By Swami Harshananda
Annakuṭa literally means ‘heap of food’.
In the Dīpāvali festival, which falls during the months of Āśvina and Kārttika (usually in November), on the third day known as Balipratipad it is customary to worship the Govardhana hill which is near Mathurā (Uttar Pradesh). This is the legendary hill which Srī Kṛṣṇa as a boy is said to have lifted with his left little finger to protect the people and cattle of Vṛndāvana from the wrath of Indra who had sent incessant and heavy rains. Those who are not living near this hill are advised to make an image of the hill with cowdung or food. In the latter case, the heap of food (anna = food) is called annakuṭa and worship is offered to it.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore