Happy Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi is an auspicious festival of Hindus. The Festival is observed as the birthday of Lord Ganesha. He is the elder son of Shiva and Parvathi.  A ten-day festival, it starts on the fourth day of Hindu luni-solar calendar month Bhadrapada, which typically falls in Gregorian months of August or September. The festival is marked with installation of Ganesha clay idols privately in homes, or publicly on elaborate pandals (temporary stage). People most pray him for the lord of art, wisdom, studies, and sciences. His devotees called him Ganapati or Vinayaka.

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Eco-friendly Ganesh Idol at my home

Vinayak Chaturthi History & Significance:

The reason behind Ganesha’s birth is that Goddess Parvati created Ganesh with the dirt of her body while bathing. After that, she told him to guard near the door and said not to allow anyone inside. So at that time, Shiva returned home without knowingly Ganesha stopped him. So Shiva got angry and served Ganesh head. Later Parvati was enraged and Shiva promise Ganesh will live again.

Shiva order Devas to search for north facing the head of a dead person but they would find nothing. At that day Devas suggest to fix elephants head, and Shiva fixed Elephants head to Lord Ganesh and brought his life back. So this year it is celebrated on August 25, which is the fourth day of Shukla Chaturthi and end on the 14th day of waxing moon period.

On that day people celebrate with a lot of joy and do the festival with a huge budget. It is the main festival for all Hindus. They are many things you can learn from Lord Ganesh on this Vinayaka Chaturthi.

Lord Ganesha is our mentor and protector. May He enrich your life by always giving you great beginnings and removing obstacles from your life! Wishing you lots of happiness and get Lord Ganesha’s blessings on the auspicious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi. Enjoy the festival.

Sasivekalu and Kadalekalu Ganesa, Hampi

 

 

 

 

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Happy Sri Rama Navami

Ram Navami Or Sri rama Navami is celebrated on 15th April, 2016 in order to commemorate the birth of Lord Rama who was considered as the seventh incarnation of Lord Maha Vishnu. Rama Navami is a Hindu festival, celebrating the birth of the god Rama to King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya in Ayodhya. The holy day falls in the Shukla Paksha on the Navami, the ninth day of the month of Chaitra in the Hindu calendar. Thus it is also known as Chaitra Masa Suklapaksha Navami, and marks the end of the nine-day Chaitra-Navaratri (Vasanta Navaratri) celebrations. Rama Navami is one of the most important Hindu festivals. This year it is celebrated on 15th April 2016. ramabirth

On this auspicious day of Sri Rama Navami, I am sharing nine of my best shots. Wish you all a Happy Srirama Navami!!

Dichipally Ramalayam, Nizamabad, Telangana:

Dichpally Ramalayam or Khilla Ramalayam is one of the oldest temples in Nizamabad, Andhra Pradesh.According to the historical sources it was built in the 12 or 13th century by the Kakatiya Kings. It is also called ‘Indur Khajuraho or Nizamabad Khajuraho’. This temple has its own unique connotation in the books of History. In theertha era when Lord Rama met Hanuman , and in his adoration he headed to kill ravanasura, while they were on their way to Lanka both Lord Rama and Hanuman has stayed in this place for 15 days. No need to say that this place has played an important role in deciding the plot of the historical war between Good and Evil powers And as a remembrance this temple was built.

Lord Kodandarama Temple, Ammapalli :

Temple was built by vengi kings in 13th century BC and one of the rarest Kodanda Rama temple,Where lord Rama is holding an arrow in his hand along with sita and Laxmana in the sanctum sanctorum Lord hanuman is placed at dwaja stamba.This historical temple is listed in UNESCO heritage list.

Lord Kodanda Rama Swamy temple, Vontimitta:

Lord Kodanda Rama Swamy temple is located in Vontimitta mandal which is about 25kms from the city of Kadapa and is close to Rajampet in Kadapa District, Andhra pradesh. This is a place of historical, spiritual and cultural importance. According to the legend, the temple had been constructed by two devotees (once they where burglars and they are transformed in to devotees) of Lord Rama, named ‘Vontudu’ and ‘Mittudu’, in one single day. Practically speaking ‘no’… Anyways lemme finish the story..After constructing the temple, they sacrificed their lives and turned into statues. I am really not sure how far it is true, but the reality what I have seen at this place is the beauty of the temple.. Which I undoubtedly felt with my eyes and senses…!!! These fine and rich carvings on the gopura are one of the highlights of this temple, No human tongue is able to describe its grandeur..

