Friday, March 25, 2011

Mixed Nut Brittle

This is  one kind of a  perfect crisp nutty brittle for a crunchy munchy sweet treat ,attracted by kids.Any one cant miss eating of this brittle in their child-hood.Beauty of the sweet lies in the uneven peaks and lows made by haphazardly placed nuts.You can also make this sweet by using Jaggery syrup with the desired Nuts.

Ingredients:
  • Sugar-250 gms
  • Water-2
  • Oil-1tbsp
  • Poppy seeds-2tbsp
  • Green Elachi-2 to 4 no Powdered
  • Sliced dry fruits- a small cup (Almonds,Cashews, Unsalted Pistachio,Dried Coconut and Dried Dates)
Method:
  • Slice all the dry fruits and mix them well and keep aside.
  • Rinse the poppy seeds with hot water for couple of times to remove the soluble dirt and strain it with the tea strainer.
  • Drain it on kitchen towel to get rid off excess moisture.
  • Now take a steel plate on its back or the kitchen platform surface.Grease it well with oil.
  • Now in a thick bottom pan or in an Iron wok,mix sugar,water/Oil,Elachi powder and mix well.Keep the flame in medium.
  • Keep stirring the mixture,make sure not to form nasty lumps of sugar are present.Break them if any found with the spatula.
  • As soon as the sugar melts,add the strained poppy seeds.
  • Now depending on how chewy or how  crispy /hard you want your brittle to be.Switch off the flame,when the color of the sugar syrup changes to preferred color.
  • Immediately put all the above sliced nuts and mix well.(You have to do this quickly otherwise there wont be even distribution of nuts)
  • Spread the mixture on a greased surface .Using the back of plate helps to tap the plate and to adjust to get rid of any tiny bubbles in the mixture.
  • Tilt the plate to spread the mixture without touching with the hand or surface.
  • Let it be cooled down and break in to pieces when it is not completely hard.
  • Store it in an air-tight container and it can last as long as few weeks to couple of months.
Note:
  • Do not overcook the sugar syrup,it makes bright color and taste the syrup bitter.
  • By touching the surface of the mixture to spread make it lose its glaze or shine.
  • Use some pestle like tool,gently break the brittle in to large pieces ,once it is perfectly hard.

Bobbattu



This sweet is especially prepared in South India for the "Ugadi " Festival.But the stuffing may be varies either filled with coconut or by omitting it.It really tastes good.

Not only prepared at the festive time,it also served for any occasion like Function time feasts.It has one more speciality in South India , it is distributed as a one item for the Kids First Birthday Party in the Packets as saying "Borla Paditey Bobbattu" ,Making kids to place on this sweet and allow them to move by themself rotating.

Ingredients:
  • Chana dal-1cup
  • Maida/All purpose flour-1cup
  • Jaggery-1 to 1 1/2 cups powdered
  • Ghee-1/4 cup
  • Water-1/2cup
  • Grated coconut-1/2 cup
  • Elachi pods-2 no powdered
  • Poppy seeds-1tbsp
Method:
  • Take a bowl and mix all purpose flour with little water and ghee.(1 or 2 tbsps)
  • Prepare a soft pilable dough.Let the dough kept leaved untouched for one hour by covering it.
  • Pressure cook chanadal for 2 whistles with just enough water.
  • If the cooked chanadal has little water,drain the water and spread that dal on a dry towel or paper.
  • In a bowl ,add the boiled chanadal and mash it or prepare a paste by adding in a blender
  • Add Jaggery,Elachi powder ,grated coconut,and mix well to make it tight.
  • Make balls with the Chana dal mixture.
  • Take a small ball from the Poori dough and spread it on palm.Keep the chana dal mix ball in it and rap it like a stuffed ball.
  • Place it over a Aluminium foil or Plantain leaf ,dip finbgers in ghee /Oil andspread it like a chapathi with hand.
  • Fry or cook it on medium-low heat ,applying liberal amounts of ghee,till golden on both sides.
  • Sprinkle some poppy seeds on each side ,keep on the griddle for few more minutes and remove.
  • Naivedyam is ready.
Serve them along with Ghee, Pulihora and some Bajjis.Festive Feast is ready!!

Note:
  • In case if the chanadal is more soggy ,cook it on stove top on medium-low heat for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • You can mix the poppy seeds in the chana dal mixture also.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Raw Mango Pickle



These type of Pickles are easily prepared with any kind of vegetables  like Cauliflower,Carrot,Cabbage,Indian Cucumber,Gherkins etc.Eventhough  the vegetable is different ,preparing method is same.I like this variation of Pickles very much along with Hot rice.

So ,I learned this recipe from my mother ,while our talkings going on we both discussed about the Lunch Menu of the day.She explained me this Raw mango Pickle.I was tempted to eat ,but dont know exactly .By knowing from my Mom today I am  able to try this and posting it today for all of you.

Ingredients:
  • Raw Mango/Pulla Maamidikaya-1 no
  • Red chillipowder-1tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Fenugreek Powder-1/2 tsp (adding more makes bitter taste)
  • Mustard Powder-1/2 tbsp
  • Garlic Pods-3no
Seasoning:
  • Oil-2tbsp
  • Red Chillies-3 no
  • Mustard seeds-1/2tsp
  • Cumin seeds-1/2tsp
  • Hing/Asafoetida- a pinch
  • Curryleaves -few (optional)
Method:
  • Clean the raw Mango and make it dry with any cloth .
  • Chop the mango with very small pieces along with the skin.(It tastes good with the skin)
  • Take a bowl,add these chopped pieces .
  • Now peel the skin of garlic pods and crush it and mix them to the mango pieces bowl.
  • Add the red chillipowder,salt,Fenugreek powder and Mustard powder.
  • Mix well all these ingredients & keep it aside.
  • Now heat a pan with oil for seasoning.
  • Add the Mustard seeds,cumin seeds,redchillies ,curry leaves and roast them.
  • Finally add the Hing.
  • Now mix these seasoning to the Mango mixture and mix well.You get nice aroma at this stage while mixing it.
  • Let it be aside for atleast 1 or two hours by covering it
  • Later you can open and transfer it to an air-tigh container.
  • Serve this along with hot rice with a spoonful of Ghee.
Note:
  • You can also serve it by preparing in the morning and having it for the Night.It makes the mango to absorb all the ingredients and makes tastier.
  • You can also prepare the Mustard and Fenugreek powder in the home by dry roast the Fenugreek seeds and let it cool and powder it.
  • Mustard seeds are directly powdered in the Mixyjar without any roasting.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Telugu Kids Rhymes & Poems

Hi Friends, apart from the recipes I want to know all about some kids rhymes usually sung by Telugu Parents for their kids .I still remember some of those beautiful Rhymes which I have learned and  started  telling to my Kid.Every Infant and Kids attract to their Mother's voice and beautiful sayings and with interestingly they concentrate to learn what they says.I always like the Old & New telugu kids rhymes which I came to know from school ,Mother , Grand Mother and from the Internet.Some I came to know from my Sister-in-Law.Hope you may also know well all these as these are very comonly sung in India for  the kids while making to sleep ,feeding and for bed time as a Lullabies adding tunes also.So have a look and remember back childhood memories and enjoy now with your Lovely Kids.....

