Friday, October 24, 2008

Celebrating Festival with JFI

I would like to carry on my report from the Previous Post, In this Post I have written about Ashtami,Navami and the D-day Vijayadashmi.Before you read further ,please visit this previous post for details about shashti and saptami.

Narkel naru and dal tadka
Ashtami is a special day , pushpanjali is the most important thing for every Bengali on this auspicious day ,people would get up very early , I would recall from my childhood days, my Grandmother would woke up all, early 4 o Clock in the morning to have the morning shower , get ready and go to a Kali temple near our home where we would wait for our turn to offer Pushpanjali .My Grandmother and Mom would have gone earlier than us to offer Phol Prasad to God with a small piece of paper on which the Gotra name and the name of the head of the family written. Puja would be performed and God would bless the family.
Trust me there would be thousand others to offer the same Puja.I sometimes really wonder How God would remember so many names and their Gotra’s name or weather is it important for him to know if the person is from shandilya gotra or alamyan gotra.This still is somewhat puzzling to me.
Over the period of time I have accepted the fact as I have realized, God is omnipresent, he knows everything in and out, things start from him and end on him.

Here is some great creative work on one of the pandals that we visited.

Sandhi Puja –this Puja is the most elaborate ceremony where the priest and people would gather around Mayer protima(Idol),amidst Dhaak(drums) Playing and priest would worship the goddess. Aaroti would be performed , a brass metal based joined 5 diya is lit up, cotton threads called Polte is dipped in oil and its placed on the prodeep (Brass Diya) then its lit up, making the Brass Diya glow bright amidst chanting.
Priest would rotate the diya in one hand in front of mayer protima and her Children Karthik Saraswati ,Lakshmi and Ganesh ,and in other hand a small brass bell is being shaken like a pendulum ,all happening in synchronization with the Dhaak playing in the back grounds .Dhaakis would often raise their bar of drum beats, roaring at high note and then suddenly striking on a lower note ,people would also fold their hands and some even closed their eyes ,shoulders little bowed down in respect of Goddess.
With the smell of Dhuno whole atmosphere is just like a trans and in twilight, It becomes somehow so magnificent and mesmerizing, Kind of a magic spell and people all hooked to such magic, the magic is the Maya of Mayer Puja .
A piece of kapoor (Camphor) is lit on another brass diya and this aroti is performed after the main aroti , people would run close to get a whiff of the aroti by smearing hands over the flame ,to get mayer ashirbaad (Blessings of Goddess Durga).Priest would also shower Shanti Jol(Holy water) over everybody to bless for the well being and peace.
Around 108 earthen Diyas are lighted at the same time.
This time the Lagna of sandhi Puja was late in midnight .Well,its said that sandhi puja is the bridge between ashtami and Navami .
Below is a handicraft made by village girls for a decorations in one of the pandals that we hoped in.

Navami- The main Puja on navami ends with a hom (holy Fire) –aroti in morning , a fire is lit up with wooden logs in front of the Protima .Where many offerings like ghee, honey,dahi or yogurt etc is offered to Hom amidst chanting of sholokas , priest generally perform this ritual with a cotton cloth called” Gamcha “ wrapped around his head. After the Hom , “hom Tika” (some thick paste made from the burnt ashes of hom and ghee) and charnamitra is offered to people as Mayer Blessings .
In the evening aroti is performed and the famous Dhunuchi dance is a great crowd puller, where people would gather and dance in front of the idol with dhunuchi in both the hands with dhaak beats.

Dashmi or VijayadashmiVijaya means Victory dashami means on tenth day , It’s the victory celebration of Mahishashurmardini over Buffalo headed demon Mahishashur , and also it’s the Victory of Shri Ram over evil Ravana .In present context it’s the victory of Goodness over evil,Brightness over darkness.
Sindhur Khela is the most attractive part of this day , when married ladies would offer sweets to Ma Durga and apply Sindoor (Vermillion) on her forehead and seek blessings by touching her sacred feet also. This way they seek blessings form Goddess for their and their family’s well being ,Later they would smear vermilion on each others face and forehead.They would first apply to the forehead and then smear it on Shanka and Pola ( a must for married ladies, shanka is a white bangle made from cutting rounds from high quality conch shells and Pola is generally a red bangle ).This way they exchange the goodness and warmth of togetherness and blessings.
Young ones then seek blessings form older ladies generally their mothers and mother-in-Laws (that includes all the Pishis, Mashis,Jethimaa and kakimaa) by touching the feet and the same age group ladies would hug each other.
In the evening ma Durga and her children would be given a warm hearted farewell amidst tears in eyes and somber looking faces in River Ganges. As Ma Durga is going back to Kailash where her husband Shiva resides.

It is said that “Mayer Gomon Hoye na, Tini sada amader Mone prosthito thaken “.
Goddess Durga always resides in our heart, her farewell is just a ritual.

Here is a small festival goodies we tried making on Durga Puja.
Luchi Begun Bhaja , Cholar Dal and Aloor Jhaal
Begun Bhaja
Cut Brinjals lengthwise, clean in water, marinate in turmeric and salt.
Heat up a Kadai , add 3 tbs of Mustard Oil , fry the marinated brinjals slowly at low , flipping sides in between .Take out in a vessel and drain in paper towels .

