|Snippets of Information |
Fairs / Festivals
* 21 May 2022
Chatar Jatra is a traditional festival celebrated by the people
of Kalahandi District, Odisha. The annual journey symbolises Maa
Manikeswari ’s return from Jenakhal to the main temple. It’s held at the
exact time when Asthami ends and Navami begins. Maa Manikeswari, unique
to the Kandh tribe-dominated Kalahandi, is considered to be a fusion of
Odisha ‘s tribal and non-tribal cultures.
Groups of individuals dressed as traditional Kandha tribal warriors and
demons participate in the procession during Chhatar Jatra.
Maa Manikeswari comes to Jenakhal from Garbhagriha on Maha Ashtami in
the middle of midnight, which is about 3 km from the alma mater. The
jatra begins with Nagar Paribhramana on Maha Navami auspicious morning.
Maa Manikeswari is depicted in the jatra by a bamboo covered with black
cloth, and Dasamahavidya Yantra is mounted on the silver plate at the
top, which reflects Tantric Hinduism. A special practise is the
replacement of the head
of the deity with a new one on Durga Ashtami. It is a ‘gupta niti’
(secret ritual) referred to as Munda Basa, which comes from two words:
munda (head) and basa (to place). The Devi ‘s head is removed at
midnight, as per tradition, and replaced
by a terracotta head studded with gems and ornaments. In the Purushottam
tank adjacent to the temple, the old head is then immersed.
This terracotta head positioning can seem shocking. But it can be noted
that Maa Manikeswari is headless and is thus associated with the
Chhinnamasta avatar of Devi Durga. Her body is like a cylindrical frame,
with a clay head fixed above it. The body is subsequently coated with
clothing and ornaments. On Navami tithi, labelled as Chhatar Jatra, Maa
returns to her temple after Nava Kalebara.
A tribal dance is performed to please Maa Manikeswari, which is known as the Ghumura dance.
Ghumura is a folk dance and a legacy of the district of Kalahandi. It’s a
dance performed with the traditional Ghumura Veer Badya instrument. The
dancers tie the Ghumura (badya / instrument) on their shoulders and
hang it tightly on their chests. Then there are groups playing Ghanta
and others playing traditional instruments like ‘dhola’ and ‘nishan’ to
demonstrate the rich heritage of the region, among others. Earlier, only
one musical instrument from the royal family named ‘Dum Baza’
accompanied the procession of the deity.
* 8 Oct 2021
Aspects of the Goddess daily worshipped
Day 1: Goddess Shailaputri Shaila means mountain and putri means
daughter. Since Goddess Parvati is the daughter of the Mountain God, she
is given importance on this day.
Day 2: Goddess Brahmacharini is a form of Durga Devi who reduces anger.
Day 3: Goddess Chandraghanta It is believed she has a third eye and
fights against evil demons. During puja, jasmine flowers are offered to
Day 4: Goddess Kushmanda Her name means cosmic egg. She spreads energy and warmth to all.
Day 5: Goddess Skandamata This Goddess rules over Budha (Mercury). She is both fierce and loving.
Day 6: Devi Katyayani Women offer prayers to get a peaceful married life.
Day 7: Goddess Kalaratri She is fierce and frightens evil spirits. She
is the most destructive avatar of Kali and rules over Shani (Saturn).
Day 8: Goddess Mahagauri She wears only white clothes and rides a bull.
On this day, Kanya Puja occurs which is dedicated to young virgin girls.
The day is celebrated with dance, fun and prayers.
Day 9: Devi Siddhidaatri This Goddess fulfils all wishes.
Day 10: Vijayadasami After 9 nights of prayers, the tenth day is kept
aside for Vijayadasami. A day of new beginnings based upon Victory.
Colours of the Festival
A specific colour represents each day of the Festival
Day 1 Yellow signifies warmth and joy. Enhances happiness and positivity in life
Day 2 Green is colour of fertility, serenity, growth and auspicious beginnings
Day 3 Grey represents balance, humbleness and improvement
Day 4 Orange creates calmness and positivity. Invites happiness and creativity
Day 5 White symbolises peace and harmony. Promotes security, purity and happiness
Day 6 Red signifies love, bravery and passion. Invites vitality, energy and beauty into life
Day 7 Royal Blue promotes elegance and grandeur. Signifies charisma, attainment, success
Day 8 Pink symbolises harmony, goodness and love
Day 9 Purple represents peace and nobility. Signifies prosperity, opulence and success
For details on Devi, Flower, Neivedhyam, Thithi, Kolam, Raagam, Slokam for each of the 9 days and Vijayadasami, please visit indian-heritage.org
* 8 Oct 2021
The Golu dolls to arrange in each step
First step - One sense creatures like plants, climbers, etc.,
Second step - Two sense creatures like snail, conch.
Third step - Three sense creatures like ant, silverfish.
Fourth step - Four sense creatures like Crab, Beetle.
Fifth Step - Five sense animals and birds.
Sixth step - Six sense humans.
Seventh step - Rishis, Sidhdhars
Eighth step - Ashtadhik Balargal, Navagraha Athibathigal.