 Chinni Krishna / Chetha Venna Mudda



Chetha venna mudda
Chemgalva poodamda
Bangaru Molathadu
Pattu Datti
Samdita Taayettulu
Sarimuvva Gajjelu
Chinni Krushna Ninnu Ney Cheri Koluthu




 
Allari Pilla

Devudi Gudiki Vellanu                                                               Khanguna Ghantanu Kottanu
Jey ji ki Dandam Pettanu
Haarathi Kallaku Addhanu
Manchi Buddini Immani
Manasu Ninduga Vedanu
Intiki Vasthoo Daariloo
Arati Pallaku Edchanu!!



Thaarangam Thaarangam


           
                       Thaarangam Thaarangam Thandava krishna Thaarangam
                     Allari krishna Thaarangam Pillala Krishna Thaarangam
                   Muddula Krishna Thaarangam Muripaala Krishna Thaarangam
                   Madhava Krishna Thaarangam Yashodha Krishna Thaarangam
                    Venunadha Thaarangam Venkataramana Thaarangam
                     Radha Krishna Thaarangam Ramaneeya Krishna Thaarangam
                     Gopala Krishna Thaarangam Gokula Naadha Thaarangam
                    Venna Donga Thaarangam Chinni Krishna Thaarangam
               Chinmaya Roopa Thaarangam Chidvilasa Thaarangam
                Viswamanthayu Tharaangam Neevenayya Thaarangam


Usually these "Tharaangam" is sung by mothers by their kids by raising the kids hands and rotating the fingers.Some may sing while playing with the rattle or in the Cradle/Swing while moving them.

                Chuku Chuku Railu            

 Chuku Chuku Railu Vasthundi
Dooram Dooram Jaragandi
Aagina tharuvata Ekkandi
Jojo Papayi Edavaku
Laddu Mittaii Tinipistha
Kammani Paalu Taagistha


 The above one is a playing time rhyme sing by kids or parents by forming a line standing on back and catching the above kid and moving like a train.

Ugaadi panduga Vachindi

Ugaadi Panduga Vachindi
Vooriki andham Techindi 
Utsavalatho devullandaruku voorygimpulu saagaayi
Vooreygimpulu Saagaayi


Ugaadi Panduga Vachindi 
Vooriki andham Techindi
Panchangaalanu Chadivinchi
Manchi Cheddalu Vinnamu..Manchi Cheddalu Vinnamu

Monday, March 21, 2011

Saggubiyyam Vadiyaalu



These are also one kind of Chips prepared mostly by Mothers & Grandmothers especially during the summer season in India.Its easy and almost a one day preparation and can eat it whenever we need.

When the grandkids arrive the Grandparents places for the summer Vaccation,they will enjoy a lot of food items prepared by their Lovely Grandmas!!When the Sumer Season starts,Everyone will concentrate to first to Prepare Vadiyalu and used to dry them for atleast 2to 3 days in the sun.Very interesting ,and even I used to help my Mother in my Child-hood by pouring the batter and spreading it on the sheet in the balcony or terrace where it can dried up quickly.

When my mom ask me to bring back the sheet of these Vadiyaalu in the evening,I used to test with my hand and eat it.Its tastes gud spicy and Smooth before it gets completely dried.So friends,People living in the US can aslo easily prepare these Chips and dry it and can store it and ready to fry whenever you need and can eat them along with rice as a side item or as a evening snack.I am posting these recipe by knowing it from My Loving Mother.Hope you can try and taste them!!

Ingredients:
  • Saggubiyyam/Sago pearls/Tapioca-1cup
  • Water-6cups
  • Buttermilk-1 cup(optional)
  • Cumin seeds-1/4tsp
  • Greenchilies-3no
  • Ginger-1/2 inch
  • Oil-2tsp(optional)
  • Salt to taste
Things Needed:
  • Plain Plastic Sheet /Washed Cloth (Colored sheet may stick color to the Vadiyalu after drying)
Preparation:
  • Firstly take a blender or in a grinding stone ,add the green chillies,cumin seeds,salt and ginger to make a paste.
  • Keep this aside.
  • Now in alarge vessel,wash the Tapioca under water twice.
  • Drain the water and set them a side.
  • Now add the water in a vessel ,heat water till it reaches to boil.
  • Now add the washed tapioca and boil it.
  • While boiling add the  oil and grounded ginger,chilli,paste and mix well.
  • Cook on medium flame stirring frequently,inorder to avoid the sticking to the bottom of the vessel.
  • Boil until you see the Saggubiyyam like soft and transparent stage.(Add buttermilk at this stage)
  • Stir with the spoon in the middle of the cook.
  • Add more water ,if you want the vadiyalu to be more flakey.
  • While the mixture is hot,start pouring the mixture using a laddle on to a Plastic Sheet/Cloth .
  • Allow it to dry completely in the red hot sun.
  • Dry them till the vadiyalu comes out from the Cover/Cloth by themselves.
  • Collect the dried Vadiyalu and store it in an air-tight container and fry it whenever u need!!
  • Enjoy them along with Dal rice or with sambar.
Note:
  • If the mixture becomes thicky while pouring on a sheet/Cloth,by adding the hot water can make it loose.
  • Adding of Cumin &chillipaste ,the Vadiyalu appears in brown color.
  • You can also add 1 cup of buttermilk at the end of boiling .This makes to get the Vadiyalu to appear in White color.
  • Check the salt when water starts boiling and do not add excess salt.This may tastes too salty after frying vadiyaalu.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Holi

Hi Friends,Hope all have celebrated a colorful and wonderful "Holi" with your family members and friends.Moreover kids have a lot of fun.Even I used to splash water colors to my friends ,but I escape when they apply color for me.After the festival ,I used to see & laugh towards my friends by seeing their colored face.Some faces looks very scared!!Really anyone can enjoy and have fun for this festival.This Year ,I applied colors to my boy (Neelesh) and enjoyed .You can see his Face with colors!!

Here are some Photos .......






Saturday, March 19, 2011

Happy Holi!!!


 
Divya's Cooking Journey Wishes You all of my Blog followers,Visitors ,friends and everyone with a very Happy & Wonderful Holi!!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Onion Fritters ~ Onion Bajji



The tasty and crunchy snack is easy to make and can celebrate any occasion in a traditional way with many lip-smacking delicacies.So,I am posting this "Onion Fritters" for the Festival of Colors "Holi" ;It is the Spring festival which brings with it the warmth of the season and vanishes the chillness of winter,the preceeding season.Moreover the festive occasion is all about playing with vibrant colors and splashing water over each other. Enjoy the Holi & taste the Fritters!!!

Ingredients:
  • Chickpea flour/Besan-1cup
  • Oil-1cup
  • Rice flour-1/4 cup (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Water-1/2cup
  • Green chillies-2 to 3 no chopped or Use red chillipowder
  • Onion-1 1/2 cup sliced
  • Ground cumin-1/2tsp
Method:
  •  Mix the Besan,salt,greenchillies and cumin with water and make a batter.(You can also beat in a blender for 4to5 minutes.This makes fluffy)
  • Let batter rest for 1/2 hour in a warm place.
  • Heat oil in a wok.
  • Dip the sliced onions in the batter to coat.
  • Drop them in the oil and fry it.
  • Drain on paper towels and serve it immediately.
  • Serve with Coriander or Mint Chutney or with Tomato Ketchup.
Sending this recipe for the Event "Holi Ayyi Re"!! conducting by Vatsala.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Holi

Holi festival, also known as Holika, is the colourful Hindu festival celebrated on Falgun Purnima, the Full Moon day in Falgun Month. Holi 2011 date is March 19 in India. In some places Holi 2011 is also celebrated on March 20, 2011. As Phalgun Purnima in 2011 starts on 18th March and ends on March 19th, date of Holi varies. Phalgun Purnima or Holi festival is celebrated as Phagu in Nepal.