Cholar Dal
1 cup Cholar Dal
1tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of salt
2 tbs of ghee
1 tsp of cumin seeds /mustard seeds also can be used
1 Tej Pata
Soak the dal in water for 5mints and then wash it thoroughly.
Now transfer the dal in Pressure cooker , add 2 -3 cups of water, cook for 4 mints at high, discard the white froth with spatula, low the flame .
Add turmeric powder and salt, sugar.
Cover and cook at high, one whistle and lower the flame, cook for 7-8mints at low.
Let the Pressure subside and then open the cover.
Heat up a kadai , add ghee , add cumin seeds ,tej patta and fry for 1-2 mints at high , now carefully temper the cooked Dal with it , stir and cook for 2-3mints .
Take out in a vessel.
Aloor Jhaal (spicy Potato)
3-4 Potato
1 tsp of turmeric powder
2 tsp of red pepper powder
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of cumin seeds
2-3 tbs of mustard oil
Cut potatoes in small cubes (Cutting in small helps in quick cooking and the spices also gets evenly coated), wash in water
Heat up kadai , add oil,temper it with cumin seeds , add potatoes ,fry at high for 2mints,
Add salt,turmeric powder,red pepper powder ,splash some water droplets with hands .
Cover and cook at low for 7-8mints or till potatoes are soft.
Take out in vessel.
3 cups of Maida or all purpose flour
3 heaped tbs of ghee
1 tsp of salt
Water as required
Knead all the above into a semi solid dough and cover the dough with any cloth.
Let it sit there for half an hour .
Now divide the dough into poertions , make small balls out of the portions ,
Roll each small balls into flat rounds of 3-4 inch diameters.
Heat up a kadai with refined oil upto half, check the oil if its ready for deep frying .
TIP- can add some cumin seeds , if it floats at top ,simmering the oil is heated enough for the deep frying .
Fry the luchis one by one .Once the oil is heated enough, fry the luchis at high ,and sometimes on med high .
Now assemble the Serving Plate .It all depends on the way you place the dishes known as courses.
It’s said that you start eating from your right to left,
So place some Begun Bhaja first ,as Bhaja(fry) is the first course ,
Then scoop some Cholar dal on the plate , Dal being the second course
Take out some Aloor Jhaal and place it as third course.
I had made some Payesh and Chatni also , which concluded the last course as sweets , but its not in picture. Recipes I have already posted here Payesh and Chutney
Luchis should be placed at left to all the courses.
We enjoyed our home Made meals thoroughly during this Puja .

This is going to Sri's Place at Cooking For All Season , who is hosting JFI this month.Visit here for more details JFI-Festival Treats .Originally started by Indira at Mahanandi

Enjoy festival Of Light -Diwali with loved ones and make it eco-friendly.
Happy Diwali


  1. Jaya this is such a wonderful post..thanks for joining me and sharing with us such great informations!...luchi and aloo looks so yum!

  2. A Happy Diwali to you too!

  3. Wish you a happy Diwali.Lot of good info and a nice platter.

  4. Tomar ei last duto post daarrruuun hoyechhe Jaya. Very detailed and informative posts. I totally enjoyed them. Aar luchi, begun bhaja aamar khoob bhalo laage so thanks for reminding of times when Maa used to make it mostly Sunday mornings..:)
    Happy Diwali to u and your family.


  5. The luchis say 'pick me up'.I wish I could.Where do u get the paitience from for such great write ups? Happy Diwali to you and your family. :-)

  6. Sri,
    my pleasure to join you and thanks for coming by.

    thanks and big hug

    warm welcome thank you.

    I have written what I felt during those days, and its kind of keeping records also LOL..
    aamra Luchi kom hi khayi kenona onek tele bhaja hoye ...kinto pujo , lokhi pojo te eyi ranna tai hoye ...thanks for coming by..

    Thank You dear and I was just saying jokingly to Hubby , somedays back that somebody should pay me for all this write up LOL...
    anyways it just feel great when you people appreciate the things here.

    Thank You for making my Day as I read all your lovely comments..
    hugs and smiles

  7. that's an awesome and highly informative post! Takes me back to Diwali celebrations in India:(

    Happy Diwali to you and all your lvoed ones Jaya!

  8. Lovely informative post Jaya...wish you and your dear ones a very Happy Diwali!

  9. happy diwali to you and your family!

  10. Wish you n family Happy Diwali dear...it's a lovely post with wonderful information...gud one

  11. I just saw your comment on the Asparagus soup...yes you can def use other veggies.....french beans or mixed veggies will be good too.

  12. I hope you had a joyous Diwali!!! Thank you for the food and the little bit of history that you have so thoughtfully narrated here! I truly learn a lot from the blogs around the world!

  13. Manasi
    thank you dear.

    mandira, Indranee
    thanks for coming by.

    good to see you here,same wishes for you also.
    thanks for your help, will definitely try making it.

    what a lovely comment,thanks you made my day.
    hugs and smiles

  14. Jaya, u know how to make me home sick :) what a beautiful pics...

  15. Sia thanks dear for liking the pics.

  16. it's an old post, but kinda timeless :)

    1. Yeah it is ..even I am reading it again just to recall..thanks for a stop..hugs and enjoy Durga puja..


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