Aprameya Temple, Mallur, Karnataka:

The presiding deity of the temple is Sri Aprameya Swamy. However it is more popular as the Navneeta Krishna temple. It is believed that Sri Rama had stayed here for many years and worshipped the Lord here and hence Sri Aprameya swamy is also called Sri Ramapreya swamy.The splendour of the temple takes your breath away. There is a written document in Tamil that is preserved till date which says the temple was built and expanded by the Chola King Rajendra Simha in the 4th century.

Hazara Rama Temple, Hampi, Karnataka:

Hazara Rama Temple in Hampi is a small but beautiful temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Rama. It was once the private temple of the kings and the royal family of Vijayanagara. The temple is famous for the lovely bas relics and panels depicting the story of the epic Ramayana.Hazara Rama temple

I once again wish you all a Happy Srirama Navami!! Found this Rama birth Paintin on Google search.

Happy Ugadi:“Durmukhi nama samvatsaram”

After a month’s break, I am back to blogging to wish you all a Happy Ugadi. Now you must be wondering, who are not familiar with this part of the world, What is Ugadi? Why do we celebrate Ugadi? Where & How do we celebrate Ugadi?

Ugadi is derived from sanskrit ‘yuga’ means ‘age’ and ‘adi’ means beginning. Two Telugu states Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are celebrating Ugadi festival today.People celebrate it in resemblances of new hope and new aspirations.For the year 2016, Ugadi is celebrated with name “Durmukhi nama samvastram”. There are 60 Telugu years rotating in the cyclic process. If 60 years are completed, it resembles that one era (Yugam) is completed. The festival is celebrated on 8th April i.e. Chaitra sudha padyami.  Many states celebrate this festival with different names. In Maharashtra it is known as Gudi Padwa. The day of Gudi Padwa begins with an oil-bath and eating Neem leaves ritual followed by prayers.
As per the Hindu solar calendar, Keralites, Tamilians, and Bengalis will celebrate New Year as Vishu, Puthandu and Pohela Boishakh, respectively on 14th April.

Ugadi Pachadi: Ceremonial dish

On this day, the particular dish “Ugadi pachadi”is more populous. It is made of new jaggery, raw mango pieces and neem flowers and new tamarind which truly reflect life – a combination of six different tastes sweet, sour, spice, salt, tanginess and bitter tastes symbolizing happiness, disgust, anger, fear, surprise and sadness. Ugadi pachadi at home

Bhakshalu: Special & my favorite dish

In our states, a special dish called Bhakshalu or Bobbattu or Polelu or Puran Poli or Oliga are prepared on this occasion. It consists of a filling (gram and jaggery/sugar boiled and made in to a paste) stuffed in a flat roti-like bread. It is usually eaten hot or cold with ghee or milk topping. 

Ugadi celebrations on Airindia.. Bakshalu, ugadi pachadi, lemon rice etc.,

Some of the good and bad non-political predictions in Vedic Astrology:

1. Vegetarians will increase and this will cause rise in prices of Green leafy Vegetables.
2. Agriculture will not be encouraging this year. More farmers will try to find new jobs.
3. More flight and helicopter crashes will occur in 16-17
4. Juvenile criminals number will be on par with adults.
5. Governments across the globe will take measures to control, safeguard wild animals and forests, archaeological findings, etc.,

This Ugadi, may you be blessed with good fortune as long as Ganesh ji’s trunk, wealth and prosperity as big as his stomach, happiness as sweet as his ladoos and may your trouble be as small as his mouse. Happy Ugadi! May your hate for your enemies fade away, May the darkness around you become lighter, May this Ugadi bring joy, health and prosperity to you and your family.

Happy Independence Day India

At the stroke of midnight, as India moved into August 15, 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, read out the famous speech proclaiming India’s independence. The moment ended three centuries of British colonial rule. The land was no longer the summer retreat of British. Independence was also the end of nearly a century of struggle for freedom, battles, betrayals and sacrifices. It also created a situation where we were responsible for ourselves. For a lot of people, in spite of a new era promised by independence, partition was a painful reality and so was the bloodshed that accompanied it.

That was 69 years ago. Much has changed; the struggle for freedom lives on in history books and memoirs, and on the tombstones of valiant martyrs. Politics has undergone a personality change from fiery idealism to a pragmatic cynicism. Karma drives the nation on its way forward, and population has crossed the billion mark.