Dhulandi Holi or Dulandi Holi or Dhuleti Holi, Lathmar Holi, Vasantotsavam or Basantotsav, Dol Jatra or Dol Purnima, Phagwa, Shimga, Ukkuli or Manjal Kuli, Rangoli, Rangula Panduga are some regional names of Holi.


History of Holi
 
Holi is an ancient festival of India and was originally known as 'Holika'. The festivals finds a detailed description in early religious works such as Jaimini's Purvamimamsa-Sutras and Kathaka-Grhya-Sutras. Historians also believe that Holi was celebrated by all Aryans but more so in the Eastern part of India.

It is said that Holi existed several centuries before Christ. However, the meaning of the festival is believed to have changed over the years. Earlier it was a special rite performed by married women for the happiness and well-being of their families and the full moon (Raka) was worshiped.

Calculating the Day of Holi

There are two ways of reckoning a lunar month- 'purnimanta' and 'amanta'. In the former, the first day starts after the full moon; and in the latter, after the new moon. Though the amanta reckoning is more common now, the purnimanta was very much in vogue in the earlier days.

According to this purnimanta reckoning, Phalguna purnima was the last day of the year and the new year heralding the Vasanta-ritu (with spring starting from next day). Thus the full moon festival of Holika gradually became a festival of merrymaking, announcing the commencement of the spring season. This perhaps explains the other names of this festival - Vasanta-Mahotsava and Kama-Mahotsava.

Reference in Ancient Texts and Inscriptions

Besides having a detailed description in the Vedas and Puranas such as Narad Purana and Bhavishya Purana, the festival of Holi finds a mention in Jaimini Mimansa. A stone incription belonging to 300 BC found at Ramgarh in the province of Vindhya has mention of Holikotsav on it. King Harsha, too has mentioned about holikotsav in his work Ratnavali that was written during the 7th century.

The famous Muslim tourist - Ulbaruni too has mentioned about holikotsav in his historical memories. Other Muslim writers of that period have mentioned, that holikotsav were not only celebrated by the Hindus but also by the Muslims.

Reference in Ancient Paintings and Murals

The festival of Holi also finds a reference in the sculptures on walls of old temples. A 16th century panel sculpted in a temple at Hampi, capital of Vijayanagar, shows a joyous scene of Holi. The painting depicts a Prince and his Princess standing amidst maids waiting with syringes or pichkaris to drench the Royal couple in coloured water.

A 16th century Ahmednagar painting is on the theme of Vasanta Ragini - spring song or music. It shows a royal couple sitting on a grand swing, while maidens are playing music and spraying colors with pichkaris.

There are a lot of other paintings and murals in the temples of medieval India which provide a pictoral description of Holi. For instance, a Mewar painting (circa 1755) shows the Maharana with his courtiers. While the ruler is bestowing gifts on some people, a merry dance is on, and in the center is a tank filled with colored water. Also, a Bundi miniature shows a king seated on a tusker and from a balcony above some damsels are showering gulal (colored powders) on him.

Legends and Mythology

In some parts of India, specially in Bengal and Orissa, Holi Purnima is also celebrated as the birthday of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (A.D. 1486-1533). However, the literal meaning of the word 'Holi' is 'burning'. There are various legends to explain the meaning of this word, most prominent of all is the legend associated with demon king Hiranyakashyap.

Hiranyakashyap wanted everybody in his kingdom to worship only him but to his great disappointment, his son, Prahlad became an ardent devotee of Lord Naarayana. Hiaranyakashyap commanded his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap. Holika had a boon whereby she could enter fire without any damage on herself. However, she was not aware that the boon worked only when she enters the fire alone. As a result she paid a price for her sinister desires, while Prahlad was saved by the grace of the god for his extreme devotion. The festival, therefore, celebrates the victory of good over evil and also the triumph of devotion.

Legend of Lord Krishna is also associated with play with colors as the Lord started the tradition of play with colours by applying colour on his beloved Radha and other gopis. Gradually, the play gained popularity with the people and became a tradition.
Krishna Bhagwan Playing Holi with Gopis
There are also a few other legends associated with the festival - like the legend of Shiva and Kaamadeva and those of Ogress Dhundhi and Pootana. All depict triumph of good over evil - lending a philosophy to the festival.

The Evening of Bonfires 

 Holika Dahan or the lighting of bonfire takes place on the eve of Holi. The day is also popularly called 'Chhoti Holi' or the 'Small Holi'.The bigger event - play with the colour takes place on the next 'big' day.

Holika Dahan is an extremely popular tradition and is celebrated with fervour all across the country and is symbolic of triumph of good over evil. There are numerous legends associated with this ancient tradition and it is difficult to pin-point as to when actually the tradition started.

A Brief History

Holikotsav finds a mention in the Vedas and Puranas. It is stated that during the Vedic period the sacred fire of Holi was burnt amidst the chanting of specific mantras which were intended for the destruction of the demonic forces. It is also said that on this very day Vaishwadev oblation commenced in which offerings of wheat, gram and oat were made to the sacrificial fire.

Some scholars believe that Holikotsav is named after fried cereals or parched grains called 'Holka' in Sanskrit. These parched grains were used to perform hawana (a fire ritual).The vibhuti (sacred ashes) obtained from this ritual was smeared on the forehead of those who participated in the ritual to keep away evil. This vibhuti is called Bhumi Hari. Till date there is a tradition of offering wheat and oat into the Holika fire.

According to Narad Purana, this day is celebrated in the memory of Prahlad's victory and the defeat of his aunt 'Holika'. The legend has it that there once existed a mighty demon king by the name of Hiranyakashyap who wished that everybody in his kingdom should worship him. His son, Prahlad became a follower of Lord Naarayana. Hiranyakashyap instructed his sister, Holika to sit in the burning fire with Prahlad in lap. She was blessed with a boon, as a result of which no fire could burn her. But the opposite happened, Prahlad survived and Holika was charred to death. Thus 'holi' is celebrated to commemorate the victory of virtue over evil.

It is because of this event, Holika (a bonfire) is burnt every year on Holi. The burning of the effigy of Holika is called Holika Dahan.

Another legend mentioned in the 'Bhavishya Purana' is also considered to be related to the festival of Holi. The legend goes back to the kingdom of Raghu, where lived an ogress called Dhundhi who used to trouble children but was finally chased away by them on the day of Holi. This is said to be the reason why the tradition of Holika Dahan is so popular amongst children and why they are allowed to play pranks on the day.

The Tradition

There is also a specific way in which Holika Dahan takes place. A log of wood is kept in a prominent public place on the Vasant Panchami day, almost 40 days before the Holi Festival. People go on throwing twigs, dried leaves, branches of trees left through the winter besides any other combustible material they can spare, on to that log which gradually grows into a sizable heap. On the day of Holika Dahan an effigy of Holika with child Prahlad in her lap is kept on the logs. Usually, Holika's effigy is made of combustible materials, whereas, Prahlad's effigy is made of non-combustible one. On the night of Phalguna Purnima, it is set alight amidst the chanting of Rakshoghna Mantras of the Rig Veda (4.4.1-15; 10.87.1-25 and so on) to ward off all evil spirits.

Next morning the ashes from the bonfire are collected as prasad and smeared on the limbs of the body. If spared by the fire coconuts are also collected and eaten.

Metaphorically though, the fire is meant to signify the destruction of evil - the burning of the 'Holika' - a mythological character and the triumph of good as symbolised by Prahlad. However, the heat from the fire also depicts that winter is behind and the hot summer days are ahead.
Next day after Holika Dahan is called Dhuleti, when play with colours actually takes place.

