Festivals

Diwali Greetings

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At the very outset, Diwali Greetings to all my readers and hearty wishes for Happy New Year ahead ! As a Diwali special, I have put up 4 recipes today – 2 sweet items (Burfis) and 2 fried items ! I am probably a little late  (yet again !) but you must prepare it anyway and let me know how they turned out !

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Ugadi Greetings

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Ugadi lunch in Banana leaf

This festival marks the beginning of New Year in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Karnataka. This festival is known as Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra and Ugadi in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Gudi Padva is considered one of the four most auspicious days in the year when people start new ventures. It is believed that Lord Brahma created the world on this day and so he is worshiped specially at this time of the year.

People prepare for the New Year by cleaning and washing their houses and buying new clothes. On the festival day they decorate their houses with mango leaves and ‘rangoli’ designs, and pray for a prosperous new year, and visit the temples to listen to the yearly calendar ‘Panchangasravanam’ as priests make predictions for the coming year. The prasad of Ugadi/Gudi Padwa is the bitter leaves of the neem tree with jaggery/sugar as shown in the image below.

Neem leaves

Fresh Neem leaves

Neem leaves are fried in a few drops of ghee till crispy and mixed with either sugar granules or Jaggery and the mixture is served to each and every one in the family on this day.

Powdered neem leaves mixed with sugar granules

Fried neem leaves powdered & mixed with sugar

There are special foods prepared for this festival. In the southern states, puliyogore – a sour tamarind rice dish, holige – sweet stuffed bread and Ugadi Pachadi made of jagerry, raw mango pieces, neem flowers and tamarind is prepared. In Maharastra, shrikhand -a fragrant yogurt dessert, with poori – a fried puffy bread is prepared.

We also celebrate Ugadi by decorating entrance of the house by the garland of Mango leaves and attach a bunch of neem to it. We also do the Panchanga pooja and pray for the prosperity and well being of all of us in the family. We prepare Rice, Dalithoy, Tindura curry, Bengal gramdal payasam which we call Madgane, Khotto etc. and enjoy the festival with the family. Konkani Dalithoy is one of the favorite dishes of each and every one among the community and also is a must in the menu for almost all functions.

Ugadi lunch in Banana leaf

Ugadi lunch in Banana leaf

Enjoy the lunch with your family. I wish all the viewers a Happy Ugadi/Gudi padva.

Performing the Sankashti Puja

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Photo of Lord Ganesh

At the request of my readers, I am devoting this post to describing a Sankashti Puja proceedure. As with other ritual, there are many ways to perform this puja as well, but the procedure I am describing is something I have followed for several years and is relatively simple. I will try to be as precise as I possibly can as I describe it.

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Lord Ganesha is the God of knowledge. We worship him first before starting any work. The name “Vigneshwara” is an apt name for Lord Ganesha as he is known to remove the hardest of all obstacles [Vigna] and allow streamlined success in whatever endeavors we set ourselves upon. It is the same Lord Ganesha who was the only one capable of writing Maharshi Ved Vyas’s dictation of the Mahabharat. Sankashti Chaturthi falls on the fourth day of the second fortnight of every month on the Hindu Calendar. (See dates for 2008) Devotees fast for a whole day and break their fast after having the darshan of Lord Moon and worshiping Lord Ganesh. This vow is observed to get rid of problems in life.

To start with as soon as you get up have your head bath. Clean the sacred place/temple at your house. Do your morning prayers. Always hum Om Ganeshaya namaha 108 times daily. I always hum the 108 names of Vinayaka. They are called the Ganesha Ashtothara (see below) of Lord Ganesh which is put up in the next paragraph. On the Sankashti day one can hum the 108 names and bow to the lord 21 times either in the morning or at night just before the moon rise however convenient. During the fasting period, Sabudana kitchadi (which I earlier put up here), fruits /curds with Beaten rice are permitted. If one cannot utter the 108 names due to shortage of time or any reason, he/she can byheart this song which is Sankashta Nashana Sthothra and is written underneath.

