Friday, April 22, 2011

Ravva Bakshaalu

This Ravva Bakshaalu was known to be from one of my friend Swapna.She gave me this item as a prasadam on her 9th Thursday Udyapanam to Sri Shiridi Sai Baba.It is first time ,I came to know about this recipe and was waiting for the day to try.So I tried this item yesterday .I offered the Semiya Kesari &; Ravva Bakshaalu for the Naivedyam.Here goes the recipe.


For the Dough

  • Wheat flour/Godhuma Pindi-3cups
  • Salt-1/2 tbsp
  • Oil- 1/4cup
  • Water to make a dough
For Stuffing:
  • Sooji/Bombay Ravva-2 1/2 cups
  • Salt-1tbsp
  • Water-3 cups or add 1 more cup depends on consistency
  • Oil-1/2 tbsp
  • Green chillies-2 no chopped
  • Ginger-1/2 " chopped
  • Cumin seeds-1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves-few
  • Red chillipowder-1/2 tsp
  • Oil-to cook 
  • Take a bowl ,mix the wheat flour ,salt with enough water and Oil.
  • Pour little oil in to the dough and keep covering for atleast 30 minutes.
  • This makes dough very soft and pilable.
  • Now take a pan or vessel,add oil and heat it.
  • Add water,green chilies,salt,Cumin seeds,red chilipowder,ginger pieces & curry leaves.
  • Allow to boil and now simmer the gas and slowly pour the Sooji Ravva and keep on stirring with the Spoon.
  • By Stirring continuously,we can avoid to form lumps.
  • Cook till becomes closer and look likes Upma.
  • Turn off the gas and allow this mixture to cool down.Make balls from it and keep aside.
  • Mean while ,take a medium size ball from the dough and make a small circle shaped to fill the mixture.
  • Fill the ball and cover it.
  • Now apply oil and roll it like a chapathi by applying oil.
  • Roll it very carefully applying very light pressure ,if using the rolling pin.
  • Make the Chapathi by applying the oil and pressing with the palm.
  • Prepare all the Chapathis by filling the mixture.
  • Heat the Tava,cook the prepared Chapathi by adding oil .
  • Turn it and cook on both sides,Keeping the gas in a low flame.
  • Remove from the Heat and Serve it.

  • Fill the Chapathi with the enough mixture only;Cover the edges completely and roll it.
  • Observe the filing n ot to come out of the dough while rolling it and cooking on Tava too while turning.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Annamacharya Song

I learned this song from my Swamyji "Sri Swamy Ramanananda" garu who lives at a place called "Pileru" near by Tirupati,Chittoor district,Andhra Pradesh.I recorded this song yesterday evening when he sang for me and my boy.

Actually this song was sung by Sri Annamacharya to Lord Venkateswara as inviting him to his home for Feast.After completion of singing,God appeared to  Sri Annamacharya's home and had his feast.

So friends ,As I want to share my every interest in my blog ,With the help Of Swamy Ji ,I am posting it for all of you.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Stuffed Bittergourd Fry

  • Bittergourd-3 no large or medium
  • Sour Buttermilk-1 cup
  • Salt-little
  • Tamarind-1/2 "
  • Turmeric-pinch
  • Oil for frying
 Stuffing Powder:
  • Whole Dhaniya-1tbsp
  • Red chillies or Red ChilliPowder-3no or 1/2 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Peanuts-1/4 cup
  • Garlic Pods-1 or two 
  • Oil-1tbsp
  • Cumin seeds-1/2tsp
  • Mustard seeds-1/2tsp
  • Chanadal-1/2tsp
  • Curry leaves-few
  • Clean the Bittergourds with water.
  • Do not peel it and (cut in to two halves is optional) .
  • Cook this bittergourds in a vessel pouring the sour buttermilk ,little salt ,turmeric & tamarind.
  • Let it cook well and keep it aside.
  • Meanwhile heat a pan and dry roast all the above stuffing ingredients avoiding the garlic pods.
  • Cool down and make a powder in the mixy jar by adding the garlic pods; and keep it aside.
  • Now take the cooked bittergourds and cut a slit in to the belly of the karela.
  • Fill the belly of the karela with stuffing  and you can tuck the Karela with the thread so that the stuffing does not falls out.
  • Heat the pan with oil for the seasoning.
  • Add the Mustard seeds,Cumin seeds,chanadal,when they splutters add the curry leaves and turn of the heat.Keep this aside.
  • In the same pan ,add oil for frying the stuffed karelas.
  • Fry them well untill it changes its color.
  • Turn them in the middle of the cook and takecare not to blacken or burn them.
  • Remove it and take it on plate remove the thread if tied so and add the seasoning.
  • Sprinkle few tablespoons of the reamining stuffing powder and serve it along with rice.
  • Cook the karelas with the sufficient amount of buttermilk or along with the water by adding little salt,turmeric and tamarind.
  • Do not over fill the belly of the Karelas with the stuffing powder.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Happy Sri Rama Navami