Samvatsar Dahan

It may be noted that in some places like Bihar and UP Holika Dahan is also known as 'Samvatsar Dahan'. The concept of Samvatsar New Year varies in different provinces of our country. In some provinces the month commences from 'Krishna Paksha' while in others it commences from 'Shukla Paksha'. For Krishna Paksha, the year ends on 'Purnima' of the month of Phalgun and thus the new year begins the next day - Chaitra, first day of the Krishna Paksha.

 Holi Rituals & Customs-Traditions of Holi Festival

People follow the rituals and customs of the ancient festival Holi with utmost care and devotion.

Celebrations of Holika Dahan – the Holy Bonfire:

The day before Holi is celebrated as Holika Dahan. On this day, the effigy of Holika, the sister of the Demon King Hiranyakashyapa is kept in the wood and set fire. When Hiranyakashyapa asked her to kill his son, a great devotee of Lord Narayana, Holika tried to kill Prahlad by burning in the fire. But, because of Lord Narayanas grace and Bhakta Prahlads utmost devotion, he was saved. This ritual, setting a holy bonfire indicates the  of good over evil and also the triumph of a true devotee.

People consider the bonfire as very sacred and they take the fire as well as the ash of the holy bonfire to their homes. They believe that the holy ash may bring success, prosperity and bliss in their families.

Celebrations of Holi – Playing with Colours:

The day of Holi is also called as Dhuleti. On this day play of colours takes place. People spray and spill colours on each other with lot of enthusiasm and joy. They use different types of colours such as dry colours, wet colours and water colours. Some special recipes are made on the occasion of Holi.

Holi Pooja Process

Some special pujas are performed during Holi festival. Devotees light the lamps in the night and worship Holika at anytime between afternoon and evening. There is not fault if you perform Holika Puja after taking meals. Before Holi puja, a demon called Dundha is pleased with chanting the puja sankalpam. Wood pieces and dried cow dung balls are kept at a place and set fire. This sacred bonfire is called Holikadahan in North India and Kamadahanam in South Indian states.

Slokam to recite during Holi Puja:

“Vanditasi surendrena brahmana shankarenaditasi surendrena brahmana shankarena cha

Athasthwam pahino devi bhoote bhootipradaa bhava”

Pradakshinam or circumambulation around the bonfire is done while chating the mantra.

Lakshmi Puja and Indra pooja are other sacred rituals performed on Holi festival or Falgun Purnima day. Falgun Purnima is also known as Mahalakshmi Jayanthi. Lord Krishna Puja is also observed during Holi especially in North Indian states like Orissa, Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Mahdya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.

Significance of Holi:
Holi, also known as Holika, is an ages old Hindu festival. Ancient hindu scriptures, Purvamimamsa-Sutras and Kathaka-Grhya-Sutras written by Jaimini explained the history, legend, stories and significance of Holi festival. It is said that Holi was celebrated by Aryans in early civilization of India (people of Harappa and Mohenzodaro civilizations).

It is believed that this festival of colours was celebrated even hundreds of years before Jesus Christ. The name of the festival has been changed over the years.

In spite of being such a colourful and gay festival, there are various aspects of Holi which makes it so significant for our lives. Though they might not be so apparent but a closer look and a little thought will reveal the significance of Holi in more ways than meets the eyes. Ranging from socio-cultural, religious to biological there is every reason why we must heartily enjoy the festival and cherish the reasons for its celebrations.
So when, its time for Holi, please don't hold yourself back and enjoy the festival to the hilt by participating with full enthusiasm in every small tradition related to the festival. 

Note:
  • Source & Image courtesy from hindupad & various internet resources

Lakshmi Jayanti

 Sri Lakshmi Jayanti, birthday of Goddess Sri Lakshmi Devi, is observed Phalgun Purnima, the Full Moon day in Falgun month. Lakshmi Jayanthi 2011 date is March 19, 2011. On this occasion devotees worship Goddess Laxmi devi, Goddess of wealth, with utmost devotion. This festival is also celebrated as Holi or Madan Purnima or Vasant Poornima.

In some places Lakshmi Jayanthi is observed on Uttara Phalguni nakshatram day. As per Nakshtra also, Lakshmi Jayanthi 2011 date is March 19.

Birth of Goddess Laxmi Devi – Legend of Sagar Manthan:

Puranas and several ancient Hindu scriptures describe the birth of Goddess Maha Laxmi. Devotees believe that the Goddess is the daughter of Bhrigu Maharshi and reborn during the churning of the Milk Ocean (Ksheera Sagar manthan).

The Story behind Ksheera Saagara Manthan (Churning of the Milky Ocean):
 
The story of Ksheera Saagara Manthanam (Samudra Manthan) tells the birth of Goddess Maha Lakshmi. When Lord Indra, the King of Gods, was riding on his elephant, sage Durvasa Maharshi presented him a special garland. But Lord Indra put that special flower garland on the trunk of his elephant. Irritated by the smell and crushed the garland, the elephant crushed the garland with its foot. This enraged Durvasa Muni and he cursed Indra and all Gods that they will lose their entire strength, energy, and fortune.

As the curse of Durvasa Muni started working all Gods became week and lost everything. They all went to Maha Vishnu and prayed to him for their lost wealth, health and wisdom. Lord Vishnu promised that he will deal the issue during Sagar Manthan and the Goddess of wealth will emerge from the Ocean. As the Lord promised, along with Amrit (Nector) Goddess Lakshmi was also emerged from the ocean.

Note:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Award From Charitha

Hi Friends,I got a "Regional recipe Award" from Charitha for the "B For Breakfast" event.
Thank you for the award and Letting me to participate in the Event.

Divya Chevuri.

Awards Galore

Thank you so much Charitha for sharing these wonderful awards with me.Charitha from Womens Era2008 passed these awards to me.She is such a wonderful blogger with variety of delicious recipes in her blog.Not only recipes friends ,we can see the varieties of her "Collections" in dresses & Jewelleries.Any visitor for her blog is easy accessible and like it....do visit her blog women Era2008.







Rules to claim and share these awards :

Thank and Link the blogger who has given you the award.

Copy and paste the Logo in your blog.

Nominate 15 or more than 15 other Great Bloggers with their names and links of their blogsComment and let them know of the award

As per rules I want to share these awards with my fellow bloggers (Budding bloggers).

I am passing on this AWARD GALORE to some of my blogger friends and budding bloggers. Please collect the awards and don't forget to thank all those who have passed on these lovely awards .

