Hindu Mandir of Lake County, Grayslake, IL performed the Govardhan puja/ Annakuta (mountain of rice decorated with variety of foods) on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020 with a small group of devotees on site and many more online.
Govardhan puja, also known as Annakut is a Hindu festival in which devotees prepare and offer food to Lord Krishna as a form of gratitude.
According to a press release, temple priest Anil Joshi built a replica of Govardhan Hill with rice to honor the incident from the Bhagavata Puran (text based on the Hindu religion) where Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Hill to provide the people of Vrindavan village shelter from torrential rains.
In adherence with government guidelines, this year’s Diwali & Annakuta Pujas at the temple were simpler but focused on giving devotees the opportunity to visit the temple.
Anil Joshi performed Abhishekam, Annakuta offering, Archana and Aarti by chanting 108 names of Lord Krishna and Krishna Maha Mantra.
Usually devotees at the temple prepare and bring food as offerings in the puja but due to COVID-19 safety and sanitation measures, no food was allowed from the devotees.
Instead, Joshi and his wife Kiran prepared a wide variety of vegetarian Indian delicacies and offered to Lord Krishna to express gratitude on everyone’s behalf.
Joshi explained to the attendees in-person and online the history, significance, rituals, and benefits of Govardhan Puja.
“By performing or participating in this puja, devotees obtain two kinds of blessings, to overcome the feelings of egoism and socio-economic and power inequalities, and to live peacefully, sacrifice, and share love with each other,” as Joshi was quoted saying in the press release.
At the end of the event, the hill of prasad (food offerings) was distributed among the devotees as carry out packages.