Let us pray sacred Mantras ,in the praise of eternal savior:
"Om Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram"

Divya's Cooking Journey wishes you all be accompanied with auspiciousness and May Lord Ram bless us all on Ram Navami & Always.

Sri Ram Navami or Sri Rama Jayanti

Ram Navami is a popular Hindu festival. It is celebrated on the ninth day (Navami) of the Chaitra month of Hindu lunar year in 'Shukla paksha' or waxing moon. This festival is celebrated in order to commemorate the birth of Marayada Purshottam Ram, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. This day also known as Sri Rama Navami, marks the end of nine-day Chaitra-Navratri celebrations. The festival of Ram Navami is held in high regard not only by the people in India but also by the Hindu community living in the other parts of the world. The festival is celebrated with immense joy and enthusiasm.

Ramnavami occurs in the month of March/April. Celebrations begin with a prayer to the Sun early in the morning. At midday, when Lord Rama is supposed to have been born, a special prayer is performed.

Surya - The Sun was recognised as the source of light and heat even in ancient times. The importance of the Sun was much more in the higher latitudes from where the Aryans are supposed to have migrated into India. Many royal dynasties portrayed symbols of virility like the Sun, Eagle, Lion etc. as their progenitor. Rama's dynasty considered them to have descended from the Sun. This could have led to the tagging on, of Rama's birthday to a festival devoted to the sun.

On the face of it Sri-Ramnavmi appears to be just a festival commemorating the reign of a king who was later deified. But even behind present-day traditions there are clues, which unmistakably point to the origin of Ramnavmi as lying beyond the Ramayana story.
Sri Ramnavami occurs at the beginning of summer when the sun has started moving nearer to the northern hemisphere. The Sun is considered to be the progenitor of Rama's dynasty, which is called the Sun dynasty (Raghukula or Raghuvamsa, Raghu means Sun and Kula or Vamsa mean familial descendant). Rama is also known as Raghunatha, Raghupati, Raghavendra etc. That all these names begin with the prefix Raghu is also suggestive of some link with Sun worship. The hour chosen for the observance of the lord's birth is that when the sun is overhead and is at its maximum brilliance. In some Hindu sects, prayers on Ramnavami day start not with an invocation to Rama but to Surya (sun). Again the syllable Ra is used in the word to describe the sun and brilliance in many languages. In Sanskrit, Ravi and Ravindra mean Sun.

Significantly, the ancient Egyptians termed the sun as Amon Ra or simply as "Ra". In Latin the syllable Ra is used to connote light. For example, we have Radiance which emission of light, or Radium, which means any substance emitting light or brilliance. The common element is the syllable Ra that in many languages is used to derive words for describing Sun or light.

The occurrence of this syllable in most names used for Rama along with other clues is strongly suggestive that the festival Ramnavami antedates the R- ayana and it must have originated much before the Ramayana, as a 'Sun-festival' for invoking the Sun who was recognised as the source of light and heat even in ancient times. The importance of the Sun was much more in the higher latitudes from where the Aryans are supposed to have migrated into India. 

There is some link between Lord Rama and Sun Worship. The Sun is considered to be the progenitor of Rama's dynasty, which is called the Sun dynasty (Raghukula or Raghuvamsa, Raghu means Sun and Kula or Vamsa mean familial descendant). Rama is also known as Raghunatha, Raghupati, and Raghavendra etc. That all these names begin with the prefix Raghu is also suggestive of some link with Sun worship. The hour chosen for the observance of the lord's birth is that when the sun is overhead and is at its maximum brilliance. Significantly, the ancient Egyptians termed the sun as Amon Ra or simply as "Ra". In Latin the syllable Ra is used to connote light. For example, we have Radiance which emission of light, or Radium, which means any substance emitting light or brilliance. The common element is the syllable Ra that in many languages is used to derive words for describing Sun or light.

