Govardhan Parvat (Govardhan Parikrama)

By 'SANDEEP SANGWAN'

 


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: Govardhan Village

City / Place Name

: Mathura

Album (Category) Name

: Uttar Pradesh (Travel)

 

Govardhana Hill has a Parikrama of about fourteen miles (23 km.) and can take five to six hours to complete if one walks at a brisk pace. People from all over India visit Vraja in order to perform Govardhana Parikrama. On auspicious occasions like Guru Purnima, Purusottamamasa or Govardhana-puja, over half a million people go around the sacred hill.

There is no time limit for performing Govardhana parikrama, for those who perform the dandavata parikrama it may take weeks and sometimes even months to complete. The dandavata parikrama is performed by standing in one spot, offering obeisances like a stick (danda) by lying flat on the ground. One then places a stone where the fingertips touch the ground in order to mark the spot. Standing up, one moves to the stone marker and again offers obeisances like A group of ladies performing parikrama a stick, again marking the spot where the fingertips touch the ground, thus repeating the same process again and again all the way around Govardhana Hill. Some sadhus perform 108 dandavata Parikrama by offering 108 obeisances in one spot before moving to the next. This can take a number of months to complete and one has to sleep wherever one is and accept alms from pilgrims passing by.

The six Gosvamis of Vrindavana regularly performed Parikrama of Govardhana Hill, especially Sanatana Gosvami and Raghunatha dasa Gosvami who, while staying near Govardhana, would perform parikrama every day. Sanatana GosvamI used to perform a much longer Parikrama covering a distance of twenty four miles and including such places as Candrasarovara, Syama Dhak, Ganthuli-grama, Surya-kunda, Mukharai and Kilola-kunda.

Other great personalities who performed Govardhana parikrama were Madhavendra Purl, Advaita Acharya, Lord Nityananda, VallabhAcharya, Narottama dasa Thakura, Srlnivasa Acharya, Raghava GosvamI, Visvanatha CakravartI and of course Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu who, upon seeing Govardhana Hill for the first time, fell down like a stick and began embracing one of the rocks. On touching the rock from Govardhana the Lord began to shed tears of love and almost became mad due to transcendental ecstasy.

Most ISKCON devotees start parikrama of Govardhana from Radha-kunda village, where the Vrindavanroad meets the parikrama path, because it is convenient for returning to Vrindavan when the parikrama is over. In his book Mathura Mahiitmya, SrIla Rupa GosvamI has recommended starting Govardhana parikrama by first bathing in the Manasi-ganga and then having darsana of Lord Harideva, as Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu did when He performed Govardhana Parikrama when visiting Vrindavana in 1515. Rupa GosvamI also says that each footstep taken in Vraja is equal to visiting all other holy places and performing all the Vedic sacrifices.

 

Govardhana Hill, Govardhana Parikrama, Guru Purnima, Purusottamamasa, Govardhana-puja, Dandavata Parikrama, 108 dandavata Parikrama, Sanatana Gosvami, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Candrasarovara, Syama Dhak, Ganthuli-grama, Surya-kunda, Madhavendra Purl, Advaita Acharya, Lord Nityananda, VallabhAcharya, Narottama dasa Thakura, Srlnivasa Acharya