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Padwa and Govardhan Pooja

The fourth day of Diwali falls on the first day Karthik Masa of the Indian calendar. It is known as Varshapratipada or Padwa. Gudi Padwa is symbolic of love between the husband and wife. Newly wed females are invited over to their parents place along with their husbands. This day also marks the coronation of King Vikramaditya and Vikaram-Samvat was started from this Padwa day. Legend says that on this day King Bali would come out of Pathal Loka and rule Bhulok as per the boon given by Lord Vishnu. According to the other version of the story, it is said that Bali was killed by Lord Vishnu on this day because he had imprisoned his wife as well as the other deities. Hence, it is also known as “Bali Pratipada” Though Padwa is a very auspicious day to start new ventures, businessmen open their account books afresh and every kind of transaction, receipt or payment and business is postponed. Padwa is majorly celebrated in the state of Maharashtra. In Haryana and Gujrat this day is celebrated as the New Year as Vikram-Samvat starts on this day.

Govardhan Pooja also falls on the first day of Kartik Masa of the Indian calendar. A very famous and interesting story revolves around this day. Legend has it that Lord Krishna lifted the Gowardhan Parvat to save the people from the wrath of Lord Indra (God of Rains). Indra refused to stop the rains which resulted into a chaos and chances of floods. It became unbearable and hence Krishna lifted the Govardhan Hill to provide shelter to the people and protect them from the rains. In this way he defeated Indra.

Govardhan Pooja is also called as Annakut as a mountain of food is decorated symbolizing Govardhan mountain. This pooja is performed with great zeal and enthusiasm and in the states of Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In Rajasthan and Haryana, there is a tradition of building cow dung hillocks,which symbolize the Mount Govardhan. These hillocks are then decorated with flowers and people worship them by moving in a circle around it while offering prayers.

Pious people stay awake the whole night and cook 56 or 108 different types of food for the bhog (the offering of food) to Krishna. In temples specially in Mathura and Nathadwara, the deities are given a milkbath and then dressed in shining attires with ornaments of dazzling diamonds, pearls, rubies and other precious stones. After the prayers innumerable varieties of delicious sweets are ceremoniously raised in the form of a mountain before the deities as “Bhog” and then the same is distributed amongst the devotees as Prasad.

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