Govardhan Hill is one of the holy pilgrimage sites of Lord Krishna. Known as Giri Raj, the hill is situated at a distance of almost 22 km from Vrindavan. This hill is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Krishna on Earth. Devotees worship the hill as the Lord and in devotion walk 23 km around the mountain barefoot. The circumambulation of the hill is known as Govardhan Parikrama. The most popular parikrama happens on the auspicious day of Guru Purnima.
Even Bhagavad Gita mentions Govardhan Parvat like Lord Krishna. The hill gathers crowds of devotees from far and wide. After the parikrama, believers pay their respect to an 80-ft sandstone hill. Depicting the Govardhan Parvat, the sandstone structure has artworks. With intricate carvings and artmanship, the legend of Govardhan is narrated.
According to legend, Lord Krishna had lifted Govardhan Hill on one finger in his childhood to save his town and his people from the wrath of Lord Indra. After this miracle, Lord Krishna told everyone to worship the hill as him. From then, Govardhan Puja is celebrated every day after Diwali.
There is an interesting story in the Bhagvad Gita and other Puranas about Lord Krishna lifting the ‘Govardhan Parvat’. According to the story the people of Braj were planning the annual puja of Lord Indra. The child Krishna, questioned them what and why they were doing so. Nanda Maharaj, his foster-father, explained to him that the ritual was done every year to please Lord Indra. The grand worship rituals were done so that Lord Indra blesses the people with enough rain. Lord Krishna explained to the people that they should only do their duty or ‘Karma’ to the best of their abilities. They were farmers and their duty was to farm and protect their crops and cattle rather than perform grand rituals. Convinced by the Lord’s words, the villagers did not perform the puja. Furious with the inhabitants of Braj, Lord lndra decided to punish them with terrible rain clouds, floods, and thunderstorms. The villagers approached Lord Krishna for help. To protect the land and his people, the Lord lifted Govardhan Hill at once with His left hand. He held the hill up like an umbrella for seven days. The hill also protected the people from hunger or thirst. .
After witnessing the miracle, King Indra realized the divinity of Lord Krishna. He praised the lord for his miracles and the hill became a sacred pilgrimage site from then. Now, devotees pray to Govardhan Parvat along with Lord Krishna.
Best Time to Visit:
The best time to visit Govardhan Hill is Guru Purnima. Devotees are seen in huge numbers walking and doing the parikrama of the hill barefoot. Winter is also a preferred time as the weather is pleasant for the braefoot walk as well as visit to the temple.
Places to visit in Govardhan Hill
The Govardhan Hill is dotted with many holy structures. Some of them are
Kusum Sarovar: It is a popular stop for pilgrims on a Govardhan circuit. The lake, garden of flowers and the sandstone monuments are visited by pilgrims for the divine blessings.
Giriraj Temple: One of the popular temples on Govardhan Hill, the temple worships Lord Krisha by the name of Giriraj.
Shri Chaitanya Temple: The red sandstone temple is one of the holy shrines in Govardhan. Decorated with paintings of Krishna and Radha, devotees visit the temple for the blessings of Radha-Krishna and honor the devotion of Chaitanya for the Lord.
Radha Kund Temple: Radha Kund temple is placed on the banks of Radha Kund. The temple attracts many devotees all year round. It is believed to be the place where Radha and Krishna shared a lot of happy times. Devotees bathe in the holy water to cleanse sins and attain salvation.
Mansi Ganga Lake: The largest lake in Govardhan, pilgrims bathe in the holy water to be relieved of sins. The barefoot circumambulation of Govardhan Hill starts and ends here.
Danghati Temple: A prominent pilgrimage site in Govardhan. The name comes from the words 'Daan' which means donation and 'ghati' which means Valley. The worshipped deity of the temple is decorated as a rock balanced on the smallest finger on the left hand of Lord Krishna.
How to reach
The nearest railway station is Mathura Junction. Many auto-rickshaws as well as buses are available from Mathura to Govardhan Hill.
By Air: The closest airport to reach Govardhan is the Agra Airport at a distance of 88 km. However, the international airport in Delhi is almost 172 km away. The Delhi airport is for visitors flying from far parts of the world and India. Delhi offers good connectivity of buses and cabs to get to Govardhan.
By Rail: The closest railway station to reach Govardhan is in Mathura. The railway station is 23 km (approx.) from Govardhan and can be reached by a taxi or cab. Frequent trains from Delhi and other cities of India ply on the route.
By Road: Govardhan is well-connected with roads from cities all over India. Devotees can reach easily through cabs and buses from Delhi, Mathura and even Jaipur.