The holy hill Goverdhanagiri , more popularly addressed as “GIRIRAJ GOVERDHAN” is located in the middle of the town Goverdhan which is 24 kms from Vrindavan and approximately 26 kms west of Mathura. The routes to Vrindavan and Goverdhan from Mathura are different . Many buses and share autos ply to Goverdhanagiri from Mathura and Vrindavan round the clock. Radha Kund, Shyam Kund and Manasi Ganga are in the precints of the hill.
This HOLY DHAAM is considered as the most sacred place in Vrindavan and performing Pradhikshana is most auspicious .Few lacs number of devotees perform Pradhakshina during Karthik maas and few thousands every day ….
Goverdhana hill is formed in the shape of a peacock. Radha Kund and Shyam Kund are the eyes. Dan Ghati is its long neck. Mukharavinda is the mouth and punchari is its back and tail feathers. As the hill is very sacred , pilgrims are prohibited from climbing the hill. There is a fencing all around the Goverdhana hill . Goverdhana giri is the most blessed devotee as it had Lord Sri Krishna sambandham everyday during Krishnaavataaram which even Himalayas did not have. Krishna Himself chose Goverdhana giri for HIS various pastimes. Of all the devotees , Goverdhana Hill is the best because it supplies Krishna and Balarama with all types of necessities.
In Srimad Bhagavatham, Lord mentions that HE and Goverdhanagiri are identical. As per the scriptures, Krishna used to go to Goverdhanagiri from Vrindavan for gazing cows and would visit the nearby forests with HIS friends. Lord Krishna at such an young age , used to walk about 50 kms to and fro everyday from Vrindavan to Goverdhan without footwear .
This makes us recollect Periazhwar’s pasurams in Yasodha bhaavam
“Naalai thottu kandrin pin pogale kolam seiyudhu enge iru….” .,
Peria azhwar’s feelings when he expresses mother’s anguish to see her child returning from forest without slippers and umbrella.) .
It was customary for the gopas headed by Nanda Maharaja to perform yaagam to please Indra, the king of devas and give their offerings as they felt that Indra was responsible for rains. Krishna ,who was just 7 years old convinced elders that Indra was only doing duties assigned to him and there was no necessity to worship demigods. The Lord added that Goverdhanagiri was providing with their daily requirements including enough grass to the cows which in turn yielded good milk resulting in their prosperity. The Supreme suggested that instead of Indra, Brahmins, cows and Goverdhanagiri have to be worshipped to which the elders agreed. On the day of pooja, all the gopas and gopikas performed GOW-pooja (pooja for cows), offered dakshinai to Brahmins, circumbulated the hill and offered huge quantities of various food items to the hill.
On Lord Krishna’s order, everyone closed their eyes while food was being offered. Lord Krishna assumed a great transcendental form like that of the mountain, declaring that HE was Goverdhana Hill and accepted all their offerings while little Krishna stood with his relatives and offered prayers to the mountain which was HIMSELF .
HE announced that Goverdhana Hill is non-different from HIM. Later when the gopas were asked to open their eyes, they were surprised to see the palates empty and were convinced by Krishna that the mountain had accepted their offerings.
The gopas returned happily. The identity of Sri Krishna with Goverdhana Hill is still honoured and devotees take goverdhana shila (-small impressions from Goverdhana Hill and place it in the altar and worship. (In order to preserve the hill, devotees are now restrained from taking them) .
The glorification of Goverdhana giri was not liked by Indira .The torrent rains under the authority of Indra poured for seven days causing misery. Lord Krishna lifted a mount and held it upside down like an umbrella.
As Lord Krishna Himself did parikrama to the hill and as He mentioned that both are identical, devotees in huge numbers perform parikrama ( pradikshana ) to this sacred hill with sincerity and devotion even today . To commemorate the above incident, Krishna’s great grandson Vajranabha constructed a temple for the Lord. . The residents of Vrindavan, Goverdhan and the devotees of the Lord do parikrama around Goverdhana hill and offer huge quantities of 56 varieties food preparations (chappan bhog) .
All the devotees are sumptuously fed with the mahaprasad offered to the Lord and Giriraj. ) As the Lord protected the cows and the people in Goverdhan, He got the name “GOVINDA” .
Deepavalee has special significance for all vaishnavas . On the fourth day of the five day Diwali festival Sri Goverdhana Puja and Annakoot Utsavam is celebrated in Vrindavan and other temples amidst chanting of “Giriraj Dharan ki Jai” (Glory to the lord who lifted Goverdhan on his little finger) reverberates .
There is very interesting pastime of Shri Giri govardhan raj connected with bhaktha hanumanjee. When Lord Rama along with the vanaras were building the bridge to Lanka in the Ram lila, Hanuman made an attempt to pick up Govardhan to use him in the noble service . Govardhan was so happy to be engaged in the service of the Lord but just as he was about to lift him, a voice from the sky said “the bridge is finished”.
Therefore Hanuman did not lift Govardhan. Giri Govardhan was sad.
When Lord Ram was returning from Lanka with Mother Sita he stopped here and spoke to Govardhan saying “do not worry, the next time we appear, we will personally pick you up and personally engage you that happened in the Krishna avatar.
As per Srimad Bhagwatam Lord was lifting the huge Sri Goverdhan Parvat for seven days continously prior to Diwali, and rested him back on earth & asked the citizens to worship the holy mountain.
Jai Jai Girigovardhan ki ………………..Jai .Jai
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Photos : Courtesy ..Google