The revered town of Govardhan is barely 20 km from Mathurapuri and draws lakhs of devotees every year especially on the auspicious occasion of Guru Purnima. This sacred tirthasthala is a part of the Braj Mandala Parikrama that starts at the Vishram Ghat in Mathurapuri.
According to the Srimad Bhagavatam, when Lord Krishna saw the elaborate preparations for the annual offering to Lord Indra, he asked his father Nanda Maharaj the reason for this. Nanda Baba said that this was done every year to please Lord Indra to continue to bless their lands and its people with adequate rainfall at the appropriate time.
Lord Krishna then gave his father, the elders and the entire community of Braj a discourse on the meaning of dharma, karma and the importance of saying thanks to their lands, tools for tilling the land and cattle. Lord Krishna’s words were so convincing that they decided against the annual offering angering Lord Indra who was listening to the entire conversation from his heavenly abode.
The entire village decided to worship Govardhan Parvat and on seeing this, Lord Indra decided to wreak havoc on their lands by unleashing torrents of rain that would cause floods and destroy their lands and livelihood.
The terrible thunderstorm put fear in the hearts of the villagers. They approached Lord Krishna to save them. Lord Krishna told them not to worry and calmly lifted the entire Govardhan Parvat with his left hand and allowed the cattle and all the inhabitants to take shelter under the hill.
Lord Krishna sought the help of Lord Shiva as a large pool of water formed when he lifted the hill. Lord Shiva immediately came to his aid and used his trishul like a chakra to remove the water from the kund.
Lord Krishna held the Govardhan Parvat for seven days on his little finger. Meanwhile, Sudarshan also came to the aid of the people and cleared the clouds with his radiance equalled to a crore of suns.
Lord Indra realized his mistake and sought forgiveness from Lord Krishna. The sun shone brightly and the residents were asked to return home on the completion of their puja.
Sudarshan sought the blessings of Lord Krishna and asked him a place to rest. His resting place is called Chakra Tirtha. Lord Shiva took the form of Chakreshwar Mahadev to protect Govardhan and its residents and is known as a kotwal (guardian) of Braj.
Lord Shiva interestingly has taken the form of pancha Shiva Lingas that are meant to be his pancha mukhas. This temple is located on the northern bank of the sacrosanct Mansi Ganga.
Locals say that the original temple was built by Maharaja Vajranabha of the Yaduvanshi but was destroyed by successive Muslim invaders. An ancient stone behind the Shiva Lingas describes the entire story of how Lord Krishna saved his devotees and lifted the Govardhan Parvat. Each carving is a testimony to the antiquity of this temple.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
* Photos are only symbolic (Taken from public domain/internet and any copyright infringement is unintentional and regrettable)