But, come August 15, and the people put their troubles behind them for a while, as they stand up as a nation for the National Anthem. Along with the soaring cadences of the anthem, the hopes and dreams for a better tomorrow are renewed in political speeches and replays of the deeds of those who earned us our freedom. Happy Independence Day!!

Freedom in the mind, Faith in the words, Pride in our hearts & Memories in our souls… Let’s salute the nation on Independence Day! Wishing you all a happy Independence Day to my fellow Indians..

Freedom in the mind, Faith in the words, Pride in our hearts & Memories in our souls… Let’s salute the nation on Independence Day! Wishing you all a happy Independence Day to my fellow Indians..

On the eve of Independence day let’s recollect ‘Where the mind is without fear’ by Rabindranath Tagore:

Where the mind is without fear (Chitto jetha bhoyshunyo) is one of the most quoted poems in India and Bangladesh. Written by Rabindranath Tagore before India’s independence, it represents Tagore’s dream of how the new, awakened India should be to fight and chase the British from India. The original Bengali language poem was published in 1910 and was included in the 1910 collection Gitanjali and, in Tagore’s own translation, in the 1912 English edition of Gitanjali.

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into
the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widenning
thought and action-
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake

-Rabindranath Tagore

Source: Google

Makara Sankranthi

On this occassion I would like to share about Makara Sankranti. Let us know, what is Makara Sankranti, Bhogi, Kanuma, Mukkunama, Why it is celebrated, Special foods made on this day, How it is celebrated in Andhra pradesh & celebrations in Hyderabad.

Lots of people gathered to fly kites in Necklace road

Lots of people gathered to fly kites in Necklace road

Makara Sankranti is one of the most auspicious occasions and is celebrated in almost all parts of India in a myriad of cultural forms, with great devotion, fervour, and gaiety. It is a harvest festival. Makara Sankranti is perhaps the only Indian festival whose date always falls on the same day every year: 14 January, with some exceptions, when the festival is celebrated on 13 January or 15 January. Makara Sankranti is also believed to mark the arrival of spring in India.

Kiteshop in Khairatabad

Kiteshop in Khairatabad

History

Makara Sankranti is the day when the Sun begins its movement away from the tropic of Capricorn and towards the northern hemisphere and thus it signifies an event wherein the Sun-God seems to remind their children that ‘Tamaso Ma Jyotirgamaya’may you go higher and higher, to more and more Light and never to Darkness.

The Sun stands for knowledge, spiritual light and wisdom. Makara Sankranti signifies that we should turn away from the darkness of delusion in which we live, and begin to enjoy a new life with bright light within us to shine brighter and brighter. We should gradually begin to grow in purity, wisdom and knowledge even as the Sun does from the Day of Makara Sankranti.

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Colors of Life..

The festival of Makara Sankranti is highly regarded by the Hindus from north to south. The day is known by various names and a variety of traditions are witnessed as one explores the festival in different states.Owing to the vast geography and diversity of culture in India, this festival is celebrated for innumerable reasons and in innumerable ways depending on the climate, agricultural environment, cultural background and  location. On this day Children as well as grownups fly kites right from early morning till late in the evening on this day.

Traditions, rituals and celebration in Andhra Pradesh:

The festival, Sankranti , is celebrated for four days in Andhra Pradesh as below:

•             Day 1 – Bhogi

•             Day 2 – Makara Sankranti – the main festival day

•             Day 3 – Kanuma

•             Day 4 – Mukkanuma

Bhogi:

The day preceding Makara Sankranti is called Bhogi  and this is when people discard old and derelict things and concentrate on new things causing change or transformation. At dawn people light a bonfire with logs of wood, other solid-fuels and wooden furniture at home that are no longer useful. The disposal of derelict things is where all old habits, the vices, attachment to relations and materials things are sacrificed in the sacrificial fire of the knowledge of Rudra, known as the “Rudra Gita Gyana Yagya. It represents realization, transformation and purification of the soul by imbibing and inculcating divine virtues.

Bhogi..

Bhogi..

In many families, infants and children (usually less than three years old) are showered with fruit called “Regi Pandlu”, that is the Indian jujube fruit.It is believed that doing this would protect the children from evil eye. Sweets in generous quantities are prepared and distributed. It is a time for families to congregate. Brothers pay special tribute to their married sisters by giving gifts as affirmation of their filial love. Landlords give gifts of food, clothes and money to their workforce.

