Krishna Jayanthi... this festival is celebrated in a grand way all over India. I come from Udupi, which is famous for Lord Krishna's temple. And for us, Gokulashtami is the most important festival and is celebrated in each and every household, in a small or big way but with true 'bhakti'.
When I was looking for an image of Udupi Krishna, I came across this blog of K.Bharath , who has written a post about Udupi Krishna temple beautifully and in detail. Here, I am not going to write about the temple, but how we Udupi people celebrated Gokulashtami, when I was small!
The above photograph is of Udupi Krishna with all the decorations and the one I have displayed below is the one without much decoration! The vigraha is small but beautiful!
Now, let me write about the festival. When I was small, we lived in my grandfather's house, in Udupi. That house was quite big and looked similar to Kerala houses...with a garden for flowers, one had banana trees, one had badam, mango, jack fruit trees etc. We had a Swamy room, which we called 'padsaale' in Tulu language, which we spoke at home.
On the festival day, all the elders followed vrath...some of them used to have only liquid food, some used to take chapaathis with some curry (no onion or garlic were used in my grandma's place!). Some took only moong dhaal paayasam, made out of dhaal, jaggery and coconut milk or milk. The women of the house used to cook, cook and cook with near empty stomach! Did 8 types of laddus (Moong dhaal flour, Besan, Bengal gram dhaal, wheat flour, suji, peanut, til, rice flakes etc.) along with Chakkuli (murukku in Tamil), thatte and some more savories! Avalakki Pancha Kajjaaya (rice flakes with coconut, jaggery, til, banana etc.), one paayasam for naivedya. These things were placed in front of the decorated pooja area with Krishna's favourite butter, non-boiled milk, curd etc..
My mama used to do the elaborate pooja. Mostly, the important ritual of giving 'arghya'... (pouring theertha water via bilwa pathre on the Krishna vigraha) is done at midnight, this time my cousins did at 11.50p.m., it seems.
Later Tulsi pooja was done by giving 'arghya' with cow's milk. Every Kannada household will have a Tulsi katte (Tulsi pot) and we draw rangole (rangoli with rice flour) and light diya in the morning. In the evening, again we light diyas and do pradakshina, singing prayer songs. My grandmother taught us many songs while doing pradakshina, when we, children were small! Once the pooja was over, all of us used to sing Purandara daasara keerthane...songs which are on Lord Krishna.
After the pooja, the elders used to have only the naivedya prasadam with some fruits. The next day we will have 'kadubu' (tumbler shaped idlies!) for breakfast!
Nowadays, my relatives who live in the cities, are not able to follow these rituals but have simplified for the current age! Everyone has to go to office and children to schools, the next morning, so the pooja is finished early...the number of items for naivedya is minimised.
I did Vella cheedai (rice flour, urad gram flour with jaggery), Uppu cheedai (rice flour, urad gram flour and salt), ribbon pakkoda (all fried things!), with paayasam and aval panchakajjaaya (rice flakes with jaggery) in typical Tamil style! We are supposed to do appam, vadai etc. but no one is interested at home to eat so many things, nowadays, so minimal items are offered to god now!
Now let us hear some nice songs...this one is sung by Smt. M.S. Subbulakshmi, the famour Carnatic classical singer...a very old video. Her voice is so powerful!
Chitra sings 'Krishna nee begane baaro' in her melodious voice...feels like hearing a lullaby!
My favourite Kishori Amonkar sings 'He mero Manmohana'. Her voice is so soft and beautiful!
Images and links: Thank you Bharath and Deponti
Thursday, September 2, 2010
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