Sankashtnashana sthothra

Om Pranamya shirasa devam Gowriputhram vinayakam

Bhakthavasam smarenithyam ayuh kamarthasidhaye

Prathamam vakrathundam cha ekadhantham dwithiyakam

Thratheeyam krishnapingaksham gajavakram chathurthakam

Lambodharam panchamancha shashtam vikatamevacha

Sapthamam vighnarajendram cha dhoomravarnam thathashtamam

Navamam balachandram cha dashamam tu Vinayakam

Ekadhasham ganapathim dwadasham tu gajananam

Dwadashithani namani thrisandhyam yaha patennaraha

Na cha vighnabhayam thasya sarvasidhikaram prabho

Vidhyarthi labhathe vidhyam dhanarthi labhathe dhanam

Puthrarthi labhathe puthran moksharthi labhathe gathim

Japedh ganapathi sthothram shadbhir masam phalam labheth

Samvathsarena siddhim cha labhathe nathra samshayaha

Ashtebhyo brahmanebhyashcha likithvayaha samarpayeth

Thasya vidya bhaveth sarva ganeshasya prasadathaha

Ithi sri narada purane

Sankashta nashana ganapathi sthothram samaptham

Decorate the photo of Lord Ganesh with available flowers. The red Hibiscus is the favorite flower of the Lord. The five petalled flower placed on the photo of the lord is usually prefered. The doorva is a must if it is available. Doorva is a 3 bladed grass (creeper). The fern in one’s garden is not Doorva. One can keep this in a bunch of 21 with a Hybiscus flower tied with it as shown in the image below. One can even make a long garland (mala) with doorva and decorate the photo along with flowers. It’s one’s option depending upon the availability & convinience.

Dhurva and the bunch with a flower

Dhurva & the bunch with a flower

The dhurva garland

The dhurva garland

Photo of Lord Ganesh

Photo of Lord Ganesh

Ganesha Ashtothara

Om Vinayakaya namaha, Om Vighnarajaya namaha, Om Gowri puthraya namaha, Om Ganeshwaraya namaha, Om Skhandagrajaya namaha, Om Awyayaya namaha, Om Puthaya namaha, Om Dhakshadhkshaya namaha, Om Dwijapriyaya namaha, Om Agnigarvachidhe namaha, Om Indrashri pradaya namaha, Om Vanibala pradaya namaha, Om Sarva Siddi pradayakaya namaha, Om Sharvathanayaya namaha, Om Sharvapriyaya namaha, Om Sarvathmakaya namaha, Om Srashtikarthre namaha, Om Devanikarchitaya namaha, Om Shivaya namaha, Om Shudhaya namaha, Om Budhipriyaya namaha, Om Shanthaya namaha, Om Dwaimathuraya namaha, Om Munisthuthyaya namaha, Om Bhakthavighna vinashakaya namaha, Om Ekadanthaya namaha, Om Chathurbahave namaha, Om Shakthisamyuthaya namaha, Om Chathuraya namaha, Om Lambodaraya namaha, Om Shoorpakarnaya namaha, Om Herambhaya namaha, Om Brahmaviththamaya namaha, Om Kalaya namaha, Om Grahapathaye namaha, Om Kamine namaha, Om Somasuryagni lochanaya namaha, Om Pashankushadharaya namaha, Om Chandaya namaha, Om Gunatheeshaya namaha, Om Niranjanaya namaha, Om Akalmashaya namaha, Om Swayam Sidharchitha padaya namaha, Om Beeja Poorakaya namaha, Om Avyakthya namaha, Om Gadhine namaha, Om Varadaya namaha, Om Shashwathaya namaha, Om Krathine namaha, Om Vidvathpriyaya namaha, Om Veethabhayaya namaha, Om Chakrine namaha, Om Ikshuchapadhruthe namaha, Om Achochalakaraya namaha, Om Sridaya namaha, Om Sripathaye namaha, Om Sthuthiharshithaya namaha, Om Kuladribrathe namaha, Om Jatine namaha, Om Chandrachoodaya namaha, Om Amareshwaraya namaha, Om Nagayajhnopaveethine namaha, Om Srikantaya namaha, Om Ramarjithapadaya namaha, Om Vrathine namaha, Om Sthulathundaya namaha, Om Thrayikarthre namaha, Om Samaghosha priyaya namaha, Om Purushothamaya namaha, Om Sthulathundaya namaha, Om Agraganyaya namaha, Om Gramanye namaha, Om Ganapaya namaha, Om Sthiraya namaha, Om Vradhidaya namaha, Om Subhagaya namaha, Om Shooraya namaha, Om Vageeshaya namaha, Om Sidhidayakaya namaha, Om Dhoorvabilwapriyaya namaha, Om Kanthaya namaha, Om Papaharine namaha, Om Krathagamaya namaha, Om Samahithaya namaha, Om Vakrathundaya namaha, Om Sripradaya namaha, Om Sowmyaya namaha, Om Bhakthakankshithadaya namaha, Om Achuthaya namaha, oam kevalaya namaha, Om Sidhaya namaha, Om Sachidanandavigrahaya namaha, Om Jhnanine namaha, Om Mayayukthaya namaha, Om Dhanthaya namaha, Om Bramhishtaya namaha, Om Bhayavarjithaya namaha, Om Pramathadwaithyabhayadaya namaha, Om Vyakthamurthaye namaha, Om Amurthakaya namaha, Om Parvathishankarothsunga-khelanothsavalalanaya namaha, Om Samasthajagadadharaya namaha, Om Varamooshakavahanaya namaha, Om Hrashtasthuthaya namaha, Om Prasannathmane namaha, Om Sarvasidhipradayakaya namaha. Sri Ganesha ashtothara namavali samapthi.