Origin Of Rama Navami
According to the great epic Ramayana, once upon a time there lived a King named Dasarath, then king of Ayodhya, who had three wives named Kaushalya, Sumithra and Kaikeyi. As even long after his marriages, Dasarath was not blessed with a child, this has become a question of worry for him. Even the people of Ayodhya were disheartened because they had not heir to their kingdom. At this stage, Rishi Vasistha suggests Dasarath to perform Puthra Kamesti Yagna, through which he can have a desired child. 

Soon King Dasharath agreed to do the Yagya and headed to Maharshi Rushya Shrunga's ashram, to get him for performing the yagya. Maharshi agreed and accompanied Dasharath to Ayodhya to solemnize the perform Puthra Kamesti Yagna. As the result of yagna, Yagneshwar appeared and hands Dasarath a bowl of kheer and asked him to feed this to his three wives. Dasarath did the same. He gave one half of the kheer to his elder wife Kausalya, and another half to his younger wife Kaikeyi. These two gave one half each of their kheer to Sumithra.

After few days all the three Queens conceived Dasratha's child. On the ninth day (Navami) of Chaithra Masa (first month in Hindu calendar), at noon Kaushlya gave birth to Lord Sri Ram, Kaikeyi gave birth to Bharath, and Sumithra gave birth to twins, Lakshman and Shatrughan. It was the day of joyous celebrations in Ayodhya. This day since then is celebrated as an auspicious occasion by the devotees.

History Of Ramnavami 

Ram Navami is one of the most ancient festivals celebrated in India. It is said that the date of Ram Navami can be traced back to the pre-christian era, as Hinduism is the oldest religion of the world. The reference of Ramnavami can also be found in the Kalika puran. It is said in the earlier times, when caste system was prevalent in India; Ramnavami was one of the few festivals that the lower castes (shudras) were allowed to celebrate. In Hindu religion, it is considered to one of the five major sacred festivals and it is said that, properly observing this fast leads to the attainment of salvation.

Legends of Ram Navami

Rama is amongst the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu and also one of the two most popular avatars, along with Lord Krishna. Consequently, Rama Navami is widely celebrated across India. Lord Rama is considered to be the epitome of perfection, the uttama purusha, fulfilling all his duties towards both family and subjects.

It is believed that listening to the story of Rama cleanses the soul. Meditating on the noble Rama and chanting his name is believed to ease the pains of life and lead one to moksha, or liberation. It is also common practice to chant the name of Rama while rocking babies to sleep. The public worship starts from the early morning on the auspicious day of Ram Navami. People keep a fast throughout the day, breaking it only at midnight with fruit. In some parts of India, public gatherings called satsangs are organized to commemorate the birth of Rama. People of all castes and creeds participate in these gatherings to listen to the stories and their explanations offered by the learned. 

Birth Of Lord Rama

The country of Kosal was situated on the banks of the river Sharayu. During the reign of king Dasarath, Ayodhya reached a period of great prosperity. However, Dasarath faced a big problem - he had no children. Therefore, he decided to perform a sacrifice known as “ashvamedh”, or horse-sacrifice. Elaborate and difficult rituals had to be observed. A very holy man, rishi Rishyashring, was chosen to conduct the sacrifice with the utmost accuracy. The performance of this sacrifice was a great event in Ayodhya. At the end, Rishyashring recited a mantra and made an offering to the fire. Then the gods, Gandharvas, Siddhas, and Rishis present arid began to pray to Lord Brahma, the Creator of Hindu Trinity.

At that time, Ravana (king of Lanka) was terrorizing the people, and all were longing for liberation from his menace. Ravana was invincible, because Lord Brahma gave him a boon according to which, he would never die at the hands of gods, or Gandharvas, Or Yakshas (demigods) or demons. As he was not afraid of humankind, he did not care to include men in the list of his potential slayers. Therefore, Brahmadev declared that Ravan would die at the hands of a man. Then the gods went to Vishnu with the request, “Dasarath is a glorious king. Please, take birth in the wombs of his three queens in four different degrees of your divinity.”

