Govardhan Hill (or Govardhan Parvat) was lifted by Krishna to protect the vrajvasis from the thunderous rains of Indra.
The village comes under the Mathura District (Uttar Pradesh State) with a part of it being in Rajasthan State as well. The Govardhan Hill is in the list of places protected by Green Tribunal of Government of India.
Thousands of devotees perform Govardhan Parikrama on a regular basis, and especially on festivals like Govardhan Puja, Kartik, Purusottam and Guru Purnima.
|Famous as||The Hill that Krishna lifted to protect vrajvasis from horrendous rains of Indra|
|Also called||Giriraj Ji, Giriraj Govardhan|
|Popular Spots||Radha Kund, Kusum Sarovar, Manasi Ganga, Dan Ghati, Govind Kund, Airavat Footprint|
|Language||Hindi, Vraj Bhasha|
|Shape||Peacock (from the top)|
|Special Attractions||Govardhan Parikrama|
|Festivals Celebrated||Govardhan Puja, Bahulastami, Holi, Janmashtami|
Appearance of Giriraj Ji in Vraj Bhumi
Govardhan Ji is also called as Giriraj Ji or Giriraj Govardhan.
When Krishna was to descend on bhuloka (earth) upon the request of Brahma Ji (Read the very first chapter of Krishna Book for references), He asked Sri Radha to come with Him. Radharani mentioned that She won't go without Govardhan Parvat, Yamuna Ji and Vrindavan Dham. Hence, all of Them descended on this condition of Srimati Radharani to distribute prema-bhakti to all and help the conditioned souls to revive their original constitutional position as part of Supersoul Sri Radha and Sri Krishna.
The Govardhan Hill is non-different from Krishna. There's also a big story of how He appeared as the son of Dronachal Parvat and how Pulastya Muni wanted to take Him to Varanasi, but Giriraj Ji and neither His father Dronachal wanted Him to go to Varanasi. This passtime happened in Satya Yuga.
Sensing that Pulastya Muni might get angry and give them curse if he straight away denies going with him, Giriraj Ji said that He is ready to accompany but if Pulastya Muni puts Him on the ground at any place, He would settle there and won't accompany him any further regardless of Pulastya Muni's tapobal (strength of austerity).
Pulastya Muni agreed and as he was walking across Vraj Bhumi carrying Govardhan Ji on his head, he got an urge to relieve his bladder. The urge was so intense that he forgot the agreed condition and placed Giriraj Ji on the ground. When he came back, he tried everything including requesting Gririaj Ji to go with him but failed. So in anger, he cursed Giriraj Ji that his height will diminish by 1 mustard seed every day.
It is said that until the time Giriraj Ji and Yamuna Maharani are there in physical form (prakata), there would be religious activities going on in the world and one can achieve prema-bhakti in this time period, but once Giriraj Ji and Yamuna Maharani vanish, there would be complete dreadful effect of Kali Yuga in place as mentioned in twelfth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. Hence, this time period we are living in is the golden period of the entire day of Brahma (8 billion 640 million years) to achieve topmost perfection of life. Read this part to know more about this subject in detail.
History & Facts
Govardhan is in the shape of a peacock from the top. The two eyes of Govardhan Hill are Radha Kund and Shyam Kund respectively. The tail end is Puchri ka lota.
Govardhan is the place (lila sthali) of various passtimes of Radharani and Krishna. The prominent passtimes is of the meeting of Srimati Radharani and Krishna here in the afternoon on banks of Radha Kund.
Krishna comes with His sakhas (cowherd friends) near Manasi Ganga to graze His cows. Radharani comes at Radha Kund on the pretext of going to temple. This is how She gets permission from Her mother-in-law Jatila but in truth, She comes here to meet Krishna. Vrinda Devi brings Krishna away from His sakha friends at Manasi Ganga and makes Him meet Sri Radha at Sri Radha Kund. This passtime is really really beautiful and one can read the description of this in Govinda Lilamrta written by Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami.
When Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to Vraj Bhumi for the first time and was visiting all places of Vraj, His ecstasy went no bounds when He saw Giriraj Govardhan. He started crying and hugged Giriraj with deep love.
Srila Rupa Goswami writes in The Nectar of Instruction (Verse 9) that out of all places, Mathura is higher than Vaikuntha. Vrindavan is higher than even Mathura. Govardhan is higher than Vrindavan and Radha Kund is the topmost for all as it is the place of exchange of confidential lilas of Divine Couple!
The Maharas or Divine Nitya Dance Passtimes of Krishna with gopis happens at Govardhana on eve of Sharad Purnima.
Destroying Indra's Pride
Krishna told vrajavasis to offer worship to Govardhan Ji instead of Lord Indra as it is Govardhan Ji who gives them beautiful fruits, waters and all necessary facilities selflessly. Indra got angry by this and poured heavy rains non-stop for 7 days. Krishna lifted the Govardhan Parvat using only His left-hand little finger for seven days until Indra realised that Krishna is none other than Supreme Personality of Godhead. He understood his pride and begged for forgiveness to Krishna.