Ninth step - Brahma, Vishnu, Sivan.
The message of this is we humans should slowly attain the stage of Divine by being and doing good things.
Source: Navarathri by Nirajana.S, superduper-kitchen.com, 24 Sep 2019
* 1 Oct 2021
Lai Haraoba is a religious festival celebrated by the Meitei
people who are largely settled in and around Manipur. It is held at
neighbourhood shrines dedicated to the local Umang Lai deities. These is
a generic category of deities within the religious faith of the Meiteis
that pre-dates the period of Hinduisation. There are no particular
dates assigned in the Meitei calendar for the festival. However, it is
observed in the months between February and May-June.
Lai Haraoba is more popular for its dance tradition. The elaborate
ritual dance traditions have been the source of the Manipuri dance form
and have been instrumental in inspiring the famed Manipuri Ras lila,
which has the distinction of being one of the classical dances of India.
For detailed information and list of the deities, visit sahapedia.org/lai-haraoba-0
Source: Lai Haraoba by Rekha Konsam, sahapedia.org
* 10 Sep 2021
Vinayaka Chaturthi (Ganesh Chaturthi, Pillayar Chaturthi in Tamilnadu)
is a Hindu festival celebrating the arrival of the elephant headed God
Ganesha to earth to rid the world of all obstacles and troubles.
It is also considered to be the birth day of Ganesha, the day he got the
elephant head (the shape of OM) thus becoming all powerful. He is
worshipped at the start of any action or venture, for he is considered
to be the Lord who removes obstacles (vignam) and hence is also called
Vinayaka Chaturthi falls in the month of Aug - Sep (begins
on the third day of the lunar month of Bhadrapada ; on the fourth day
after the new moon in the month of Āvaṇi in the Tamil calendar).
During Vinayaka Chaturthi, small clay idols of Ganesha are made
specially for the festival. Devotees offer pooja to the idol at home and
immerse it in water after 3 days or one week. Apart from these idols
for home worship, huge idols are created, also out of clay, beautifully
decorated and displayed in the street. On a day fixed by the Govt., the
devotees assemble at the beach in a procession and immerse the huge
Ganesha idols. Depending on the size, the idols are brought to the beach
in cycles, rickshaws, vans or lorries. The idols are taken to deeper
waters in catamarans and immersed. The medium sized idols are carried by
hand and the larger ones are lifted by crane to the catamarans.
The festival is celebrated throughout India and several other countries by the Hindu population.
Sources: indian-heritage.org ; wikipedia.org
Vinayaka idols on display in Chennai city
Ganesha idols during the procession in Chennai city
Ganesha idols during the immersion in Fore shore Estate beach, Chennai
Karthigai Deepam - Parvatha Raja clan of fishermen
* 6 Sep 2021
Scenes depicting the story from the Tamil film Thiruvilaiyadal (1965). Goddess
Parvathi was cursed by Lord Shiva for loss of attention while listening
to an explanation of the Vedas. She was born in a fishermen clan
in the Pandya kingdom. When the clan were suffering from fear of a
shark, Lord Shiva appeared in the guise of a fisherman and killed the
shark, (which was actually Nandi Bhagavan). The grateful king of
the fishermen gave his daughter in marraige to Lord Shiva.
According to local belief, the Parvatha Raja clan are descendants of a
king who had been blessed by Lord Shiva to light the cauldron in order
to ward off a curse. The clan has three sub-divisions: Unnamulai Priyan,
Pennattu Priyan and Vathathi Priyan. The menfolk from the three
sub-classes take turns every year to light the cauldron.
Every year during Deepam five earthen-pot lighted lamps, representing
the five elements, provide the flame for the single Bharani Deepam which
fisherman carry to the top of the mountain for use as the source-light
for the Krittikai Deepam. It is also they who are entrusted with
carrying the Deepam Cauldron up to the top of the Hill prior to the day
of Mahadeepam. The Deepam cauldron is hauled up the slopes of Arunachala
supported by poles inserted into the cauldron's rings. The unique
privilege for taking the flame (source-light) and cauldron up the Hill
and also for the actual lighting of the Deepam Flame is always given
(for as long as the Hill's recorded history) to men of the fishing
Source: Read complete story at Extraordinary Grace Given to Fishermen, arunachalasamudra.org
* 30 Aug 2021
Krishna Jayanthi (Janmashtami / Gokulashtami / Sree Jayanthi)
This is a festival to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna. The
eighth avatar in the dwapara Yuga (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu, he was
born on the 8th day of the waning moon period (Krishna Paksha) in the
month of Aavani or Shravana (Aug - Sep), in Rohini nakshtram. He
was the eighth son of Vasudeva and Devaki.
The general norm is to fast and celebrate by offering Lord Krishna
various sweets, butter, ghee, milk, curd, , fruits, aval (poha) in the
evening, but the sweets offered and other practices vary from region to
In the South, particularly in Tamilnadu, people draw elaborate kolams
and create the small foot print of baby Krishna right from their door
step to the puja room where the delicacies are ready to be offered to
the baby God. The usual sweets and snacks for Krishna Jayanthi are sweet
and salt cheedai, murukku, payasam. In the villages, they
celebrate Uriyadi, a game similar to Dahi Handi.