When Dasarath’s sacrifice ended, a shining figure appeared over the sacrificial homa kund, and offered the king a divine beverage called “payasam” to be given to his queens Kausalya, Kaikayi, and Sumitra. In due time, Kausalya gave birth to Rama, Kaikayi to Bharat and Sumitra to Laxman and Shatrugna. Rama was born at noon of the bright ninth day of Chaitra. He was believed to be the embodiment of half degree of Vishnu’s divinity, (Ardha Ounsh). His birth is celebrated as Ram Navami, with pomp and geity.

Ram Navami Rituals

This festival is observed in order to celebrate the birth of Marayada Purshottam Ram, considered to be a form of Lord Vishnu, one of the prime deities of Hindu trio. It is said that, Lord Rama is not only god but also the ideal figure for a human being. He is considered to be an ideal son, a doting husband, a mighty king, a wonderful brother and a great father. On the occasion of Ramnavami, mot only the people in India but also the Hindu community living in the other parts of the world celebrate this great day with immense joy and fervor. Read on, if you want to explore about the traditional and rituals of this festival.

Rama Navami Traditions & Customs

On the occasion of Ram Navami, all the devotees of Lord Rama worship to appease him. All the members of the family worship together, in order to celebrate the auspicious birthday of Lord Rama. The Pooja begins with the establishment of the idols or pictures of Lord Rama, Laxmana, Sita and Hanuman. All of these Gods and Goddess are then welcomed by lighting diyas and incense sticks. Then they are worshipped with the auspicious pooja materials like roli, aipun, rice, water, flowers, bell and conch and are also offered scrumptious sweets. At last, an aarti is performed and all the devotees in the Pooja are sprinkled with holy water as a sign of blessing and auspiciousness from God. The youngest female member of the family applies teeka to all the male members of the family. At the last the prasad is distributed to all the devotees.

Bhajans are also an important ritual of Ram Navami Pooja. The devotees of Lord Rama make the entire atmosphere pious by singing the bhajans and choupais of Ramcharit Manas. A holy priest narrates the story of Ran Janama (Lord Rama's birth) to all the devotees who observe fast on this day. Continuous chanting of holy mantras and Ramnam (Ram's name) makes the occasion highly religious as well as spiritual.

The followers of Lord Rama also observe a whole-day fast on the festival of Ram Navami. Many of the devotees go for a fast on satvik food i.e. holy food without salt and other adulterated materials. However many of them also observe a waterless fast (nirjal vrat). Those who prefer to have satvik food can have potatoes made in any form without haldi (turmeric), garlic, ginger or onion. Sendha namak (rock salt) is allowed for usage in fast. While on a fast, the person can also eat curd, milk, tea, coffee, fruits and root vegetables. The Ram Navami fast is opened on midnight if one has observed a waterless fast (nirjal vrat).

Rath Yatra
 On the occasion of Ram Navami, a Rath Yatra or a chariot procession is also taken out in Ayodhya, the birth place of Ram. The Ram Rath Yatra also consists of idols of Sita, Laxman and Hanuman. The Rath Yatra is taken out by many of the temples in the city and is followed with the chanting of Ram Nama ( Rama's holy name) by the devotees. Many foreigners who are seeking spiritual enlightenment also attend this chariot procession as it is said to bring spiritual enlightenment and good luck forever in life.

Significance of Ram Navami

Devotees perform elaborate pujas and chant the name of Rama for whole day. Temples of Rama are specially decorated and satsangs and bhajan sessions are organized in most of the temples, through the day. Discourse on the Ramayana, are recited by a pundit or a professional story-teller on this day. At some places of India, it usually lasts nine days, beginning on Ugadi and ending on Rama Navami. A skilled story-teller who can liven up the event by weaving in contemporary events attracts massive crowds. Thus, people of India celebrate Ram Navami with great joy and devotion.

Since Rama is also one of the most sung-about deities in Indian classical music and literature, week-long (and sometimes, month-long) musical programs are also organized at some places. Sacred places associated with Rama, like Ayodhya, Ujjain and Rameshwaram, draw thousands of devotees on this festival of Ram Navami. In Rameshwaram, people take a ritual bath in the sea before worshipping at the Ramanathaswamy temple. Many places in North India host fairs in connection with the festival, culminating in spectacular fireworks on Rama Navami.


