Happy Ganesh ChaturthiIts ''Ganesh Chaturthi ~ गणेश चतुर्थी'', the auspicious day when Lord Ganesh was born. The festival is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). Ganesha, the elephant-headed son of Shiva and Parvati, is widely worshipped as the supreme god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.
In relation to the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi and the birth of Lord Ganesha whose parents are the divine couple Lord Shiva and Parvati, a very general belief is that Lord Ganesha was brought into existence by a mud statue formed by his mother at the time when she was heading to take bath. She breathed life into the statue so as to let herself guarded from the sudden entry from any outsider. The newly born Lord Ganesha dedicatedly did his duty and prohibited even his father Lord Shiva from entering. His father in rage cut off his head but then suddenly realized that it was his own newly born son. After being cooled down, Lord Shiva replaced Ganesha’s head with an elephant head for blessed his son with the title of the first to be worshipped deity. Since then the birth of Ganesha is celebrated in the name of Ganesh Chaturthi Festival.
While celebrated all over India, it is most elaborate in Maharashtra,Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, and other areas which were former states of the Maratha Empire. The jubilations extend till the following ten or twelve days. The whole atmosphere of celebration welcomes the arrival of great Lord Ganesha on the Earth.
In Mumbai and Pune, the charm of the festival is witnessed by the beautiful decorations of various ‘pandals’ that are honored by the idol of Lord Ganesha seated on the center stage catching the eyes of the whole lot of devotees that surround the whole scene. Along with the music and rhythm of several instruments played to accompany the celebrations, there are the performances of timely ‘aartis’ that carry the enthusiasm of the festival.
During the festivals day's beautifully sculpted Ganesh idols are installed in the Mandaps that are colourfully decorated, depicting religious themes or current events. Each locality make their own special pandal. People attribute considerable social significance to the pandals as communities compete with each other to put up a more outstanding one. Various cultural shows and events are organised by Sarvajanik Pandals.
In my apartment, in Mumbai we get Ganpati every year for 11/2 day, as a kid we used to help elders to build pandals and decorate the whole pandal. There were Aartis three times in a day and we used to stuffed ourselves with soo many delicious Prasads and Naivedya offered to Lord Ganesh. Then we used to visit our friends and families who used to get Ganpati, visit various sarvajanik pandals. Last year was special Ganesh Chaturthi as it was the last one I was celebrating in India. This is picture of Ganpati celebration in my apartment last year.
Ten days of Jubilation just passes and the day of Ananth Chturdashi, comes when Ganpati Idols are taken for Visarjan. We usually go to Juhu beach which is very near to our house. However on the day of Ananth Chaturdashi it takes ages to reach the beach, as everyone is out dancing on the street yelling '' Ganpati Bappa Marya, pudhchya varasi lavkar yaa'' means 'O Lord Ganpati, come back soon next year'.
This year, eventhough I am away from homeland, I have decided to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi in my own special way. The main dish or Bhog or Naivedya offered to Lord Ganesha on the Ganesh Chaturthi day are Modaks of which Lord Ganesha has always been very fond of. Here's my entry for Krishna ~ Ganesh Chaturthi event.
Ukadiche Modak is a Maharashtrian delicacy, and is prepared in almost every household in Maharashtra on Ganesh Chaturthi. Modaks are steamed rice dumplings stuffed with sweet coconut and jaggery mixture.
For the Filling
1 Cup grated fresh Coconut
1 Cup grated Jaggery
1 Tablespoon of Cardamom powder
1/2 Tablespoon of Nutmeg powder
2 Tablespoons of Kishmish
2 Tablespoons of Ghee
For Rice Dumplings
1 Cup Rice flour
1 Cup Water
1 Teaspoon of Oil
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1. First prepare the filling. Heat the ghee in a non-stick pan, add grated coconut and jaggery. Mix well till the jaggery melts and in the end add cardamom and nutmeg powder. Keep aside to cool.
2. For the Modak cover, boil water in a pan. When it has reached the steady boil, add oil and salt. Then mix the oil and salt evenly and add the rice flour immediatley. Stir again and again so that no lumps are formed.
3. Cover the lid for sometime, then knead the dough while it is still hot. Make a soft dough.
4. Grease your palm with oil, take a small ball of dough. With the help of your palm flatten the dough to form a cup shape.
5. Fill it with the coconut, jaggery stuffing. With the help of your fingers seal all the edges of the cup and join them to form a peak.
6. Now grease your plate with a teapoon of oil. Place the modaks in this pre greased plate and place it in a steamer.
7. Steam the modak for 15 - 20 Minutes, or till they turn translucent.
Serve them Hot, by drizzling ghee on them.