Regi pandulu( Indian Jujube fruit)

Regi pandulu( Indian Jujube fruit)

Makara Sankranti:

The second day is Makara Sankranti, also called “Pedda Panduga”, which literally means “the big festival”, when everyone wears new clothes, prays to God, and make offerings of traditional food to ancestors who have died. They also make big and beautiful muggu (ornate drawings done in chalk on the ground) in front of their homes and they decorate the muggu with flowers, colours and sparkle colours.

beautiful muggu  decorated  with flowers, colours and sparkle colours.

beautiful muggu decorated with flowers, colours and sparkle colours.

On the day after Makara Sankranti, the animal kingdom is remembered and in particular, the cows. Young girls feed the animals, birds and fishes as a symbol of sharing. Travel is considered to be inappropriate, as these days are dedicated for re-union of the families. Sankranti in this sense demonstrates their strong cultural values as well as a time for change and transformation. And finally, gurus seek out their devotees to bestow blessings on them.

Kanuma Panduga:

It  is not as widely celebrated, but is an integral part of the Sankranti culture. Mukkanuma is popular among the non-vegetarians of the society.

People in Coastal Andhra do not eat any meat or fish during the first three days of the festival, and do so only on the day of Mukkanuma, whereas people in Telangana region observe only the first two days as part of the festival. They eat rice cooked with til (sesame seeds) on the first day and eat meat on Makara Sankranti, the second day of the festival. For this festival all families prepare Ariselu, Appalu (a sweet made of jaggery and rice flour) dappalam (a dish made with pumpkin and other vegetables) and make an offering to God.Desktop

This festival Sankranti is celebrated in almost every village and town with adventurous games in South India. Whether it is the cock fights in Andhra, Bull fighting in Tamil Nadu or Elephant Mela in Kerala, there is huge amount of illegal betting but the so-called “tradition” continues to play a major role in the festival.

Kodi pandaalu..Cock fghts

Kodi pandaalu..Cock fghts

Another notable feature of the festival in South India is the Haridasa who goes early in the morning around with a colourfully dressed cow, singing songs of Lord Vishnu (Hari) hence the name Haridasu (servant of Hari). It is a custom that he should not talk to anyone and only sing songs of lord vishnu when he goes to everyones house.

Celebrations in Hyderabad:

People of all ages from children to teenagers, young men and women to grandmothers and grandfathers, were seen on terraces, grounds, open places like Necklace road not only with  kites and manjhas but also with MP3 players and loudspeakers to play their favourite music. Children and teenagers were the most enthusiastic as they were spotted on terraces since early morning getting things ready for the festival.

People of all ages were enjoying by flying kites at Necklace road

People of all ages were enjoying by flying kites at Necklace road

An enthusiastic son helping his dad to fliying kites

An enthusiastic son helping his dad to fliying kites

In many areas in this Historical city, girls and women were also seen flying kites and snapping the manjhas of rivals kites.Kite flyers were happy with the direction of the wind, there were lots of snacks coming in to cheer them up, including Sankranti special delicacies like Ariselu, appalu, choorma, tikadey, til ke laddoo, dal ke pakore and feeni.

Mom & daughter having fun while flying kites on Necklace road

Mom & daughter having fun while flying kites on Necklace road

Since the tradition of kite flying is seen maximum in few areas like Dhoolpet, Begumbazaar, Laldarwaja etc., one could see at least a dozen kites being flown by members of one family from the same terrace.

Kite shop on Wheels..

Kite shop on Wheels..

On many terraces, some family members were participating in kite flying as commentators. The moment their family members would snap the manjha of another kite, they would announce it on the loud speaker. I celebrated Sankranti after 6long years..Had loads of fun with my friends by cruising in the city,flying kites and eating all the delicious foods..;)

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Diwali -Festival of Lights


Wishing you and your family a very Happy Diwali  and a year filled with happines,success and prosperity. On this occassion I would like to introduce you all about the history, significance, origin of Diwali, Lakshmi pooja and how it is celebrated in AP.

Deepavali or Diwali, popularly known as the “festival of lights,” is a five-day Hindu festival which starts on Dhanteras, celebrated on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna paksha (dark fortnight) of the Hindu calendar month Ashwin and ends on Bhaiduj, celebrated on the second lunar day of Shukla paksha of the Hindu calendar month Kartik. Dhanteras usually falls eighteen days after Dussehra.diyas

Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes. Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil.These lamps are kept on during the night and one’s house is cleaned, both done in order to make the goddess Lakshmi feel welcome.Firecrackers are burst because it is believed that it drives away evil spirits. During Diwali, all the celebrants wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends.