At night just before moon rise finish cooking and hum the Ashtothra , the sankashta nashana sthothra. (either both or only the Sankashta nashana sthothra however convinient) offer 2 coconuts, banana, flowers to the Lord, also offer some fragrance sticks, offer the prasad prepared and then Aarathi also. Sing the song Jaya dev jaya dev or switch on the C.D. for the song and ask for his blessings.

I don’t consume any food other than Sabudana kitchadi. More over I also don’t consume garlic and onion in any dish on Sankashti . However regarding moon rise, sometimes due to the clouds etc., moon may not be visible at the specified time. In that case after the moon rise timings one may perform the puja and enjoy dinner with your family. Modaks can also be prepared. I will post the recipe soon.

Sankashti can be followed through out life. One can also follow only the Angarika sankashti.(Sankashti which falls on Tuesday is called Angarika sankashti) It is as per one’s convinience.

Note:One can start his/her day with this prayer.  It is as follows. 

              Vakrathunda mahakaya Suryakoti samaprabha

              Nirvignam kurumedeva Sarvakaryeshu sarvada.

See all my Sankashti related posts here.

Nevri/Karanji

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About Nevri/Karanji

Karanji/Nevri is one of the most important dishes which we Hindus prepare for Ganesh Chaturthi. We prepare a host of other items for Chathurthi like Chakli, Jaggery and pop corn powder laddus, Churmi laddu, Nevri, sweet appam among others. Tamilians prepare Karanji for Krishna janmashtami. It is uncomplicated but laborious. For Nevri we have to prepare dough like that of the puris but only a little harder so that even though we fill it up with the filling it should turn out crispy after frying . The recipe seems to be very simple but still if not followed in a proper way it will be a total flop.

The filling may be different. Some people fill it with Jaggery combined with grated coconut and poppy seeds, some with copra powder(dry coconut ) with powdered sugar, cardamom but i use Fried Bengal gram dal (putani) sugar powder, cardamom and copra.

What you need to have:

– All purpose atta (Maida) – 100 grams

– Chiroti suji (Thin rava) -3 teaspoons

– Any fat like ghee or cooking oil – 5 teaspoons

– Salt to taste

Ingredients of Karanji dough
Ingredients of Karanji dough
For filling

– Putani (Roasted Bengalgram Dal) – 100 grams

– Dry Copra (Grated) – 50 grams

– Sugar – 150 grams

– Cardamom – 15

Ingredients of filling
Ingredients of filling

What you do with what you have:

1. Mix Maida, thin rava (chiroti rava) ghee and salt

2. Add required quantity of water and make the dough very hard

The ready dough

Ready dough & the pinched out balls

3. Cover it with a damp cloth and keep it aside for about 30 minutes.

4. Just warm/roast putani for about 10 minutes on a low flame with cardamom corns in it so that it also warms up and becomes easy to powder in the mixer.