Sri Ram Navami or Sri Rama Navratras is a grand event in three Sri Ram Temples in India – Ayodhya Sri Ram Temple in Uttar Pradesh, Bhadrachalam Sri Sita Ramachandra Swamy Temple in Andhra Pradesh, and Rameshwaram Temple in Tamil Nadu. Sree Sitarama Kalyanam or the ceremonial wedding celebrations of divine couple Sri Ram and Seeta Devi in Bhadrachalam temple attracts a large number of devotees.
Sri Rama Navaratri utsavam also coincides with Vasant Navratri or Chaitra Navratri dedicated to Goddess Shakti or Durga

The celebrations of Rama Navami start with the worship of Sun God. On the day, people wake up early in the morning, take bath and pay honors to Sun God. Thereafter, they would chant mantras of Lord Rama and offers fruits and flowers to the deity. The devotees of Lord Rama would observe a whole-day fast on the festival, which they would break only in the midnight, by eating a fruit. In many parts of India, satsangs are organized by cultural committees to commemorate the birth of Lord Rama. The congregation of the devotees would sing bhajans, chant mantras in the praise of the God and listen to the legendary stories. 

As a part of the celebrations, people would keep their home clean and decorate it beautifully. In the households where pujas are conducted, the pictures of Lord Rama, his wife Sita and brother Lakshman are hung. The devotees would offer flowers, burn dhoop and incense sticks. A thali used for the performance of the pooja would typically contain prasad and other items necessary for the ritual, including roli (sacred tilak), rice, lota (container filled with water), flowers, a bell, earthen lamp or deep and a conch. Everyone in a family takes part in the puja, which is conducted by the elderly member of the family. While worshipping the deity, songs are sung. When the puja is over, prasad is distributed among all the people gathered for the worship of Lord Rama. 

In many parts of India, typically South India, small idols of Lord Rama and Sita are worshipped in the households, which are take to a procession on the streets, in the evening. In many temples, Kalyanam' (a ceremonial wedding) is performed by the temple priests. Panakam, a sweet drink prepared by mixing jaggery with ginger and pepper, is a specialty of Ram Navami in southern parts of India. The dish is prepared as a prasad. It is first offered to the deity, and then distributed amongst the devotees. When the idols of the deity are taken to a procession, the devotees often play with water and colors, to mark the birth of the God.


Every Festival do not complete by preparing with some variety of dish either it is sweet or hot ;offering to the Lord and partaking with the friends & Family members.So for the Sri Rama Navami Festival,Paanakam ,Vadapappu & Chalimidi are the special items prepared in every South Indian Family. On this day, every temple distribute these three varities to the devotees as a Prasadam.

Hindhus normally perform Kalyanotsavam (Marriage Celebration) with small idols/Murtis of Lord Rama & Sita in their houses & at the end of the day the deity is taken to a procession on the streets.People from the houses comes out to see and some may perform Aarti to the deity.Elders and youngers participate to carry the deity and  move to the streets by singing songs and doing Bhajans.

I like very much this festival Celebartions  ,at Vijayawada  Kothagullu Temple.People come from farway places too to see the Rama & Sita Kalyanam.The priest explains the story of the Lord and after the Kalyanam  & the Talambralu is completed devotees comes forward to pray and have blessings from the Lord.Some gifts also given to the deities on this Kalyanotsavam Occasion like Clothes,Money etc.

Volunteers on this day will be being busy in distributing the three prasadams in every temple and streets.As being the summer ;the paanakam makes people good taste to get releif from their thirst and it also acts as  an energetic drink to reduce body heat.Along with the prasadam ,people also get some handfans also to get air.

So friends,Lets celebrate & enjoy the Sri Rama Navami festival with the Three special items.

