13th November 2023
The tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam relates many of Krishna’s amazing pastimes. Of these, “The Lifting of Govardhan Hill” is one of the devotees’ favorites. It tells the story of how Krishna lifted Govardhan Hill in Vrindavan for seven days and seven nights, balancing it on the tip of his small finger and thus providing a huge umbrella under which all the residents and animals of Vrindavan could find shelter from the devastating rainstorm sent by Lord Indra (god of rain and king of heaven) upon their village. When Lord Indra realized that only the Supreme Lord could defeat him in such a mystical way, he surrendered to Krishna. Traditionally in Vrindavan, this very merry festival is celebrated by cooking very large amounts of food offerings which are then arranged in the form of Govardhan Hill. It is called Anna (grains) Kuta (mountain) and takes place on the day after Diwali.
In ISKCON, devotees have developed unique offerings of halvah and sweets beautifully arranged in a replica of Govardhan Hill. Sometimes a Govardhan shila is placed on top of the hill. Devotees jubilantly circumambulate the hill of sweets and worship it as Govardhan Hill itself. A sumptuous feast is served on the occasion.