Another custom involves decorating homes with paper figures & lanterns

Another custom involves decorating homes with paper figures & lanterns

The festival starts with Dhanteras on which most Indian business communities begin their financial year. The second day of the festival is called the Naraka Chaturdasi. Amavasya, the third day of Diwali, marks the worship ofLakshmi, the goddess of wealth. The fourth day of Diwali is known as Kartika Shudda Padyami. The fifth day is referred to as Yama Dvitiya, and on this day sisters invite their brothers to their homes.

Several significant events associated with Diwali:

The return of Rama after 14 years of Vanvas (exile). To welcome his return, diyas (ghee lamps) are lit in total of 14.images

•  The killing of Narakasura: Celebrated as Naraka Chaturdashi, one day before Diwali, it commemorates the killing of the evil demon Narakasura, who wreaked havoc. In different versions, either Krishna or Krishna’s wife Satyabhama killed Narakasura during the Dwapara yuga.satyabhama

Other events associated with Diwali include:

Return of Pandavas after 12 years of Vanvas and one year of agyatavas .exile-n-return

Diwali celebrations are spread over five days, from Dhanteras to Bhaiduj. All the days except Diwali are named according to their designation in the Hindu calendar. The days are:

1. Govatsa Dwadashi : Go means cow andvatsa means calf. Dwadashi  means the 12th day. On this day the cow and calf are worshiped. The story associated with this day is that of King Prithu, son of the tyrant King Vena. Due to the ill rule of Vena, there was a terrible famine and earth stopped being fruitful. Prithu chased the earth, who is usually represented as cow, and ‘milked’ her, meaning that he brought prosperity to the land.

2. Dhanatrayodashi or Dhan teras  : Dhana means wealth and Trayodashi means 13th day. This day falls on the 13th day of the second half of the lunar month. It is considered an auspicious day for buying utensils and gold, hence the name ‘Dhana’. This day is regarded as the God Dhanvantari Jayanti (Birth Anniversary) , the Physician of Gods, who came out during Samudra manthan, the churning of the great ocean by the gods and the demons.IMG 1243

3. Naraka Chaturdashi: Chaturdashi is the 14th day This was the day on which the demon Narakasura was killed by Krishna – an incarnation of Vishnu. It signifies the victory of good over evil and light over darkness.We wake up before dawn, have a fragrant oil bath and dress in new clothes. Light small lamps all around the house and draw elaborate kolams /rangolis outside of homes. We perform a special puja with offerings to Krishna or Vishnu, as he liberated the world from the demon Narakasura on this day. It is believed that taking a bath before sunrise, when the stars are still visible in the sky is equivalent to taking a bath in the holy Ganges. After the puja, children burst firecrackers heralding the defeat of the demon. As this is a day of rejoicing, many will have very elaborate breakfasts and lunches and meet family and friends.

4. Lakshmi Puja : Lakshmi Puja marks the most important day of Diwali celebrations, We worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and Ganesh, the God of auspicious beginnings also known as the remover of obastacles, and then light deeyas (little clay pots) in the streets and homes to welcome prosperity and well-being.

5. Bali Pratipada and Govardhan Puja : Lord Krishna defeated Indra and by the lifting of Govardhana hill to save his kinsmen and cattle from rain and floods. The day commemorates the victory of Vishnu in his dwarf form Vamana over the demon-king Bali, who was pushed into the patala. download

6. Yama Dwitiya or Bhaiduj: on this day, brothers and sisters meet to express love and affection for each other. It is based on a story when Yama, lord of Death, visited his sister Yami(the river Yamuna). Yami welcomed Yama with an Aarti and they had a feast together. Yama gave a gift to Yami while leaving as a token of his appreciation. So, the day is also called ‘YAMA DWITIYA’. Brothers visit their sisters’ place on this day and usually have a meal there, and also give gifts to their sistersbhaiya-dooj-2012

Goddess Lakshmi Puja

Diwali marks the end of the harvest season in most of India. Farmers give thanks for the bounty of the year gone by, and pray for a good harvest for the year to come. Traditionally this marked the closing of accounts for businesses dependent on the agrarian cycle, and is the last major celebration before winter. Lakshmisymbolises wealth and prosperity, and her blessings are invoked for a good year ahead.Those who worship Lakshmi receive the benefit of her benevolent mood, and are blessed with mental, physical and material well-being.