Vadapappu (Soaked Split Yellow Moong dal)

  • Slpit yellow Moong Dal-1 cup
  • Green chilies -1no crushed or chopped
  • Red chillipowder-1/2 tsp or adjust to your spice level
  • Salt to taste
  • Raw Mango pieces-2tbsp
  • Grated Coconut-2 to 3tbsp
  • Lemon Juice-1tbsp
  • Coriander -few optional
  • Soak the Yellow Moong Dal in the water for half an hour.
  • Drain all the water ,take the Moong dal in to a bowl and mix all the above ingredients.
  • This is eaten raw along with Chalimidi and it is not cooked.
(Note: This Vadapappu can also be prepared very simple by anytime for the Pooja in the home without mixing all the above ingredients only with the Soaked Moong Dal. Cover the Pesarappu bowl with a lid inorder to become dry)

Paanakam Ingredients:
  • Water-5cups
  • Jaggery-5cups Chopped
  • Pepper Powder-1tsp
  • Elachi - 1/4 tsp
  • Mix the Jaggery and water,Let the Jaggery dissolve completely in the water.
  • Filter the water,add the Elachi & pepper powder.
  • Keep the Paanakam water in the Refrigerator or add ice cubes to it.
  • Yummy..Yummy  Paanakam is ready !!
(Note:If you dont have Ice cubes or Fridge ,cover the Jaggery water Vessel with the wet cloth ,so that it retains the Coldness)

Chalimidi (Pacchi Chalimidi) Ingredients:
  • Rice flour-1 cup
  • Jaggery or Sugar-1/2cup
  • Grated coconut -2 t0 3tbsp (Optional)
  • Elachi powder-1/2tsp
  • Water to make dough
  • Take a bowl add tge rice flour,Jaggery or sugar and the elachi powder and mix them all by adding 1 to tsp of water to make a soft dough.
  • Chalimidi is ready !!
(Note:Cover with a lid once the Chalimidi is done,otherwise it becomes dry & alternatively you may also prepare Paakam Chalimidi also)

Once you have prepared all these items ,offer to the Lord and have the Prasadam.

Paakam Chalimidi

 Paakam Chalimidi is mainly prepared in India mainly for some occasions like Mariage, Baby Shower Functions and it is a traditional sweet item also to some families as they cook it before day and says to sleep in the home for the Night and given to the daughters in the form of small balls after the Marriage while sending to their Mother-in -Law's home and also followed to continue this way when the daughter is blessed with a Baby and returning to their home with a baby .

For the sankranti Festival,this is prepared and fried in the oil to make Ariselu.


  • Rice -1cup
  • Grated Jaggery/Sugar-1cup
  • Coconut pieces/Grated coconut-1cup
  • Poppy Seeds-4tbsp
  • Ghee -4tbsp
  • Elachipowder-1tbsp
  • Soak the rice in water for 2hrs.Drain all the water and grind finely.
  • Sieve to get very fine rice flour.
  • Fry the poppy seeds without ghee until turns to light brown with nice aroma.
  • Fry coconut pieces with a little ghee until they turn to light brown color.
  • Now take a vessel ,add sugar/Jaggery ,add little water to cover the jaggery/sugar and make a thick syrup.
  • To test this syrup,take a little syrup and drop in water ,it should form like a ball.
  • If you make ball out of taht from water ,this is called thick syrup (Mudarapaakam)
  • Off the stove and add the wet rice flour little by little while mixing thoroughly to avoid lumps.Then add the remained ghee,coconut pieces,fried poppy seeds and the Elachi powder.

  • Mix thoroughly and cover with lid.
  • When it will be cool down,make ballsand store ina dry container .

  • You can store for 1 month.
  • If you press and deep fry them either in Oil/Ghee makes you ariselu.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sri Khara Nama Samvatsaram

Hi Friends,Hope you have celebrated this Festival well & have enjoyed a lot .Me too celebrated this Ugadi Festival a lot with my Family Members .I have done Pooja and prayed the God and offered few varieties of prasadam .The main dish of the day is "Ugadi Pachadi" and Semiya Kesari &; Maamidikaya Pindi Pulihora.After offering the Naivedyam to the Lord,when I distributed the Ugadi Pachadi to my son,he changed his face expression as soon as he tasted .He liked and asked the ingredients conatined in it;asking me to prepare again for next time .Soon I replied need to wait for the Next year Ugadi Festival!!

So friends ,here goes the snaps of Rangoli design & my small Pooja platform.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ugadi Subhakanshalu!!

