Thursday, September 2, 2010

Janmaashtamiya Shubhaashayagalu!

Udupi Krishna

Today is 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


Bikram said...

Wow thanks for explaining it all so nicely i remember when i was back home i would go to our local temple with our neighbours get so many things to eat. Look at all that stuff u made where is my share.

Happy janamsthmi to you too and may god bless you and all family with all that you wish for.

Sandhya said...

Bikram: Yes, Gokulashtami means lots of things to eat!

Come home and have your share!

Thank you, Bikram and God bless you and your family too!

SG said...

Happy Gokulashtami to you and your family. Thanks for the nice and detailed narration.

I have just one question. The tumbler shaped idli. Is this the same known as Kanchipuram idli or different.?

Anonymous said...

Very interesting to read about the Janmashtami celebrations in Udupi.

The celebrations are a little bit different at different places in India, I think.

I love Kishori Amonkar's songs/ bhajans. There is so much feeling in her voice! Thanks for the link.

Aparna said...

Lovely post Sandhya, I grew up in Delhi where the women and children celebrate differently. One God, different ways of amazing country!

Loved hearing Chitra's Krishna Nee Begane, lovely music.

Renu said...

In all much of stuff is prepared,only the dishes are different, in north we dont use wheat or rice in anything today, we have separate grains for this day.

happy Gokulashtami to you too!

vimmuuu said...

wow. never knew all this! and I dont know if keralites actually do all those. In my home, religion doesnt play this big a role, you see.

Happy belated krishna jayanthi wishes to you ! :D

Deepa said...

Wow! The savouries sound yummy Sandhya! My mom used to make vella cheedai and give us balls of white butter to eat! I was born just before gokulashtami and was a total badmash. So more chellam for me. :))

My enduring memory of the festival is of my mother drawing tiny white footprints from the door to the pooja room and me pestering her all the way to give me some of the vella cheedai before neivedyam was over!

Kavita Saharia said...

Happy Janamashtami to you ! What a beautiful way to celebrate the festival.The idol pictures are very nice.You know Sandhya,i found your puja ways a lot similar to the way we celebrate it in Uttranchal.Your list of savories is making my mouth water.

Thanks for the lovely account of puja,prasad and really soothing bhakti songs.

Sandhya said...

SG: Kadubu is done with idly batter poured in a tumbler/tube shaped cup made out of a leaf which looks similar to aloe vera leaf. It is rolled and pinned with tiny coconut broom stick (oh, I think I am fumbling here!). Then placed in the idly vessel and steamed. The kadubu with the smell of the leaf is very tasty, with moar kuzhambu or coconut chutney.

This blogger has done the cup with banana leaf. We use this method if the other leaf is not available

Sandhya said...

Manju: Yes, all of us celebrate Janmaashtami, Navraathri, Ganesh pooja in our country but in different ways with the local flavour. It is really interesting, isn't it?

Kishori Amonkar is my favourite singer. I love to hear Veena Sahasrabuddhe and Jayanthi Sahasrabuddhe too! Their voices are very clear and melodious too! I just hear music, I can't recognise raagas even after so many years of hearing them because I didn't have the chance of learning classical music, which I repent.

Apparna: Yes, Apparna, our country is the most interesting one. We can never get bored in life, if we have an open mind.

Chitra has got a soothing voice!

Renu: Yes, we celebrate the same festival in different ways, Renu!

Vimmuuu: These elaborate poojas are gone in our generation itself! It is natural in this fast world. My children just enjoy the food!

Deepa: Lucky you! I did the Krishna pada at home, here. My mother's side don't draw Krishnar kaal!

Children do that and sometimes they steal and eat. I used to ignore! They are also baby/baala Krishnas!

Kavita: It is nice to know that so many people are here to enjoy the posts about the festivals and poojas. These things are slowly going now, which we have to accept.

Thank you Kavita!

Anonymous said...

That made for a very interesting read.

MS Subbalakshmi is always a treat to the ears.

Swaram said...

Am sooo sorry am late Sandhya. Thumba kelsagalha madhye sikkibittide :)

Loved the entire post. We r supposed to do naivedyam of 16 things too totally - inc. butter, fruits etc..

And arrya-pradhana is one of the main parts of the puja alva :)

Tulasi katte iddare ne manege indu kalhe alva. Mine hs a nice painting of Krishna-Radha on it. Nange thumba ishta - Nanu Bengalurininda ethikondu bande adikke :)

Lovely songs too :)

Belated wishes to ur family Sandhya :)

kanagu said...

thanks explaining the process... its so interesting and tedious too..

In my home we won't celebrate Krishna Jayanthi.. we won't prepare any non-veg.. thats it..

Some day I should come to ur home to have all these delicacies :) :)

Sandhya said...

Deepu: I couldn't get a better video of M.S. She is a legend.

Swaram: Houdu, namma maneyalloo 16 bageya bakshya maaduththare. Nan cousin 8 bage eegaloo maadiddhale!

Yes, arghya pradhana tumbaa important, ee dina.

Eegina namma maneyalloo tulasi katte ide!

Thank you, Swaram!

Sandhya said...

Kanagu: Even I don't follow the rituals like my mother did! My children might not follow at all! Time changes, Kanagu.

Please do!

radha said...

What a coincidence! My grandfather's and great grandfather's home is in Udupi too. But the Pancha Kajjaaya we made was from bengal gram. I was thinking about that on Janmashtami. No elders around who can make it anymore!

Anonymous said...

Loved reading this, Sandhya! Krishna is my fav god, and I just love the songs that you have shared :)

This time, Poohi experienced Shri Krishna Jayanthi for the first time, and she loved it :)

Belated wishes:)

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