In the North, sweets such as peda, malpua, panjiri are offered.
Dahi Handi is celebrated - a mud pot filled with milk, butter, ghee,
etc. is hung at a high spot. Boys known as Govindas form a pyramid
and try to reach the pot and break it while devotees gathered around
throw water on them. The winners are awarded prizes.
Bhajans and dance (Rasaleela) are conducted and devotees visit the temples to offer prayers.
Sources: astroved.com ; blog.wego.com
* Jul 2021
India being a land of diverse cultures & religions, countless festivals
are celebrated throughout the year. People of the same religion follow
different customs, based on the region in which they live. The
celebrations include prayers to the Gods, rituals, meeting with friends,
sharing of sweets & gifts
* 21 Aug 2021
is celebrated annually at Karaikal, Puducherry in veneration of Karaikal Ammaiyar, one of the 63 Saiva Nayanmars.
After the Vigneswara pooja, Paramadatta Chettiar is taken in procession
from the Siddhi Vinayakar temple to the Karaikal Ammaiyar temple.
The next day, the wedding ceremony of Paramadatta Chettiar and
Punithavathi Ammaiyar (Karaikal Ammaiyar) takes place. In the
evening Bikshadanar is taken in procession and in the night the bride
and groom are taken in procession. The next day after the
abhishekam and pooja for Bikshadanar and Pancha murtis, Siva in the
guise of a devotee is taken in procession. During this procession
devotees throw mangoes which can be caught by the crowd.
* Jul 2021
One of Bangalore's oldest festivals, the Kadlekkai Parishe falls during
the last week of the Karthike month of the Kannada calendar. The venue
is the Dodda Basavanna temple, popularly known as Bull Temple, and the
Bugle Rock area in Basavanagudi, a very scenic residential area, where
hundreds of vendors sit before piles of freshly harvested groundnuts,
just as they have been doing for the last half a millennium.
The area was part of a cluster of villages that included Mavalli,
Sunkenahalli, Hosahalli, Dasarahalli, Avalahalli, Guttahalli,
Kanakanapalya, Kathriguppe, Byrasandra, Gudahalli, and others, where
groundnuts fields thrived.
As is wont, there is a story behind this unusual festival. It is said
that the groundnut farmers were stumped (and angered, no doubt) by
someone who was feasting on their precious crop at night time. They
assumed it was the handiwork of thieves and decided to catch them
red-handed. Sure enough, one alert farmer heard the rustling of
vegetation. However, the night was pitch black and he could not see a
thing. Even so, he swung his crowbar and brought it on what he assumed a
thief. It turned out to be a bull, which fell down dead, and turned
into a stone even as the crowbar lay impaled in its body. It was too
late the farmers learned that the bull used to come to the fields on
full moon nights to not only help itself, but also to keep watch, and
that the bull was the sacred Basava himself, Lord Shiva's mount. Come
the next full moon and no bull appeared. The farmer who killed the bull
consulted his comrades and decided to atone for his sin by constructing a
temple around the stone bull. When the construction was half-complete,
the farmers were aghast to see that the bull kept growing, towering over
the surrounding walls. Every time the farmers raised the walls, the
bull simply became bigger.
This continued till one night, the farmer who had struck down the bull
had a dream in which Lord Shiva directed him to retrieve a trident
buried in the earth in front of the bull and affix it on to its
forehead. The farmer was also instructed to tell the others that their
first groundnut harvest should be offered to the shrine every year. They
complied, and the bull stopped growing. The ritual continues to this
Legend also has it that Bangalore's founder, Kempe Gowda, after hearing
of the incident, turned up in disguise at Basavanagudi and asked the
farmers who they were propitiating. On being told it was Basavanna who
had looked after them all these years and had ensured that their crops
got good rains, Kempe Gowda also offered his obeisance to the deity.
That night he had a dream about a treasure. He had to disinter it and
build a temple in its place. He complied. This was in 1537. Another
version has it that Kempe Gowda, while under the captivity of the
Vijayanagar ruler, Sadashivaraya, was fascinated by Hampi's
architecture. On being released, he came down south to found Bangalore,
and had the temple built on similar lines. (Trivia: according to
geologists, the river Arkavati once flowed where the Bull Temple stands
now. It changed course following an earthquake. The huge boulders in the
area substantiate this conclusion.)
Shops and vendors line both sides of the road from the temple to the
Ramakrishna Ashram. Farmers from villages near and far (some come even
from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu) come with their fresh produce.
Considering that gorging on raw groundnuts can give you the mother of
all indigestions, there are the enterprising jaggery sellers (as well as
puffed rice vendors) who set up shop. Special poojas are offered by the
farmers to the temple deity, not just for their harvest, but also for
their cattle. They also offer salt, pepper, and beans at the shrine.
Source: Going nuts over a festival, The Hindu, Metro Plus Bangalore, Monday, Dec 02, 2002, hinduonnet.com