Divya's Cooking Journey Wishes all of my Family Members , Friends,Blog Followers,Visitors,each & every one With   A Very Happy Ugadi & A great Year ahead!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Ugadi Festival

Ugadi 2011 (Yugadi 2011) is the Telugu New year and Kannada New year. Ugadi 2011 date is April 4th 2011, Monday. Ugadi 2011 marks the beginning of Sri Khara nama Samvatsara in Hindu Panchangam.

The New year festival or Ugadi comes close on the heels of Holi. While the strong colors of Holi start fading away, the freshness of spring lingers on with sprightliness all around. The flame of the forest (trees with bright red flowers that blossom during holi) are in full bloom signifying an affluent season.It is believed that the creator of the Hindu pantheon Lord Brahma started creation on this day - Chaitra suddha padhyami or the Ugadi day. Also the great Indian Mathematician Bhaskaracharya's calculations proclaimed the Ugadi day from the sunrise on as the beginning of the new year, new month and new day. The onset of spring also marks a beginning of new life with plants (barren until now) acquiring new life, shoots and leaves. Spring is considered the first season of the year hence also heralding a new year and a new beginning. The vibrancy of life and verdent fields, meadows full of colorful blossoms signifies growth, prosperity and well-being.

With the coming of Ugadi, the naturally perfumed jasmines (mallepulu) spread a sweet fragrance which is perhaps unmatched by any other in nature's own creation! While large garlands of jasmine are offered to Gods in homes and temples, jasmine flowers woven in clusters adorn the braids of women.

Predictions of the Year :

Ugadi marks the beginning of a new Hindu lunar calendar with a change in the moon's orbit. It is a day when mantras are chanted and predictions made for the new year. Traditionally, the panchangasravanam or listening to the yearly calendar was done at the temples or at the Town square but with the onset of modern technology, one can get to hear the priest-scholar on television sets right in one's living room.

It is a season for raw mangoes spreading its aroma in the air and the fully blossomed neem tree that makes the air healthy. Also, jaggery made with fresh crop of sugarcane adds a renewed flavor to the typical dishes associated with Ugadi. "Ugadi pachchadi" is one such dish that has become synonymous with Ugadi. It is made of new jaggery, raw mango pieces and neem flowers and new tanarind which truly reflect life - a combination of sweet, sour and bitter tastes!

Symbolic eating of "Pachhadi"The Kannada, Telugu and the Konkani diaspora in Karnataka and Kerala,people celebrate the festival with great fanfare; gatherings of the extended family and a sumptuous feast are 'de rigueur'. The day, however, begins with ritual showers (oil bath) followed by prayers, and then the eating of a specific mixture of six tastes (షడ్రుచులు), called Ugadi Pachhadi (ఉగాది పచ్చడి) in Telugu and Bevu-Bella( ಬೇವು-ಬೆಲ್ಲ) in Kannada, symbolizes the fact that life is a mixture of different experiences (sadness, happiness, anger, fear, disgust, surprise) , which should be accepted together and with equanimity.

The special mixture consists of:

Neem Buds/Flowers for bitterness
Raw Mango for tang
Tamarind Juice for sourness
Green Chilli/Pepper for heat
Jaggery  for sweetness
Pinch of Salt for saltiness

Preparing for the Occasion :

Preparations for the festival begin a week ahead. Houses are given a thorough wash. Shopping for new clothes and buying other items that go with the requirements of the festival are done with a lot of excitement.

Ugadi is celebrated with festive fervor in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. While it is called Ugadi in A.P. and Karnataka, in Maharashtra it is known as "Gudipadava". On Ugadi day, people wake up before the break of dawn and take a head bath after which they decorate the entrance of their houses with fresh mango leaves. The significance of tying mango leaves relates to a legend. It is said that Kartik (or Subramanya or Kumara Swamy) and Ganesha, the two sons of Lord Siva and Parvathi were very fond of mangoes. As the legend goes Kartik exhorted people to tie green mango leaves to the doorway signifying a good crop and general well-being.

It is noteworthy that we use mango leaves and coconuts (as in a Kalasam, to initiate any pooja) only on auspicious occasions to propitiate gods. People also splash fresh cow dung water on the ground in front of their house and draw colorful floral designs. This is a common sight in every household. People perform the ritualistic worship to God invoking his blessings before they start off with the new year. They pray for their health, wealth and prosperity and success in business too. Ugadi is also the most auspicious time to start new ventures.