I would like to share all these awards to :

  1. Madhavi from madhukitchen
  2. Bindu from bindukitchen
  3. Vineela from vineelasiva
  4. Krishna veni  Nalka from ruchiruchiadige
  5. Srinithya Lahari V from andhra ruchulu
  6. Gayathri Kumar from Gayathri's Cook Spot
  7. Seetha from My Recipe
  8. Sanyukta Gour from creativesanyukta
  9. Uma Ramana from gruhinii                     
  10. Srivalli from spice your life
  11. Torview from torviewtoronto
  12. Suvidha from suvidhaskitchen
  13. Smita from tastebuds1
  14. Deeksha from deeskitchen-deeksha
Kindly Collect these awards do share with your blogger friends.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pulla Mavidikaya Kobbari Pachadi /Raw Mango Coconut Chutney

  When Fresh tender sour mangoes hit in the Markets,everyone use to like it and have to eat in preparing variety dishes like Mixture,dal,Pulihora or just eaten raw with red chillipowder etc;because of these variations anyone never get bored.In India ,we can get fresh and sour mangoes during Summer season specially .Every women in the house will be being busy in preparing pickles.However,in states its practically impossible to get sour mangoes.Most of the mangoes looks tender but are sweetish in taste.I feel lucky when I get sour Mango and it reminds my Child -hood eating memories.This Chutney is one of my favourites made with two main Ingredients and seasoning makes for one Yummy dish.
Ingredients:
  • Raw Mango- 1 no
  • Coconut Pieces- 1 cup or grated 
  • Salt to taste
  • Red chilipowder-1/2tsp or more
Seasoning:
  • Oil-1tbsp
  • Mustard seeds-1/2tsp
  • Cumin seeds-1/2tsp
  • Red chillies-2no
  • Curry leaves-2to 3
  • Hing-a pinch
Method:
  • Clean the raw Mango ,peel the skin and chop in to small pieces or grate it.
  • Take a mixy jar,add the grated /Chopped Mango and coconut .
  • Add chillipowder and salt,Ground it to a fine paste.
  • Heat oil in a pan,add the mustard ,cumin seeds,when they splutters add the red chilies ,hing and curry leaves.
  • Now add this to the Mango Paste.
  • Mix well and serve.This can be best eaten with rice or roti too.
 Note:
  • You can also add the fried redchilies in oil and add instead of chillipowder.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Rasam Powder


Ingredients:
  • Coriander seeds-1/2cup
  • Toor dal/ Kandipappu-1cup
  • Black Pepper seeds/Miriyaalu-3 or more
  • Red Chillies-3 or more
  • Hing-1/4tsp
  • Oil- little Optional
Method:
  • Fry all the above ingredients in the pan by adding little oil,until the raw smell is gone.
  • Once they Cool down ,ground them all together.
  •  You can store in an air-tight container and the Refreshness smelling Rasam Powder is ready!!
 Note:
  • Add either Black pepper seeds or Red chillies for the Spicyness. 
  • You can also dry roast or dircectly ground the ingredients.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Haarati Song

This song is daily sung by my Mother -In-Law while giving Harathi at Pooja time.This song can be sung in any occasion like Poojas,Vratas,Marriages etc. I practised from my (M.I.L).So,I am sharing  for you all  here those who like to learn and sing!!!.

Pallavi:            Haarathu Leeyarey Ammaku athivalumeerantha...
                       Soubhagyavathulantha pasupu Kumkuma
                       Poola Palleymuna
                       Jyothulu veliginchi.. Haarathuleeyarey   ||Haara||

Charanam 1:      Jyothiswaroopiniki Jaganmathabhavaniki
                         Janmamruthyuvu Jaravyadhioninasiniki
                         Jaya Jaya dwanulutho haarathuleeyarey.... ||Haara||

Charanam 2:     Ambika Chandikaku Paraambika Paarvathiki
                        Pasupathi ardha Sareeriniki Paahi Paahi anuchoo
                        Haarathuleeyarey ...   ||Haara||

Charanam 3:     Kaaryakaariniki kamalakeli  Tharanginiki
                        Kamala Vaasiniki Kamalsevithaku
                        Karunaakatakshiki Haarathuleeyarey... ||Haara||

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy women's Day!!

Happy Woman Greetings

The willingness to listen,
the patience to understand,
the strength to support,
the heart to care & just to be there.
that is the beauty of a lady!
Happy Women's Day!
                Wishing You a day as beautiful as You are !!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mysore Bonda


This Mysore Bonda can be served as any time in a day.I remember that when my Mom Prepares this ; I used to ask her "In this Bonda ,Where is the Mysore? & does it is famous at Mysore" really very funny questions .Of course ,every one have a list of queries to Moms at their Child-hood.I had this Mysore Bonda prepared by my Mom and sometimes from the Tiffin stalls at Vijayawada.I love to eat these Mysore Bonda's from the "Komala Vilas" Hotel located at Vijayawada (My Home town).Today I tried this recipe by knowing it from My Mother.So here goes the recipe.
Ingredients:
  • All Purpose flour/Maida-1cup
  • Rice flour-1/2 cup
  • Curd-1 cup
  • Green Chillies-4 chopped
  • Onion-1/2 piece chopped (Optional)
  • Ginger-1/2 inch chopped
  • Curry leaves-5 to 6
  • Cumin Seeds-1/4tsp
  • Hing- a pinch
  • Baking soda-1/4tsp
  • Peanuts- few crushed
  • Salt -enough to taste
  • Oil
Cooking Procedure:
  • Take a bowl,mix all purpose flour&rice flour,salt,hing ,baking soda with curd and make a thick batter.
  • Let it soak for 2 to 3 hrs.
  • Now add the green chillies,chopped ginger,curry leaves,peanuts to the batter.
  • Heat oil in a medium flame.
  • Take the batter in the form of small balls and insert them very carefully in to the oil.
  • Fry the Bondas to golden brown color from all sides.
  • Place the Bonda's in to a plate.
  • Hot Hot & yummy....yummy Mysore Bondas are ready to eat  with Coconut chutney or Ginger Chutney.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bread Poori



Hi Friends,I learned this Poori by seeing in the Television Cooking Show.I liked it and tried.Hope you all may also like it!!!

Ingredients:


  • Bread Slices-3 no
  • Curd-1cup or more
  • All Purpose flour/Maida-3 cups
  • Salt-little
  • Cooking soda- a pinch
  • Water-for dipping the bread
  • Oil for frying
Method:
  • Take a bowl with water and dip the bread slices and squeeze them.
  • Take a large bowl ,add the wet bread, flour,salt,cooking soda.
  • Mix them and form to a dough by adding the curd.(Do not use water to make the dough)

  • Prepared dough will be little soggy and sticky.So put it in the refrigerator by storing in a tight box for about 10 -20 minutes.

  • Take out the dough from the refrigerator and divide the dough in to small balls.

  • Roll it in to small poori with the rolling pin by applying the flour if needed.

  • Heat oil in a pan and drop the prepared poori.

  • Fry the prepared Poori's under a low flame till it turns in golden color.

  • Make the Poori's with the remaining dough.
  • Take the Fried Poori's in to a plate with the Paper Napkin to remove the excess oil.
  • Serve this tasty & Yummy Poori with Chana curry or Aloo Curry.

Note:
  • Add enough curd to form a dough consistency.
  • Don't add more Cooking soda,It extracts more oil and change the taste.
I am sending this recipe to the ARS event E2 announcement "B for Breakfast"

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Maha Shivaratri



Source adapted from Various Internet Resources
Image from Google

Maha Shivaratri is celebrated throughout the country; it is particularly popular in Uttar Pradesh. Maha Shivratri falls on the 14th day of the dark half of 'Margasirsa' (February-March). In 2011,the date is on March 2.The name means "the night of Shiva". The ceremonies take place chiefly at night. This is a festival observed in honour of Lord Shiva and it is believed that on this day Lord Shiva was married to Parvati.

On this festival people worship 'Shiva - the Destroyer'. This night marks the night when Lord Shiva danced the 'Tandav'. In Andhra Pradesh, pilgrims throng the Sri Kalahasteshwara Temple at Kalahasti and the Bharamarambha Malikarjunaswamy Temple at Srisailam.

About The Lord

Shiva - the word meaning auspicious - is one of the Hindu Trinity, comprising of Lord Brahma, the creator, Lord Vishnu, the preserver and Lord Shiva or Mahesh, the Destroyer and Re-Producer of life. Shiva is known by many names like "Shankar", "Mahesh", "Bholenath", "Neelakanth", "Shambhu Kailasheshwar", "Umanath", "Nataraj" and others.

