Goverdhan (Uttar Pradesh), July 23 (Calcutta Tube) The annual trek to Goverdhan hill, which according to Hindu mythology was lifted by Lord Krishna on his little finger to save villagers from lightning and heavy rain, has drawn hordes of pilgrims arriving on foot, by buses, tractors and any which way.
The weeklong fair, which ends Sunday, could attract over one crore devotees, say authorities in Goverdhan town, some 20 km from Mathura.
Called ‘Mudhiya Poonau’, the fair will climax on full moon day with a procession by Bengali sadhus, followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
‘Last year also one crore devotees did the 21-km long parikrama of the Goverdhan hill, which has a temple on top. This year the arrangements are stricter and better. We expect a much bigger crowd,’ said Hari Mohan, a ‘panda’ or pilgrimage guide.
‘People not only from different places in Uttar Pradesh, but also from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana,’ he added.
The state roadways has arranged for 1,000 additional buses to ferry pilgrims and the railways too are running two special trains from Mathura for the religious event.
Mathura district authorities have beefed up security arrangements for the fair. Policemen have been asked to be extra vigilant and CCTV cameras are installed at main spots to control the movement of people and traffic movement, an official said.
Meanwhile, the annual festival season has begun in the Braj area, including Mathura, Vrindavan and Goverdhan where Lord Krishna is believed to have been born and brought up.
The four-month ‘Chatur-mas’ period is considered auspicious for religious activities but devout Hindus refrains from holding celebrations like weddings during this time.
Pandit Gopi Ballabh Shastri told IANS: ‘Lord Vishnu retires for his long sleep and he is not to be disturbed.’
This is the time for special pilgrimages, rituals and prayers in the Braj area leading up to Janamashtmi, the festival celebrating the birth of Krishna.