Gopastami puja or Gopashtami vrat is observed on eighth day in bright half of Kartik month (Kartik Shukla Astami). Sri Krishna Puja and Go Puja are the main rituals of the day. As per the Puranas, on Gopastami day Lord Sri Krishna and his elder brother Balarama became qualified cowherds. Gopastami 2011 date is 3 November.
Cows are given bath and decorated with colorful clothes and jewelry. Devotees paint the horns of the cows with turmeric and put Sindhura on their foreheads. They also put hand marks on their bodies. Special food recipes and fresh grass are offered to cows on Gopastami. Pradakshina around the cow (circumambulation) is most beneficial ritual of Gopastami festival.
Gopastami and Go Puja are celebrated with utmost fervor in all Krishna temples in India and abroad. Mayapur temple, Vrindavan Banke Bihariji Temple, Mathura Sri Krishna Mandir, Swarkadish temple in Dwarka, and Nathdwara Shreenathji temple are the most popular temples to visit during Gopastami festival. In Mayapur temple, on this festive day Maha Yagna and Charan Darshan of Srimati Radharani are held.
Gopastami Mantra – Mantram to chant during Gopastami Go Puja:
Om namo gobhyah srimatibhyah saurabheyibhya eva cha
Namo brahma sutabhyas cha pavitrabhyo namo namah