For few people, Shiva is "Paramatman", "Brahman", the Absolute, but many more prefer to see Shiva as a personal God given to compassion for his worshippers, and the dispenser of both spiritual and material blessings. Related to the Absolute concept is Shiva as "Yoganath" meaning the Lord of Yoga, wherein he becomes teacher, path and goal. As such he is the "Adi Guru" or the Highest Guru of 'Sannyasins' who have renounced the world to attain the Absolute.

He is the most sought-after deity amongst the Hindus and they pray to him as the god of immense large-heartedness who they believe grants all their wishes. Around him are weaved many interesting stories that reveal His magnanimous heart. Not only this, but these stories and legends also enrich the Indian culture and art.

Time is invisible and formless. Therefore Mahakal Shiva, as per the Vedas, manifested himself as "LINGUM" to make mankind aware of the presence of Eternal Time. That day when Shiva manifested himself in the form of "Lingum" was the fourth day of the dark night in the month of 'Magha' i.e. February-March. Maha Shivratri continues to be celebrated forever and ever.

The Story Of King Chitrabhanu

In the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata, Bhishma, whilst resting on the bed of arrows and discoursing on Dharma, refers to the observance of Maha Shivaratri by King Chitrabhanu. The story goes as follows - Once upon a time King Chitrabhanu of the Ikshvaku dynasty, who ruled over the whole of Jambudvipa, was observing a fast with his wife, it being the day of Maha Shivaratri. The sage Ashtavakra came on a visit to the court of the king.

The sage asked the king the purpose of his observing the fast. King Chitrabhanu explained that he had the gift of remembering the incidents of his previous birth.

The king said to the sage that in his previous he was a hunter in Varanasi and his name was Suswara. His only livelihood was to kill and sell birds and animals. One day while roaming through forests in search of animals he was overtaken by the darkness of night. Unable to return home, he climbed a tree for shelter. It happened to be a Bael tree. He had shot a deer that day but had no time to take it home. So he bundled it up and tied it to a branch on the tree. As hunger and thirst tormented him, he was kept awake throughout the night. He shed profuse tears when he thought of his poor wife and children who were starving and anxiously waiting for his return. To pass away the time that night he engaged himself in plucking the Bael leaves and dropping them down onto the ground.

The next day he returned home and sold the deer and then bought some food for himself and his family. The moment he was about to break his fast a stranger came to him, begging for food. He served the food first to stranger and then had his own.

At the time of his death, he saw two messengers of Lord Shiva. They were sent down to conduct his soul to the abode of Lord Shiva. He learnt then for the first time of the great merit he had earned by the unconscious worship of Lord Shiva during the night of Shivaratri. The messengers told him that there was a Lingam at the bottom of the tree. The leaves I dropped fell on the Lingam. His tears, which had shed out of pure sorrow for his family, fell onto the Lingam and washed it and he had fasted all day and all night. Thus, he unconsciously worshiped the Lord.

As the conclusion of the tale the King said that he lived in the abode of the Lord and enjoyed divine bliss for long ages and now he has reborn as Chitrabhanu.

Legends of Mahashivaratri

There are various interesting legends related to the festival of Maha Shivaratri. According to one of the most popular legends, Shivaratri marks the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Some believe that it was on the auspicious night of Shivaratri that Lord Shiva performed the ‘Tandava’, the dance of the primal creation, preservation and destruction. Another popular Shivratri legend stated in Linga Purana states that it was on Shivaratri that Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of a Linga. Hence the day is considered to be extremely auspicious by Shiva devotees and they celebrate it as Mahashivaratri - the grand night of Shiva.

Legend of Shiva Linga

The legend of Shiva Linga or Lingodbhavamurthy is deeply related to Mahashivaratri. The legend narrates the story of vain search by Brahma and Vishnu to discover the Aadi (beginning) and the Antha (end) of Lord Shiva. The legend thus proves the supremacy of Lord Mahadeva over other Hindu Gods and explains why the lingam is believed to be one of the most potent emblems in Hindu ideals. The story is stated in the three of the puranas - the Kurma Purana, the Vayu Purana and Shiva Purana

The Legend

According to Puranas, once the other two of the triads of Hindu Gods, Brahma and Vishnu were fighting over each other’s prowess. Horrified at the intensity of the battle, the other gods asked Shiva to intervene. To make them realize the futility of their fight, Lord Shiva assumed the form of a flaming Linga in between Brahma and Vishnu and challenged both of them by asking them to measure the gigantic Linga (phallic symbol of Lord Shiva).

Awestruck by its magnitude, Brahma and Vishnu decided to find one end each to establish supremacy over the other. Lord Brahma took the form of a swan and went upwards while Lord Vishnu assumed the form of Varaha - a boar and went into the earth towards nether land. Both searched for thousands of miles but neither could find the end.

On his journey upward, Brahma came across Ketaki flower. Exhausted and bewildered with his search to find the uppermost limit of fiery column, Brahma made Ketaki assent to lie that he had seen the top of the column where the flower had previously resided. Accompanied by his accomplice, Brahma confronted Vishnu and asserted that he had indeed discovered the origin of the cosmic column.

At this point, the central part of the pillar split open and Shiva revealed himself in his full glory. Overawed, both Brahma and Vishnu bowed before him accepted lord Shiva’s supremacy. Lord Shiva also explained to Brahma and Vishnu that both of them were born out of him and that the three were then separated out into three different aspects of divinity.

However, Lord Shiva was angry with Brahma for making a false claim. The Lord cursed Brahma that no one would ever pray to him. (This legend explains why there is hardly any Brahma temple of significance in India.) Lord Shiva also punished the Ketaki flower for testifying falsely and banned her from being used as an offering for any worship.

Since it was on the 14th day in the dark fortnight of the month of Phalguna that Shiva first manifested himself in the form of a Linga, the day is extremely auspicious and is celebrated as Mahashivaratri - the grand night of Shiva. To celebrate the occasion, devotees of Lord Shiva fast during the day and pray to the Lord throughout the night. It is said that worshipping of Lord Shiva on Shivaratri bestows one with happiness and prosperity.

Marriage of Shiva and Shakti

The legend of marriage of Shiva and Shakti is one the most important legends related to the festival of Mahashivaratri. The story tells us how Lord Shiva got married a second time to Shakti, his divine consort. According to legend of Shiva and Shakti, the day Lord Shiva got married to Parvati is celebrated as Shivaratri - the Night of Lord Shiva.

The Legend

Legend goes that once Lord Shiva and his wife Sati or Shakti were returning from sage Agastya’s ashram after listening to Ram Katha or story of Ram. On their way through a forest, Shiva saw Lord Rama searching for his wife Sita who had been kidnapped by Ravana, the King of Lanka. Lord Shiva bowed his head in reverence to Lord Rama. Sati was surprised by Lord Shiva’s behavior and inquired why he was paying obeisance to a mere mortal. Shiva informed Sati that Rama was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Sati, however, was not satisfied with the reply and Lord asked her to go and verify the truth for herself.

Using her power to change forms, Sati took the form of Sita appeared before Rama. Lord Rama immediately recognized the true identity of the Goddess and asked, "Devi, why are you alone, where's Shiva?" At this, Sati realized the truth about Lord Ram. But, Sita was like a mother to Lord Shiva and since Sati took the form of Sita her status had changed. From that time, Shiva detached himself from her as a wife. Sati was sad with the change of attitude of Lord Shiva but she stayed on at Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva.

