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Shri Giriraj Ji Maharaj Dhan Ghati Temple (Goverdhan)

About

Govardhan also called to Giriraj Mountain descended its name from the Holy Goverdhan Hill. It extends up to 4 or 5 miles and has many sacred sites.

Govardhan is located in Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh, 208km from Delhi. It is one of the main religious places of Mathura.

A Govardhana Shila is the representation of God by an aniconic symbol rather than an image. Indian art overwhelmingly prefers the iconic image, but some aniconism does occur in folk worship, early Buddhism, Shiva’s Banalinga, Vishnu’s Saligrama Sila (murthi)), etc. They have solar significance, and their use in worship predates the Hindu period in India. The Govardhana sila is a rock from the Govardhan hill in Vrindavana. Govardhan hill holds a unique position in Hindu Mythology related to Krishna, the land called Vrij where He was born. The stone is usually brown in colour. Known as Govardhan or Giriraj and being the sacred center of Braj, it is identified as a natural form of Krishna.

Govardhan, a very famous place of Hindu pilgrimage, is located 26 km west of Mathura (154 km from New Delhi) on the state highway to Deeg. Govardhan is located on a narrow sandstone hill known as Giriraj which is about 8 km in length. When Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did parikrama (circumambulation) of Govardhana Hill while visiting Vrindavana in 1515 AD, he did not walk on the hill because he considered Govardhana as non-different from Lord Krishna. Therefore, traditionally Vaishnavas don’t step on Govardhan hill.

It is believed that thousands of years ago, Lord Krishna picked up this hill and held it above His head, with his little finger, for 7 days to protect his kinsfolk from the wrath of rain God Indra. This gave Krishna the epithet Govardhandhari. Since Lord Krishna declared that He and Govardhan Hill were non-different, the followers of the Vallabha_Acharya tradition, devotees of Lord Krishna, worship Govardhan Sila. They worship Govardhana-silas along with the Saligrama sila, both considered as aniconic symbols of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, exactly as they worship the Deity of Krishna in the temple. Lifting of Govardhan Hill, Krishna’s Lifting Govardhan Hill, Giriraj Govardhan Puja, Krishna Lifting Govardhan Hill, and Sri Giriraj Govardhan Puja. English translation of the relevant texts on Govardahan Hill from Srimad Bhagvatam state:

Krishna assumed a great transcendental form and declared to the inhabitants of Vrindavana that He was Himself Govardhana Hill in order to convince the devotees that Govardhana Hill and Krishna are identical. The identity of Krishna and Govardhana Hill is still honoured, and great devotees take rocks from Govardhan Hill, and worship them exactly as they worship the Deity of Krishna in the temple.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.24.35 purport)

Of all the devotees, this Govardhana Hill is the best! O my friends, this hill supplies Krishna and Balarama, along with Their calves, cows and cowherd friends, will all kinds of necessities—water for drinking, very soft grass, caves, fruits, flowers and vegetables. In this way the hill offers respects to the Lord. Being touched by the lotus feet of Krishna and Balarama, Govardhana Hill appears very jubilant.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.21.18).

Govardahan puja and hill parikrama: Presently at its highest point, the Govardhan hill is just 25m (80 feet) high and is a wide hill. It is a narrow sandstone hill known as Giriraj which is about 8 km in length.

After Krishna protected the inhabitants of Vraj (Vridavan) from the wrath of Indra, he counselled them to worship Govardhana hill and they did by way of a Puja and a Parikrama (circumambulation) around the hill. Thus, a festival in commemoration of the lifting of Mount Govardhan, near Mathura, by Krishna came into vogue as Govardhan Puja when Mount Govardhan is worshipped day after Deepawali (festival of lights) is celebrated.[2] Pious people keep awake the whole night and cook fifty-six (or 108) different types of food for the bhog (the offering of food) to Krishna. This ceremony is called ankut or annakuta which means a mountain of food. Various types of food – cereals, pulses, fruit, vegetables, chutneys, pickles, and salads – are offered to the Deity and then distributed as prasada to devotees. Thousands of devotees bring offerings for Giriraj. Followed by this pooja, the devotees perform the Govardhana parikrama.

A Parikrama [circumambulation- going 38 km {24-miles} around the hill] is a sacred ritual called Govardana parikrama performed by many believers. There is no time limit for performing Govardhana parikrama, but for those who perform the dandavata (full prostration) Parikrama, an arduous form which may take weeks and sometimes even months to complete. It is performed by standing in one spot, offering obeisances like a stick (danda) by lying flat on the ground and then continuing, contiguously, till the entire route is covered. It is also said that some sadhus (Hindu holy men) perform 108 dandavata Parikrama by offering 108 obeisance’s in one spot before moving to the next. This can take a number of months to complete.

This ritual of circumambulation is considered to be even better if is it done with milk. A clay pot filled with milk, with a hole at the bottom, is carried by the devotees in one hand and a pot filled with dhoop (incense smoke) in another. An escort continuously fills up the pot with milk till the circumambulation is completed. Circumambulation is also done with candy being handed out to children, en route.

Parikrama of Govardhana starts at the Manasi-Ganga Kund (lake) and then after having darsan of Lord Harideva, from Radha-kunda village, where the Vrindavan road meets the parikrama path. After parikrama of 38 km, covering important tanks, shilas and shrines such as Radha Kunda, Syama Kunda, Dan Ghati, Mukharavinda, Rinamochana Kunda, Kusuma Sarovara and Punchari, it ends at Mansi Ganga Kund only.

Timing

Morning 5:30 AM to 12:00 Noon and Evening 4:00 PM to 9:30 PM.

Distance

  • From Delhi it is 162 KM away.
  • From Mumbai it is 1373 KM away.
  • From Kolkata it is 1329 KM away.
  • From Chennai it is 2019 KM away.

Location

Janam Bhumi, Mathura,
Uttar Pradesh 281003