On November 18th, the festivities of the Divine Govardhan Puja and the Auspicious full-day celebrations of Gopa Ashtami (Eight Day of Karthik Month's Waxing Side) commenced in full force.
Govardhan Pooja commemorates the moment when Shri Krishna, to safeguard the Cows and Gopalas of Nandgaon, lifted the mighty Govardhan hill. Gopa Ashtami, on the other hand, signifies the occasion when Shri Krishna led the cows for grazing.
At the Texas Gaushala, dedicated volunteers, under the leadership of Nilesh Goswami, worked diligently for approximately three days to gather the sacred Cow dung (known as Gobar in Indian Languages), and arranged a grand depiction featuring Shri Krishna, the Govardhan Hill, and a special cow, which symbolizes the sacred Sulakshana, attentively observing of Shri Krishna's deity. The intricate arrangement was crafted entirely from Cow Dung (when formed into cakes), and it was adorned with a variety of ornaments.
The ceremonial proceedings of Gopa Ashtami began with the Shri Ganapathi Pooja, followed by the Shodasha Upachara Pooja, dedicated to Shri Krishna. After that, the rituals involved the Gau Pooja, the Tulsi Pooja, Cow Parikrama, and a Govardhan Parikrama. Madam Aparna Ganti and her musical students rendered a beautiful and divine performance, being graced with the offering of Sangeeta Seva to Bhagavan Shri Krishna.
The Divine Gathering concluded with an Aanakut prasad (kadhi, bajra, khichdi kheer, mixed veg Annakut vegetable, poori, amongst other delicacies), prepared by volunteers. The sacred prasad brought a sublime and enchanting conclusion, amidst the cows, to the sacred all-day events of Gopashtami.