Govinda Dwadashi is an auspicious Hindu observance that falls on the ‘Dwadashi’ (12th day) of the Shukla Paksha (the period of bright fortnight of moon) during the month of ‘Phalgun’ in the traditional Hindu calendar. For those following the English calendar, this date falls between mid-February to March. Govinda Dwadashi is very important for Lord Vishnu devotees. On this day Hindu devotees worship Lord Vishnu to seek His divine blessings for a happy and prosperous life.
Govinda Dwadashi is also celebrated as ‘Narasimha Dwadashi’ as the ‘Narasimha’ avatar of Lord Vishnu is worshipped on this day. The celebrations of this festival are very elaborate and significant at the Jagganath Temple in Puri. Besides the festivities of Govinda Dwadashi is also popular in Dwarka Tirumala Venkateshwara Swamy Temple, Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple and other prominent temples of Lord Vishnu. Govinda Dwadashi is celebrated with great enthusiasm and reverence in the southern states of India as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka.
Rituals during Govinda Dwadashi
- On the day of Govinda Dwadashi, devotees get up before sunrise to perform the ceremonial bathing ceremony in sacred rivers likes Ganga, Saraswati, Yamuna and Godavari. If one cannot visit these holy rivers, this ritual bath can even be done in any lake or close by rivers. However while doing so; devotees must chant the names of Goddess Ganga and Lord Vishnu. Thousands of devotees also visit the Mahodadhi Teerth on the Puri coast on the day of Govinda Dwadashi, to take a holy dip owing to unique Hindu astrological significance.
- Devotees worship the ‘Pundarikaksha’ form of Lord Vishnu on Govinda Dwadashi. They make several offerings to the Lord in the form of fruits, flowers, sandalwood paste, til (sesame seeds), dhoop and incense sticks.
- On this day devotees also observe strict fasting that is known as Govinda Dwadashi vrat. The observer of this vrat eats only once after completing the puja rituals. Consumption of alcohol or non-vegetarian food is not allowed on this day.
- On Govinda Dwadashi, devotees visit Lord Vishnu temples during the evening to participate in the puja rituals held there.
- Chanting the name of Lord Vishnu and reciting ‘Sri Narasimha Kavach’ mantra is considered to be very propitious on Govinda Dwadashi.