Actually, this was a plan of Krishna to teach His dear devotee Indradev. Krishna doesn't like to see the pride in His devotees and beautifully makes an arrangement to help them advance to shudh (pure) prema-bhakti.
How to reach Govardhan?
- Mathura to Govardhan: Regular shared auto is available from Mathura Railway Station as well as Govardhan Chauraha for Govardhan. It takes just 25-40 minute to reach Govardhan from Mathura. The shared auto-rickshaws charge around 30 rupees per person and if you book the entire auto, it cost around 150-200 bucks. You can also book a cab from any tour operator.
- Vrindavan to Govardhan: Autos for Govardhan are available from ISKCON, Banke Bihari Chowk and Chatikara from early morning 6 AM - 9 PM in the night. It takes around 25-35 minutes to reach Govardhan from Vrindavan. The shared autos charge 30 rupees per person.
- Other places to Govardhan: If you are coming from Delhi, you can take a turn near Chatikara and follow the road to Radha Kund. Note that private vehicles are not permitted inside the Govardhan area and you have to park your vehicle at Radha Kund parking itself if you are following this route. There is a hefty charge of 3000 rupees if you happen to take your vehicle inside as this is a no four-wheeler zone. However, there is no issue with bikes.
A lot of devotees circumambulate Giriraj Ji. Doing Govardhan Parikrama is like personally massaging the Lotus Feet of Krishna.
One should be careful to not step on Govardhan Parvat as He is non-different from Krishna. Krishna takes the form of Govardhan to make His exchange of love with His devotees more loving.
Srila Sanatana Goswami used to do Govardhana Parikrama every day in spite of his old age, and hence Krishna appeared before him and gave him a Govardhan Shila that has all the marking of Krishna. He asked Sanatana Goswami to do 4 parikramas of this Shila every day and that would be non-different from doing Govardhan Parikrama.
This Shila is presently at Radha Damodar Mandir in Vrindavan and devotees often perform 4 parikramas of Radha Damodar Mandir.
One should try to perform Govardhana Parikrama as much as possible. It straight away amplifies devotional servitude and guides the devotee to inner Vrindavan Prema Rasa.
Places to visit in Govardhan
- Radha Kund & Shyam Kund: Check the complete Radha Kund Guide.
- Kusum Sarovar: It is at Kusum Sarovar that Radharani gave darshan to Sri Narada Muni. Also, it is from the flowers of Kusum Sarovar that Krishna used to decorate the hairs of Srimati Radharani. Kusum means flower and Sarovar means pond. Kusum Sarovar in Nitya-Goloka Vrindavan is full of beautiful flowers and is the place of beautiful lilas (passtimes) of Divine Couple.
- Radha Van Vihari Mandir: It is here that Krishna decorates the hair of Sri Radha.
- Dan Ghati Mandir: Krishna posing as tax collector stops the gopis who are going to the Mathura market to sell their makhan (butter). He asks them for tax but is refuted by gopis stating that Radha is the Queen of Vrindavan and who's tax collector are you. Krishna responds that He is tax collector of Lord of Beauty and since the gopis are beautiful, they have to pay tax. Gopis laugh off and go ahead. Krishna then shoots the pebbles at the pots on gopis head and steals their butter. Realising it later, the gopis go and complain this to Yasoda Maiya.
- Mansi Ganga: When Yasoda Maiya and Nanda Baba wanted to take a dip in Ganga but didn't want to go out of Vraj Bhumi, Krishna manifested Mansi Ganga from his mind at Govardhan.
- Govind Kund: It is at Govind Kund that the deities of Srinath Ji appeared. This deity of Srinath Ji is presently at Nathwada in Gujarat.
- Madhvendra Puri Samadhi: Madvendra Puri is the Guru Maharaj of Iswar Puri, who is the Diksha Guru of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Madvendra Puri did his bhajan here at Govardhan and the deities of Srinath Ji was found by him here at Govind Kund.
- Jivya Mandir: This is the tongue of Govardhan and on the eve of annakut (Govardhan Puja), it is from here that Giriraj Ji eats the food offered by vrajavasis.
- Puchri ka Lota: This is the tail of Govardhan, which is in shape of a peacock from the top.
- Surbhi Kund: Indra begged forgiveness from Krishna after realising his pride and mistake. He along with other demigods bathed Krishna with the milk of Krishna's dear Surbhi Cows and gave Him the name Govinda - the protector of cows (gau) and gopis.
- Airavat Footprint: Indra appeared here on his elephant Airavat to ask for forgiveness from Krishna. Airavat's footprint is still here and there is a small temple constructed at this place. Surbhi Kund is just 2 minutes away from here.
- Govardhan Puja
- Bahulastami (Appearance of Sri Radha Kund)
- Sharad Purnima
- Kartik Mas
- Purusottam Mas
Special Sonapapdi and sweets
Sonapapdi sweet at Giriraj Mistan Bhandar (near Mansi Ganga and Dan Ghati Mandir) is extremely popular. The kachori, gulab jamun and varieties of sweets here are delicious as well.
Best way to plan Govardhan Trip
Nearby Places to visit
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