Later, Sati’s father Daksha organised a yagna, but did not invite Sati or Shiva as he had an altercation with Shiva in the court of Brahma. But, Sati who wanted to attend the Yagna, went even though Lord Shiva did not appreciate the idea. To hre great anguish, Daksha ignored her presence and did not even offer Prasad for Shiva. Sati felt humiliated and was struck with profound grief. She jumped into the yagna fire and immolated herself.

Lord Shiva became extremely furious when he heard the news of Sati’s immolation. Carrying the body of Sati, Shiva began to perform Rudra Tandava or the dance of destruction and wiped out the kingdom of Daksha. Everybody was terrified as Shiva’s Tandava had the power to destroy the entire universe. In order to calm Lord Shiva, Vishnu severed Sati's body into 12 pieces and threw them on earth. It is said that wherever the pieces of Shakti’s body fell, there emerged a Shakti Peetha, including the Kamaroopa Kamakhya in Assam and the Vindhyavasini in UP.

Lord Siva was now alone undertook rigorous penance and retired to the Himalayas. Sati took a re-birth as Parvati in the family of God Himalaya. She performed penance to break Shiva’s meditation and win his attention. It is said that Parvati, who found it hard to break Shiva’s meditation seeked help of Kamadeva - the God of Love and Passion. Kaamadeva asked Parvati to dance in front of Shiva. When Parvati danced, Kaamadeva shot his arrow of passion at Shiva breaking his penance. Shiva became extremely infuriated and opening his third eye that reduced Kaamadeva to ashes. It was only after Kamadeva’s wife Rati’s pleading that Lord Shiva agreed to revive Kaamadeva.

Later, Parvati undertook severe penance to win over Shiva. Through her devotion and persuasion by sages devas, Parvati, also known as Uma, was finally able to lure Shiva into marriage and away from asceticism. Their marriage was solemnized a day before Amavasya in the month of Phalgun. This day of union of God Shiva and Parvati is celebrated as Mahashivratri every year.

Another Version of the Legend

According to another version of the legend, Goddess Parvati performed tapas and prayers on the auspicious moonless night of Shivaratri to ward off any evil that may befall her husband. Since then, womenfolk began the custom of praying for the well being of their husbands and sons on Shivaratri day. Unmarried women pray for a husband like Shiva, who is considered to be the ideal husband.

Lord Shiva's Assurance

The legend of Lord Shiva’s assurance explains the popularity of Shivaratri festival amongst the devotees. Besides, it also tells us why we observe fast in the name of the Lord and perform ceremonial baths on a Shivaratri day.

The Legend

Story goes that after creation was complete, Lord Shiva began to live on top of the mount Kailash with his consort Parvati. One day, Goddess Parvati asked Shiva that his devotees perform many rituals to please the Lord, but which one pleases him most. To this, Lord Shiva replied that the 14th night of the new moon, during the month of Phalgun is his favorite day. The day is celebrated as Shivaratri. On this day, devotees observe strict spiritual discipline and worship Shiva in four different forms during each of the four successive three-hour periods of the night. Lord further said that the devotees offer him bel leaves on the day and that those leaves were precious to him than the precious jewels and flowers. Explaining the right way of worshipping to Shiva, the Lord said, devotees should bathe me in the milk during the first period, in curd at the second, in clarified butter in the third and in honey in the fourth and the last period. Lord Shiva further added that next morning devotees must feed the Brahmins first and, only after following the prescribed ritual must he break the fast. Shiva further told Parvati that rituals of Shivaratri could not be compared with any other.

Goddess Parvati became deeply impressed with Lord Shiva’s speech and she narrated it to her friends. Through them the word spread all over the creation. Hence, Shiva devotees began to celebrate Shivaratri by fasting and by performing the ceremonial baths and making an offering of bael leaves.

Shivaratri Rituals

Devotees of Lord Shiva observe the Shivaratri Festival by following the prescribed rituals with sincerity and devotion. All through the day, devotees abstain from eating food and break their fast only the next morning, after the nightlong worship. Ritual baths of Shivalinga in the numerous Shiva temples by Shiva worshipper, mainly women, is another significant feature of Shivratri customs and traditions. Devotees strongly believe that ritual worship of Lord Shiva on the auspicious day of Shivaratri absolves them of past sins and they are blessed with Moksha.

Rituals Observed on a Shivaratri Morning

As a tradition devotees wake up early in the morning of the Mahashivratri day and take a ritual sunrise bath, preferably in the holy waters of river Ganga. They also offer prayers to the Sun God, Vishnu and Shiva as a part of a purification rite observed on all-important Hindu festivals. After wearing fresh new clothes devotees visit the nearest Shiva Temple to give the customary bath to the Shivalinga.

On a Shivratri day, Shiva temples are thronged by devotees, mainly women, who come to perform the traditional Shivalinga pooja and seek blessings from the god. At times there is so much rush in the temples that devotees have to wait for their turn to observe pooja. At their turn for worship, devotees circumambulate the Shivalinga, three or seven times, and then pour water over it. Some also pour milk. Sounds of bell and shouts of ‘Shankarji ki Jai’ or (Hail Shiva) reverberate in the temple premises.

Ritual Bath of Shivalinga

Following the rituals prescribed in the Shiva Purana, every three hours, Shivalingam is given a special bath with milk, yoghurt, honey, sandalwood paste and rose water. Puja, meditation and chanting of ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ accompany the ritual bath. Following the bath, vermilion paste is applied on the linga. Traditionally, leaves of a forest tree Aegle marmelos (bilwa, maredu, wood apple) are used for Shiva puja. Thereafter, Bilwa leaves, which have to be a stalk with three leaves, is kept on top of the Shivalinga. Ber or jujube fruit is a special offering to the god on this day. Beetle leaves are also offered by some. Some also offer bilwa leaves in the belief that the Goddess Lakshmi resides in them. Others believe it is offered for its cooling effects on the hot-tempered deity. Many devotees also decorate the linga with flowers and garlands and offer incense sticks and fruit.

Significance of Puja Items

  • According to the Shiva Purana, there is a special significance of the six essential puja items used in the Shiva worship.
  • Bathing of Shivalinga with water, milk and honey and wood apple or bel leaves added to it, represents purification of the soul.
  • The vermilion paste applied on the linga after the ritual bath represents virtue.
  • Offering of fruits symbolizes longevity and gratification of desires.
  • Burning of incense sticks yields wealth.
  • The lighting of the lamp symbolizes attainment of knowledge.
  • Offering of betel leaves marks satisfaction with worldly pleasures.
All-Night Shiva Worship

Worship of Lord Shiva continues all through the night on Shivaratri Festival. Devotees stay awake all night and spend the night in Shiva temples in worship of Lord Shiva. Singing of hymns and verses in praise and devotion of Lord Shiva besides the intense chanting of Om Namah Shivay, the mantra that is said free people from all their sins, continue through the night on Shivaratri.

Special worship of Shiva by priests continues through the nightlong prayer vigil. During this ritual worship, Lord Shiva is offered special food made from the fruits of the season, root vegetables and coconuts. Those observing the Shivaratri Fast break their fast the next morning by consuming the prasad offered to Shiva.


Shivaratri Pooja

Shivaratri Pooja has been given tremendous significance in Hindu mythology. It is said that ritual worship of Lord Shiva on a Shivaratri day pleases Lord Shiva the most. Devotees further believe that by pleasing Lord Shankara on the auspicious Shivaratri day, a person is absolved of past sins and is blessed with Moksha or salvation.

