Goverdhan: Preparations are on for the `Annakoot Bhoj`, a grand religious feast that is to be held on Monday in Sri Krishna temples and at community centres all across Braj Bhoomi.
Community feasting with more than 56 different food-items in the temples of Sri Krishna, a day after Diwali, is the chief attraction for many devouts who have begun arriving in the Goverdhan hill-town for the `parikrama` and the celebrations.
According to Hindu mythology, Sri Krishna lifted the Goverdhan hill on his little finger to protect people from the wrath of Lord Indra. The faithful now undertake the 21 km `parikrama`, which is going around the hill, and take a holy dip in the Mansi Ganga pond, located close to the temple.
Goverdhan puja is celebrated in Agra division that includes the entire Braj Mandal and the districts of Aligarh, Firozabad, and Hathras.
The Goverdhan is made of cow-dung and the community collectively worships the deity with sweets and milk.
The immersion in the river or ponds takes place the next day, said Acharya Madhukar Chaturvedi.
"For convenience sake, the Goverdhans these days are made on bullock carts which can be easily towed to the river the next day for immersion ceremony with lots of music, dance and the customary pujas," he added.
In Agra, however, the size of the Goverdhan is increasing every year -- up to 20 feet now.
Acharya Madhukar Chaturvedi said: "Annakoot falls on the first day of the fortnight of the waxing moon, also known as Shukla Paksha, in the Hindu month of Kartik. Goverdhan means the nurturer of the cows."
During Annakoot lots of food items, sweets, namkeens and dry fruits are offered to Goverdhan.
In Agra, the main celebrations are centred around Belanganj, Kamla Nagar, Balkeshwar and Jaipur House.
"This is one way of bonding with people," said activist Naresh Paras.