Friday, November 09, 2007

Memories of Govardhan Puja past

Touring the Barn. Photo by Chayadevi Nov,1985

Ready for Puja and treats. Photo by Lakshmi devi Nov, 1985

Touring the other barns. Photo by Chayadevi Nov, 1985.

Getting back on the Ox-cart to return to the temple. Photo by Chayadevi Nov, 1985.

When I was growing up at Gita nagari, Govardhan Puja was always one of my favorite festivals. All of the girls’ asrams were responsible for decorating the temple, the barn, and the cows and making treats for the cows. Several weeks ahead of Govardhan Puja we would start cleaning the barn and brushing down the herd. We would start with the really bad cases first, the ones that needed to be hosed down as you brush them. That was really hard work and usually by the time you were done you were also soaking wet.

On the morning of Govardhan Puja we would decorate the cows and the barn. One of the really fun parts of decorating the cows was putting all different color handprints all over their coats. The paint was not harmful to the cows if they licked it or somehow ate some. Also we would spray-paint their hoofs and horns gold. After we did that we would have to run back to the asram to get cleaned up for the festival.

The really cool thing with any major festival was that Radha Damordha, the presiding deities for the farm, would come off the alter and go visit the barn. I don’t know of any other temple that the presiding deities come off the alter and tour temple/farm. Radha Damordhar would travel by ox-cart to the barn, then carried through the barn, set down on an alter, and then Go-Puja would be preformed to the chosen cow in front of them. After puja everyone would spread out and give the cows as many treats as they wanted. These were special treats, they were made out of ingredients that were not harmful to the cows no matter how much they ate.

After puja in the main barn, we usually would move onto the other barns to give darshan to the rest of the herd. Then it was back to the temple for any plays or special events before the feast.

Submitted by Lakshmi

1 comment:

Madhava Gosh said...

Good stuff, thanks for posting.