Giriraj | Govardhana Hill: Learn More This Sacred Center of Braj

Govardhana Hill, also called Mount Govardhana, Giriraj and Royal Hill. The name ‘Govardhana’ has two primary translations. In the literal meaning, ‘Go’ translates to ‘cows’, and ‘vardhana’ translates to ‘nourishment’. Another meaning of ‘Go’ is ‘the senses’ and ‘vardhana’ can also mean ‘to increase’. Thus the name is also translate by devotees of Krishna as ‘that which increases the senses’ in their attraction to Krishna. In this connection, it is believe that the personality of Govardhan blesses the devotee by increasing his devotion (bhakti). Thus, by residing in the foothills of Govardhan Hill, all the senses and the respective duties of a soul attain divinity and are more inclined to perform service to Krishna.

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Giriraj is a sacred Hindu site in the Mathura districtof Uttar Pradesh, India on an 8 km long hill located in the area of Govardhan and Radha Kund, which is about 21 kilometres (13 mi) from Vrindavan. Known as Govardhan or Giriraj it is the sacred center of Braj and is identified as a natural form of the Lord Krishna himself (Govardhana sila). Govardhan Puja is also celebrated on the day after Diwali.

In Govinda-lilamrita, Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami states that Govardhana Hill or Giriraj is shape like a peacock and that Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda are its eyes. Dan Ghati and Manasi Ganga are its long neck. Mukharavinda is the mouth, Kusuma Sarovara its face, and Punchari is its back and tail feathers. A peacock often curves its neck and puts his head under its stomach. Govardhana Hill is thus shape in this pose of a peacock.

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Govardhan Hill is consider a sacred site because it is the setting for many legends relating to the life of Lord Krishna, the deity believed to be embodied in the earth of the hill. Krishna and his brother Balaram are mention to have spent many happy hours roaming among its shady groves, pools, caves and lush cow-pastures. An Eden-like sanctuary, the area’s waterfalls, garden-grove (van), arbour (nikunj), water tank (kund), and flora are depicted in scenes of Krishna’s adventures and raas with Radha.

Giriraj | Govardhana Hill: Learn More This Sacred Center of Braj

It is believe that thousands of years ago, Lord Krishna picked up a hill and held it above his head. And with his pinky finger, for 7 days to protect his kinsfolk from the wrath of rain God Indra. This gave Krishna the epithet Govardhandhari. As per the story, Krishna saw huge preparations for the annual offering to Indra. And questions his father Nanda about it. He debated with the villagers about what their ‘dharma’ truly was. They were farmers, they should do their duty and concentrate on farming and protection of their cattle.

He continued to say that all human beings should merely do their ‘dharma’. To the best of their ability and not pray or conduct sacrifices for natural phenomenon. The villagers were convince by Krishna, and did not proceed with the special puja (prayer). Indra was then anger, and flooded the village. Krishna then lifted Mt Govardhan and held it up as protection to his people and cattle from the rain. Indra finally accepted defeat and recognized Krishna as supreme. This aspect of Krishna’s life is mostly gloss over but it actually set up on the basis of the ‘karma’ philosophy later detailed in the Bhagavad Gita.

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Lastly a Parikrama [circumambulation- going 38 km {24-miles} around the hill] is a sacred ritual called Govardana parikrama performed by many believers. 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.

Information Source: Link 1 & 2

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