Baghelkhand's unique tradition of Mount Govardhan and Janjuiya Devi Puja
The forms of Govardhan and Janjuiya Devi are made with cow dung and worshipped in the hilly region of Baghelkhand in Madhya Pradesh, immediately following Diwali. Janjuiya Devi is dressed up like a married woman and offered milk, curd and sweets.
Sachin Tulsa tripathi 26 Oct 2022 10:01 AM GMT
Satna, Madhya Pradesh
Govardhan Puja is an important Indian festival that is celebrated the following day of Diwali. It is believed that on this day Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan mountain on one finger using his divine power to save the lives of millions of animals and the people of Brij from the wrath of Lord Indra. Govardhan Puja falls on Pratipada Tithi of Kartika month.
Whereas in large parts of the country, this puja is performed on the following day of Diwali, in Baghelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh, it is celebrated even on Bhai Dooj festival, which falls a day after that.
On this day, a mini mountain is made using cow dung and is prayed to. It is dressed up and decorated like a married woman and is known as Janjuiya Devi.
Sukhvariya Chowdhury was nine years old, when she began to do the Janjuiya Devi puja. Sukhvariya, who lives in Kaima Unmulan village in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh, is 98 years old now, and she has continued that tradition.
"The day after Diwali, we create a form with cow dung which we decorate to make it appear like a married woman. We make her offerings of milk, curd and sweets," Sukhvariya told Gaon Connection.
Janjuiya Devi is considered to be the consort of Govardhan mountain and the day after Diwali after the celebration of Bhai Dooj, Janjuiya and Govardhan are worshipped. "The following day of Diwali, we pray to Govardhan, and the next day we pray to Janjuiya. On the third day, is their bidai (send off)," Sukhvariya added.
In some areas of the mountainous Baghelkhand region, Govardhan and Janjuiya are worshipped as brother and sister.
"Govardhan is the brother and Janjuiya, his sister, and they are both worshipped on different days. Both are made out of cow dung and their jewellery is also made of cow dung. Bindi is applied on Janjuiya and she is also made to wear bangles," Gondiya Pandey from Kitha village in Satna district, told Gaon Connection.
On the days preceding the puja, dried cow dung cakes are not made, and neither is milk sold, the 65-year-old added.
"The cowdung thus saved is used in making the forms of Govardhan and Janjuiya," 49-year old Baby Chowdhury, another inhabitant of Kitha, explained.
Happy Govardhan Puja!
Happy Janjuiya Devi Puja!