Merits of Shivaratri Puja

According to Shiva Purana, sincere worship of Lord Shiva yields merits including spiritual growth for the devotees. It also provides extensive details on the right way to perform Shivratri Puja.

Shiva Purana further says that performing abhisheka of Shiva Linga with six different dravyas including milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water while chanting Sri Rudram, Chamakam and Dasa Shanthi pleases Lord Shiva the most. According to the mythology, each of these dravya used in the abhisheka blesses a unique quality:

  • Milk is for the blessing of purity and piousness.
  • Yogurt is for prosperity and progeny.
  • Honey is for sweet speech.
  • Ghee is for victory.
  • Sugar is for happiness.
  • Water is for purity.
Besides, worship of Lord Shiva on Shivratri is also considered to be extremely beneficial for women. While, married women pray to Shiva for the well being of their husbands and sons, unmarried women pray for a husband like Shiva, who is considered to be the ideal husband.

Getting Ready for Shivratri Puja

To perform the worship of Lord Shiva on Shivratri, devotees wake up early and take a ritual bath, preferably in the holy waters of river Ganga. This is followed by worship to Sun God, Vishnu and Shiva in accordance with the purification rite observed on all-important Hindu festivals. Devotees then wear fresh new clothes and pay a visit to the nearest Shiva temple. As a tradition, devotees observe a fast on a Shivaratri day. Some do not consume even a drop of water.

Performing Maha Shivaratri Pooja

Following the method prescribed in Shiva Purana, priests perform ritual puja of Shiva Linga every three hours all through the day and night of Shivaratri Festival. During this pooja, chants of Om Namah Shivaya and sounds of bells reverberate in the temple. Following the bath with milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water that helps in the purification of the soul a vermilion paste is applied on the Linga as it represents virtue. These six items form an indispensable part of Shivaratri, be it a simple ceremony at home or grand temple worship

After this, Bilwa leaves, which have to be a stalk with three leaves, is kept on top of the Shivalinga to cool the hot-tempered deity. Ber or jujube fruit is also offered to Lord Shiva, as it is symbolic of longevity and gratification of desires. Some devotees also offer the auspicious betel leaves to Lord Shiva marking satisfaction with worldly pleasures. Garlanding of Linga with flowers and garlands is also a part of the ritual Shivaratri Puja. Devotees also burn incense sticks as is said to yield wealth. Many also light lamps to symbolize attainment of knowledge. It is said that by offering water, hugging the Linga, lighting the diya and incense and ringing the temple bells, devotees call into focus all their senses, making them acutely aware of themselves and the universe to which they belong.

This ritual worship of Lord Shiva continues through the day and night of Shivaratri. Devotees stay awake and spent the night in Shiva temples by chanting ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ and singing hymns and verses in praise of Lord Shankar. Devotees observing vrat on Shivaratri break it only the next morning by partaking prasad offered to Lord Shiva


Significance of Shivratri

Festival of Mahashivaratri is the most important festival for the millions of devotees of Lord Shiva. The festival has been accorded lot of significance in Hindu mythology. It says that a devotee who performs sincere worship of Lord Shiva on the auspicious day of Shivratri is absolved of sins and attains moksha.

Significance of Shivaratri in Hinduism

Festival of Mahashivaratri has tremendous significance in Hinduism. According to sacred scriptures, ritual worship of Lord Shiva on Shivratri festival that falls on the 14th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Phalgun pleases Lord Shiva the most. This fact is said to have been declared by Lord Shiva himself, when his consort Parvati asked him as to which ritual performed by his devotees pleases him the most.

Even till date, devotees of Lord Shiva perform the ritual worship of Shivratri with care and devotion. They observe day and nigh fast and give sacred bath to Shiva Linga with honey, milk, water etc. Hindus consider it extremely auspicious to worship Lord Shiva on a Shivaratri as it is believed that worship of Lord Shiva with devotion and sincerity absolves a devotee of past sins. The devotee reaches the abode of Lord Shanker and lives there happily. He is also liberated from the cycle of birth and death and attains moksha or salvation.

Significance of Shivaratri for Women

Mahashivratri Festival is also considered to be an extremely significant festival by women. Married and unmarried women observe fast and perform Shiva Puja with sincerity to appease Goddess Parvati who is also regarded as ‘Gaura’ - one who bestows marital bliss and long and prosperous married life. Unmarried women also pray for a husband like Lord Shiva who is regarded as the ideal husband.

The Festivity

People observe a strict fast on this day. Some devotees do not even take a drop of water and they keep vigil all night. The Shiva Lingam is worshipped throughout the night by washing it every three hours with milk, curd, honey, rose water, etc., whilst the chanting of the Mantra "Om Namah Shivaya" continues. Offerings of Bael leaves are made to the Lingam as Bael leaves are considered very sacred and it is said that Goddess Lakshmi resides in them.

Hymns in praise of Lord Shiva, such as the "Shiva Mahimna Stotra" of Pushpadanta or Ravana's "Shiva Tandava Stotra" are sung with great fervour and devotion. People repeat the 'Panchakshara' Mantra, "Om Namah Shivaya". He, who utters the names of Shiva during Shivratri, with perfect devotion and concentration, is freed from all sins. He reaches the abode of Shiva and lives there happily. He is liberated from the wheel of births and deaths. Many pilgrims flock to the places where there are Shiva temples.

Prabhalu

'Prabhalu' - a specially decorated arches with Lord Siva's replicas with bamboo sticks and new clothes wil be taken in huge procession.Before the Festival begins,people will being very busy in making these Prabhalu in different models,heights and special decorations.

The 'Prabhalu' fete is on the lines of the one held at Kotappakonda in Guntur district.People carry to this place from the near by villages.This is celebrated in a grandway with the participation of thousands of people from every nook and corner of the Village.The main attraction is the height of the Prabhalu .One should not miss to witness the way the procession is taken out.Lakhs of rupees worth crackers would be fired by the large number of devotees.Dance troops and songs are also held.

In the villages,Prabhalu is the main procession and they start by seeing the good periodwith all other prabhas together.We can also find electric Prabhalu too.A person sitting in the vehicle announces the name of the street to which the Prabha belongs.When the Prabhalu starts coming from the street crossing the houses .People & Women gets ready with the water & starts to pour a water contained in a metal vase of a large sized neck .After this they break the coconut & reverse the pot and light the camphor.Like this all the devotees will be doing.

During Prabhalu Uregimpu festival,Prabhalu crosses through agricultural fields,coconut fields.While crossing agricultural fields devotees bring prabhalu crossing the ditches,Thorn bunches (Mulla Kanchelu)etc.from different villages.Devotees don't care the heavy weight carrying prabhalu,people believe that all the persons would not get a chance to carry prabhalu,people shouild do punyam to carry those prabhalu.

While crossing the agricultural fields even the vilagers would not face any problem if their fields gets spoiled (While crossing the prabhalu).A part from that people believe that they would get Golden Crop (Bangaru Panta even if their fields gets spoiled).People with their families comes to se this Prabhalu festival by travelling in bullock carts (Goodu bandlu).

All the devotees reach the temple by carrying from villages and street on the whole night.The night is filled with Prabhalu procession.

Now-a-days ,people do fasting and break the fast in the evening by performing pooja and having little breakfast and vigil the night by seeing the Devotional Movies telecasted in the Television.


Note:
On this auspicious Occasion,I wish  you all of my followers ,Friends ,Family members ,Blog readers and each & every one with a "Happy Maha Shivaratri"