As per spiritual references, on this day “Lakshmi-panchayatan” enters the Universe. Vishnu, Indra, Kubera, Gajendra and Lakshmi are elements of this “panchayatan” (a group of five). The tasks of these elements are:

  • Lakshmi: Divine Energy (Shakti) which provides energy to all the above activities.
  • Vishnu: Happiness (happiness and satisfaction)
  • Kubera: Wealth (generosity; one who shares wealth)
  • Indra: Opulence (satisfaction due to wealth)
  • Gajendra: Carries the wealth
  • Saraswati: Knowledge

Celebrations in Andhra Pradesh:

Diwali is one of the seven most important festivals of Andhra Pradesh. It is very popular with children who celebrate Diwali because of the excitement of bursting firecrackers.

The evening sky of Diwali is a colourful sight to watch.

The evening sky of Diwali is a colourful sight to watch.

There are some traditional customs followed such as buying new clothes for this festival. Buying new home or vehicles is considered auspicious. Special sweets are made too.  Meat and alcohol are generally not consumed.  Some areas host local stage story telling called Hari Katha.

Performing Harikatha

Performing Harikatha

Some areas may put a huge Narakasura dummy made with fireworks. This will be burst by a person dressed as Lord Krishna or, more accurately, a costume of Satyabhama, the consort of Lord Krishna, who actually killed the demon Narakasura; an event that is celebrated as Diwali for generations. maxresdefault

People clean/white-wash or paint/decorate their homes as it is a very auspicious day; to welcome the goddess of wealth and prosperity i.e. Lakshmi devi to their homes.Homes are lit up with hundreds of diyas and colourful Diwali Rangolis (link) adorn the doorways. After all this preparation all the members of the family perform the Lakshmi pooja.

Diyas

Diyas

Sales of expensive silk saris, jewellery, ornaments, and household goods increase. From the poor to the rich, everyone indulges in the largest shopping spree of the year. Sweets, which are an integral part of any festival in Andhra Pradesh, are prepared or purchased from shops.

Acting as a Brand ambassador of Diabetes..:P bought so many sweets to distribute to our near and dear friends & relatives

Acting as a Brand ambassador of Diabetes..:P .We have a tradition of gifting sweets  to our near and dear friends & relatives

The festival is full of messages depicting one or more aspects of human life, relationships, and ancient traditions

Dussehra

Happy Dussehra to all of you. Hope this festive season brings lots of joy to all of you.On the eve of Dussehra, I would like to introduce you about the history, significance, origin of Dussehra and how it is celebrated in our telugu states(Telangana & AP)

Vijayadashami also known as  Dussehra or navaratri  is one of the most important Hindu festivals celebrated in various forms across the world.The name Dussehra is derived from sanskrit Dasha-hara literally means removal of ten referring to Lord Rama victory over the ten-headed demon king Ravana. The day also marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the demons Mahishasur.

As the name suggests Vijayadashmi or Dussehra is celebrated on the tenth day of the month of Ashwin according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to September or October of the Gregorian calender. The first nine days are celebrated as Maha Navratri or Sharada Navratri (the most important Navaratri) and culminates on the tenth day as Dasara. In India, the harvest season begins at this time and so the Mother Goddess is invoked to start the new harvest season and reactivate the vigor and fertility of the soil. This is done through religious performances and rituals which are thought to invoke cosmic forces that rejuvenate the soil.

Victory of God Rama over Ravana:

On this day in the Treta Yug, Lord Rama, killed the great demon Ravana. Rama had performed “Chandi Homa” and invoked the blessings of Durga, who blessed Rama with secret knowledge of the way to kill Ravana. On the day of Ashvin Shukla Dashami, Rama defeated Ravana. Thus it is termed as Vijaya Dashami

