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For MATHURA, DEEWALI IS 5 FESTIVAL CELEBRATION

For residents of Brajbhumi, the birth place of Lord Krishna, Diwali is a celebration of five festivals which attract pilgrims from different parts of the country. "Pilgrims from different parts of the country participate in these celebrations as a family," Goverdhan Peethadheshwar Krishna Das Kanchan Maharaj said. Legends have it that after Lord Krishna killed demon 'Aristasur', residents of Brajbhumi lit earthen lamps on the day of Diwali to celebrate his victory. Continuing with the belief, pilgrims reach the Goverdhan hillock here and light earthen lamps on the bank of Manasi Ganga to mark the festival. "Though earthen lamps are also lit in every temple at Sri Krishna Janmasthan, a mass earthen lamp lighting programme is organised on the day of Diwali," Secretary of Sri Krishna Janmasthan Kapil Sharma said. Another festival that comes along Diwali is Goverdhan Puja, which has a special significance for the people here. "Lord Krishna protected Brijwasis by lifting hillock Goverdhan on his little finger for saving them from the wrath of Lord Indra who had ordered clouds to drown Brijwasis since they had stopped paying obeisance to him," said Swami Avashesh of an ashram in Vrindavan. After this, Brajwasis offered variety of dishes and did a circumambulation of the Goverdhan to pay obeisance. Since then, the custom of circumambulation of Goverdhan hillock is continuing, he said. On the day of Goverdhan Pooja (next day after Diwali), pilgrims perform 'Goverdhan Parikrama' and eat 'prasad' at 'Daan Ghati Temple' and other temples. On this auspicious day, devotees carry 'prasad' to the Goverdhan from Gaudiya Math Temple in Goverdhan town in a procession. Another festival that is celebrated here is 'Yam Dwiteeya' which is observed on the second day after Diwali. On the occasion, brothers and sisters bath together in the Yamuna at Vishram Ghat for salvation. "Pleased by the hospitality of sister Yamuna on this day, Lord of death Yamraj gave her a blessing that brothers and sisters bathing together in the Yamuna on this auspicious day will not be bothered by his messengers and they will straight a way go to heaven," priest of Daan Ghati Temple Mathura Prasad Kaushik said. 'Dhan Teras' and 'Narak Chaudas' are the two other festivals celebrated in the run up to Diwali.

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