5. Grate copra and also warm it on the flame till you get a pleasant aroma, make sure the colour changes a little and becomes crispy.

6. Powder Putani, copra, cardamom and sugar in the mixer to a medium coarse consistency.

Powdered filling

Powdered coarse filling

7. Pinch out small amla size balls from the dough and roll it to very thin disc of 4″in diameter.

Rolled thin chapathies and the filling placed in the middle
Rolled disc & filling placed

8. Place the filling mixture in the middle of the round rolled chapathi and close both the edges with a drop of water or milk, and cut the extra dough with the designed Karanji instrument in the image below.

Karanji being ready to cut with the instrument
Karanji & the instrument

9. Place a wide bottomed vessel on gas with cooking oil to it. When ready deep fry the ready Karanjis on both sides but make sure it doesn’t change the color as shown in the image.

Ready to serve Karanjis/Nevries

Ready to serve Karanjis/Nevries

On cooling store it in air tight containers. It remains afresh for about 15-20 days if fried in fresh cooking oil.

Number of servings: 30

How long it takes: 2 hours

Sankashti Dates for 2008

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Sankashti always falls on exactly the fourth day after the full moon day of every month. Many of us follow it by fasting the whole day in various ways to suit one’s convenience. Many of them follow only that Sankashti which falls on Tuesdays, it is Lord Ganapathi’s day. There is a belief that if a person follows Tuesday’s Sankashti, it is as good as having followed 21 Sankashtis.

In this post I am putting up the exact dates and days on which Sankashti falls each month in the coming year. If there are any changes, I will update this post. I have also mentioned moon-rise times for those days since people have their dinner only after the moon rise. In this year, there is only one Tuesday Sankashti, which falls in March 2008.

See a list of other Hindu festivals here.

Date Moon rise
Friday, January 25 9.18 pm
Sunday , February 24 10.06 pm
Tuesday, March 25 9.43 pm
Thursday, April 24 10.08 pm
Friday, May 23 9.40 pm
Sunday, June 22 9.05 pm
Monday, July 21 9.21 pm
Wednesday, August 20 9.25 pm
Thursday, September 18 8.57 pm
Friday, October 17 8.30 pm
Sunday, November 16 9.17 pm
Monday, December 15 9.05 pm

Hindu festivals for 2008

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There are a host of Hindu festivals which fall at different points in the coming year. I would like to put up a list of these for the convenience of those of you who live abroad and will not be able to keep track of them. I will keep up dating if any changes are there. All these dates are according to the Udayavani Diary for 2008.

Meanwhile, I wish you all a very

Happy New Year 2008.

Date Festival
January 8 Ellu Amavasya
January 14 Makara sankaramana/Pongal/Paryaya in Udipi
March 6 Maha shivarathri
March 21 Holi
April 6 Ugadi/Gudi padva
April 14 Soura ugadi/Ram Navmi
April 20 Hanuman Jayanthi
May 18 Narasimha Jayanthi
August 6 Nagar Panchami
August 15 Varamahalaxmi Pooja (Also Independence Day)
August 16 Upakarma/Raksha Bandhan
August 23 Krishna janmashtami
September 2 Gowri thrathiya
September 3 Ganesh chathurthi
September 14 Anantha vritha (Nopi)
September 29 Mahalaya amavasya
October 7 Durgashtami
October 8 Mahanavami
October 9 Vijaya Dasami
October 27 Deepavali
October 28 Lakshmi pooja
October 30 Bhagini Grahe bhojanam
November 10 Uthana Dwadashi (Tulasi pooja)
December 4 Subramanya sashti
December 27 Ellu Amavasya

Aside from these, there are also festivals that recur at regular intervals. Sankashti is an example ; I have a separate post with the dates listed here.