The fourth day of Diwali celebrations is ‘Padwa’ or ‘Varshapratipada’. In the North India, it is called as Govardhan Puja. This pooja is performed with great enthusiasm and zeal and in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
In this pooja, there is a tradition of building cow dung hillocks, which symbolize the Mount Govardhan, the mountain which was once lifted by Lord Krishna. After making such hillocks people decorate them with flowers and then worship them. They move in a circle all round the cow dung hillocks and offer prayers to Lord Govardhan.
In Braj, people were preparing many varieties of food to offer to god Indra, the king of the celestial abodes, so that he would provide plenty of rain for their crops and cattle.
The little son of Nand, Krishn, told them to stop worshipping celestial god Indra and to direct their devotion to Govardhan hill which is the embodiment of God Himself.
Thus, all the food that was prepared to be offered to Indra, was offered to Govardhan hill. At that moment, Lord Krishna appeared on the hilltop as Govardhan God and accepted all the offerings.
This day is also celebrated as Anna-Koot, which literally means ‘mountain of food’. On this auspicious day the people prepare fifty-six or one hundred and eight different varieties of delicious dishes to offer Lord Krishna as ‘Bhog’.
In the temples, specifically in Mathura and Nathdwara, the deities are given milk bath, dressed in new shining attires and decorated with ornaments of dazzling diamonds, pearls, rubies and other precious stones and metals.
Then they are worshipped, offered prayers and bhajans and also offered delicious sweets, fruits and eatables that are ceremoniously raised in the form of a mountain before the idols.
This day is also celebrated as ‘Kartik shuddh padwa’ or simply ‘Padwa’ is the name given to the day following Amavasya. According to a famous legend, on this very day the very powerful King Bali comes out of the patala lok every year to rule over his kingdom on Bhuloka, as per the boon awarded to him by Lord Vishnu.
Since then this day came to be celebrated as Padwa in order to honor and welcome the King Bali. This day is also known by the name of ‘Bali Padyami’. The day of Padwa also has a historic importance, as it is considered to be the day of the coronation of king Vikramaditya.
Gudi Padwa is also a symbol of husband wife love and on this very day according to a famous custom the newly married daughters along with their husbands are invited to their parental homes for special meals and feasts.
These festivals are celebrated differently in the diverse geographical parts of the country. While the festival of Padwa is celebrated in order to celebrate the coronation of king Vikramaditya, the festival of Govardhan Puja is celebrated for commemorating the incidence of lifting of Mount Govardhan by Lord Krishna. Both the festivals ‘Padwa & Govardhan Puja’ are celebrated with much fervour in different parts of the country.