Special dishes:

The celebration of Ugadi is marked by religious zeal and social merriment. Special dishes are prepared for the occasion.  Eatables such as "Pulihora", "Bobbatlu or Bhakshalu/Holigey" -prepared on Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.It consists of a filling (Bengal gram and jaggery/sugar boiled and made in to a paste) stuffed in a flat roti like bread. It is usually eaten hot/cold with ghee or milk topping or coconut milk at some places of Karnataka and preparations made with raw mango go well with the occasion. The Maharashtrians make "puran poli" or sweet rotis.

Season For Pickles :

With the raw mango available in abundance only during the two months (of April/May), people in Andhra Pradesh make good use of mangoes to last them until the next season. They pickle the mangoes with salt, powdered mustard and powdered dry red chilli and a lot of oil to float over the mangoes. This preparation is called "avakai" and lasts for a whole year.

Mangoes and summer season go hand in hand. Ugadi thus marks the beginning of the hot season which coincides with the school vacations. For the young ones, therefore, Ugadi is characterised by new clothes, sumptuous food and revelling. The air is filled with joy, enthusiasm and gaiety. Some people participate in social community gatherings and enjoy a tranquil evening with devotional songs (bhajans).

Kavi Sammelanam :

Kavi Sammelanam (poetry recitation) is a typical Telugu Ugadi feature. Ugadi is also a time when people look forward to a literary feast in the form of Kavi Sammelanam. Many poets come up with new poems written on subjects ranging - from Ugadi - to politics to modern trends and lifestyles.

Ugadi Kavi Sammelanam is also a launch pad for new and budding poets. It is generally carried live on All India Radio's Hyderabad "A" station and the Doordarshan,(TV) Hyderabad following "panchanga sravanam" (New year calendar) narrating the way the new year would shape up in the lives of people and the State in general. Kavis (poets) of many hues - political, comic, satirical reformist, literary and melancholic - make an appearance on the Ugadi stage. Ugadi is thus a festival of many shades. It ushers in the new year, brings a rich bounce of flora and fills the hearts of people with joy and contentment.

Cultural and Literary eventsUgadi celebrations are marked by literary discussions, poetry recitations and recognition of authors of literary works through awards and cultural programs. Recitals of classical Carnatic music and dance are held in the evenings.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ugadi Pachadi

Ugadi is beginning the New Year with savoring a unique flavoured chutney /Pachadi that epitomizes the spirit of Ugadi called "Ugadi Pachadi " prepared only on this day and the  special mixture consists of:

  1. Neem Buds/Flowers for bitterness
  2. Raw Mango for tang
  3. Tamarind Juice for sourness
  4. Green Chilli/Pepper for heat
  5. Jaggery  for sweetness
  6. Pinch of Salt for saltiness
Every home in Andhra Pradesh ,will follow to prepare this "Ugadi Pachadi " as a Naivedyam /Prasadam ,offered to God.Next distributing this Chutney First to all the members in the family.This Chutney or sauce is a symbolic reminder of the myriad facets of life in a sense prepares us for the year ahead.Other than this ,special recipes are prepared like Bobbattu and variety of food is prepared with Raw Mango.

So friends ,every home has its own Version of preparing this Chutney or sauce on the Festival day with all the six tastes ,but some may add banana,coconut pieces,sugar cane pieces.

But Today ,I am posting the" Ugadi Pachadi " how  my Mother prepares it and do the same.

Try this on the Festival and Wish all your Family members and friends with this "Ugadi Pachadi"!!

  • Raw Fresh Mango/Pieces- 1 no/1cup
  • Margosa Flowers or Neem Flowers-1tbsp
  • Grated Jaggery-1cup
  • Tamarind Paste- 3to4tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Red chilli powder (According to your choice)
  • Clean and dry the Fresh Mango,finely chopped along with skin in to small pieces.
  • Mix all the above ingredients to form like a sauce appearance.
  • Offer to God and serve it.
  • People living in the U.S don't find neem flowers ,so for the bitterness add  2 or 3 Fenugreek seeds .
  • If you like to have  a thin and watery chutney,you can add very little water.