok from the Patala Lok on this day.
Govardhan Puja Legends
'Govardhan' is a small hillock situated at 'Braj', near Mathura. The legends in 'Vishnu Puraan' have it that the people of Gokul used to worship and offer prayer to Lord Indra for the rains because they believed that it was he who sent rains for their welfare but Lord Krishna told them that it was Mount Govardhan (Govardhan Paevat) and not Lord Indra who caused rains therefore they should worship the former and not the latter. People did the same and it made Lord Indra so furious that the people of Gokul had to face very heavy rains as a result of his anger. Then Lord Krishna came forward to ensure their security and after performing worship and offering prayers to Mount Govardhan lifted it as an umbrella on the little finger of his right hand so that everyone could take shelter under it. After this event Lord Krishna was also known as Giridhari or Govardhandhari.