1384321_569368173119079_1885371920_n Victory of Durga Mata over Mahishasura

The world was crushed under Mahishasura’s(Asura)  tyranny, the Devas combined their energies into Shakti, a single mass of incandescent energy, to kill Mahishasura. A very powerful band of lightning emerged from the mouths of Brahma,Vishnu & Maheshwara and a young, beautiful female virgin with ten hands appeared. All the Gods gave their special weapons to her. This Shakti coalesced to form the goddess Durga. Riding on a lion, who assisted her, Durga fought Mahishasura. The battle raged for nine days and nights. Finally on the tenth day of Ashvin shukla paksha, Mahishasura was defeated and killed by Durga.Hence Dasha-Hara is also known as Navratri or Durgotsav and is a celebration of Durga’s victory. Durga, as Consort of Lord Shiva, represents two forms of female energy – one mild and protective and the other fierce and destructive.durga-goddess

Jammi Puja

In the age of Dwaparayuga, Pandavas –  hid their weapons in a hole in a Shami tree before entering the Kingdom of Virat. After an year, on Vijayadashmi, they recovered the weapons, declared their true identities and defeated Kauravas, who had attacked King Virat to steal his cattle. Since that day, Shami trees and weapons have been worshipped and the exchange of Shami leaves on Vijayadashmi has been a symbol of good will and victory. This is also called Shami/Jammi Puja.

jammi

Kautsa’s Guru Dakshina:

Kautsa, the young son of a Brahmin called Devdatt. After completing his education with Rishi Varatantu, he insisted on his guru accepting Guru Dakshina, a present. The guru said, “Kautsa, to give dakshina in return for learning wisdom is not appropriate. Graduation of the disciple makes the guru happy, and that is the real Guru Dakshina.” Kautsa was not satisfied. He still felt it was his duty to give his guru something. The guru said, “All right, if you insist on giving me dakshina, then give me 140 million gold coins, 10 million for each of the 14 sciences I have taught you.”

Kautsa went to King Raghu. Raghuraja was an ancestor of Lord Rama, famous for his generosity. But just at that time he had spent all his money on the Brahmins, after performing the Vishvajit sacrifice. Raghuraja asked Kautsa to return in three days. Raghuraja immediately left to get the gold coins from Indra. Indra summoned kuber, the god of wealth. Indra told Kuber, “Make rain full of gold coins, fall on the Shanu and Aapati trees around Raghuraja’s city of Ayodhya.” The rain of gold coins began to fall. King Raghu gave all the coins to Kautsa, and Kautsa hastened to offer the coins to Varatantu Rishi. Guru had asked only 140 millions, so he gave the rest back to Kautsa.

Kautsa was not interested in money, considering honour to be more valuable than wealth. He asked the king to take the remaining gold coins back. But the king refused, as kings do not take back the daan (gift). Finally Kautsa distributed the gold coins to the people of Ayodhya on the day of Ashvin shukla dashami. In remembrance of this event, there has been a custom of plucking the leaves of the Aapati tree, and then people present these leaves to one another as gold.apathi tree

Celebrations and Rituals in Andhra Pradesh

Vijayadashami has great importance in the Telugu household. For life events such as starting a new business/ venture, or buying a new home or vehicle, rituals take place on this auspicious day. They perform Ayudha puja where they sanctify vehicles and other new items.

In the evenings, a procession is taken up in all major cities where people dress up as characters from the Ramayana and perform stage shows called Ramlila.1082977 Huge effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Indrajit or Meghanada are burned, signifying victory of Lord Rama.

In the Telangana region, younger family members usually pay respects to their elders by giving them leaves of Shami tree / Jammitree, and seeking their blessings.In Hyderabad, Durga Puja is being celebrated for more than 60 years now. The concluding event, Theppotsavam (boat festival) is an eye-catching event held on Vijaya Dasami at Krishna – Thungabhadra sangamam (confluence of River Krishna and Tungabhadra).
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Girls play bathukamma by placing a clay pot decorated with flowers around which they dance. This festival is celebrated in all temples of Durga. Shodasa Upacharam is offered to her.

Claypot decorated with flowers

Claypot decorated with flowers

celebrations @ Hyderguda

celebrations @ Hyderguda

During Navratri (“nine nights”), Goddess Durga is decorated in her different aspects like Bala Tripura Sundari, Mahishasura Mardhini, Annapoorna, Kali, Raja Rajeshwari, Kanaka Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati and Gayatri Devi. On the river banks of Krishna at Vijayawada, in an age-old temple of “Sri Durga Malleswar Swami” and on a hill called “Indra-Kila-Adri”, Dasara & Navratri are celebrated every year with great pomp & show and tens of thousands of people visit this temple during this time. These celebrations are concluded on the tenth day of “Vijaya Dashami”, which is usually a national holiday. courtesy:wikipedia