Ugadi Festival – New Years day – Bengaluru

Ugadi Festival – New Years day – Bengaluru

Ugadi festival – New Year’s Day for the people of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana States.  It is equally important for the people of Maharashtra. It is also the New Year for them but is known by a different name ‘Gudipadava’.   It is festively observed in these regions on the first day of the Hindu Uni-solar calendar month of Chaitra. This falls in March or April of the Gregorian calendar.

This festival is rich in color, flora that marks the advent of spring and the commencement of the New Year.

Ugadi is a festival celebrated all across the Deccan regions of India with much fun and fervour. The word Ugadi has originated from the Sanskrit words – ‘yug’ means era and ‘aadi’ means beginning. So it marks the beginning of the new era.

Background :

Among the few legends associated with Ugadi, there is one pertaining to Brahma that is widely popular. It is believed that Lord Brahma began creating the world on this day and Ugadi refers specifically to the Yuga in which the current generation lives i.e. the Kalyug.

It is also referred to as Chaitra Suddha Paadyami according to Hindu religious texts.

Ugadi festival also coincides with the onset of spring and the harvest season. This day is also considered highly auspicious to start new ventures. However, all business transactions are carried out after certain religious observances that are said to bring good luck, wealth and prosperity to believers.

The Celebration of Ugadi festival:

Before the beginning of Chaitra, people clean and whitewash their homes and decorate temples as well as the deity rooms in their homes with jasmine flowers and mango leaves.

To start the celebrations, the entire household wakes up before dawn and take a head bath after massaging the whole body with sesame oil and wear new, traditional clothes.

The idols of gods and goddesses within the house are then bathed in oil too, after which prayers and offerings of neem flowers, mango and tamarind are given up.

The elderly women in the family then apply oil and vermilion to the forehead of the younger members following which all members of the family watch their reflection in a vessel of molten ghee.

The “Indra Dhwaja”, which is meant to bring in rain is worshiped which is also a feature of Gudi Padwa, Maharashtra’s New Year. Devotees decorate their front door with red earth and a string of mango and neem leaves. The entrance is also decorated with Rangoli in white chalk although colored powder can also be used to fill the outlined figure.

Significance of Ugadi festival :

The auspicious occasion of Ugadi is associated with Lord Brahma, the creator of the Universe. All the elements of nature along with days, months are believed to be created by Lord Brahma. As it falls on the onset of the spring, it marks the commencement of healthy and prosperous New Year. Many rituals are associated with the festival of Ugadi.

Style and Variety :

In preparation for the New Year, men and women in Karnataka buy new clothes and ornaments for this day. Traditionally, the men dressed in a white or off-white linen shirt paired with a panche  or long loin cloth that is embellished with gold zari.

While visiting the temple, men also don the Angavastram, which is a rectangular cloth of a similar color and embellishment. In recent times however, men prefer wearing new shirts and trousers. Both attires are completed with a gold chain with a gold wrist watch to match.

Customs of Ugadi :

  • People begin the auspicious day by taking bath at the break of the dawn and then wear new clothes.
  • The mango leaves are used to decorate the entrance of the houses to please Lord Kartikeya and also Lord Ganesh. It is believed that the two Lords are fond of mangoes. These Ugadi festival ritualsa re followed so that the Gods bless them with prosperity and well-being. The fresh mango leaves to the doorway symbolizes a good yield.
  • As Ugadi festival rituals, people purify their houses and the surrounding environment with fresh cow dung which is considered pious according to Hindu customs.
  • Making Rangolis outside the houses is one of the very important and significant Ugadi festival activities.
  • One of the Ugadi rituals is Panchanga Sravanam. Accordingly,  a pundit is called to prepare the yearly forecast of each member of the house. This ritual to predict the future on the day of Ugadi is one among the many popular Ugadi festival activities.
  • Delicious vegetarian meals are prepared as a part of customs of Ugadi festival.

Ugadi festival special dish :

The significance of Ugadi Pachadi is immense as it symbolizes the essence of life. This special dish is prepared with ingredients like:

Jaggery (sweet): symbolizing happiness

Salt (salty) :showing interest in life

Tamarind (sour) :symbolizing challenges

Neem flowers (bitter) : shows difficulties of life

Raw mango (tangy): indicating surprises and new challenges

Chilli powder (spicy): showing the angry moments in one’s life.

The dish is significant as it has all the tastes of life. It teaches that life is a mixture of all the emotions. Each and every ritual followed on this day, has its own significance. Hanging of mango leaves and placing a kalash near the door or the calling of the priest to make the yearly forecast are all part of Ugadi significance and symbolism.

Panchagna Sravanam – Recitation of Almanac (New Year Calendar) :

Ugadi marks the beginning of a new Hindu lunar calendar with a change in the moon’s orbit. There is a strange thing about the practices of the different sects of Brahmins. Although they are all Brahmins, various differences in the lineage can be traced among them. These differences are reflected in their particular calendars, where the months and dates vary.

Some pundits calculate the dates of the calendar according to the lunar system and some do it according to the solar system. Hence, there is a Tamil New Year’s Day, a Telugu New Year’s Day and a New Year’s Day different from that observed in the almanac of Northern India.

The panchanga sravanam-recitation of almanac (new year calendar) is done by the officiating priest at the temples. The presiding chief during Panchanga Sravanam reminds the listener of Lord Brahma, who is the creator of the universe.

Predictions for wealth and prosperity are read out along with influence of the constellations on the various aspects of life. The listeners at the end of the panchagna sravanam-recitaion of almanac (new year calendar), seek the blessings of the priest.

Regional Names of Ugadi :

This festival is celebrated in different states of India and Ugadi has different names. The different names of Ugadi festival are Barhaspatyamana for the people living north of the Vindhya hills. It is observed as Chandramana or Sauramana for those living south of the Vindhya hills.

Other names of Ugadi are Gudipadava as called by the Marathas, and the Sindhis observe it as Cheti Chand. In Manipur, this festival is known by the name of Sajibur Cheiraoba.


Holi – festival of colors

Holi – festival of colors

Holi  is a Hindu Spring festival, originating from  India. The festival is celebrated predominantly in India and Nepal. The festival  has spread to other areas of Asia and parts Western world through Diaspora from the Indian subcontinent. 

It is also known as the “festival of colours” or the “festival of love”.  The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships. 

Holi – Indian Thanksgiving to nature :

It is also celebrated as a thanksgiving for a good harvest.  It lasts for a night and a day, starting on the evening of the Full Moon day or pournima/purnima. In the month of Phalgun, which falls somewhere between the end of February and the middle of March in the Geographical calendar.

The first evening is known as Holika Dahan (burning of demon holika) or Chhoti Holi  and the following day as Holi, Rangwali Holi, Dhuleti, Dhulandir or Phagwah.

Festival of colors – Holi :

The vibrancy of colors is something that brings in a lot of positivity in our ives and Holi being the festival of colors is actually a day worth rejoicing. Holi is a famous Hindu festival that is celebrated in every part of India with utmost joy and enthusiasm.

The ritual starts by lighting up the bonfire one day before the day of Holi and this process symbolizes the triumph of good over the bad. On the day of Holi people play with colours with their friends and families and in evening they show love and respect to their close ones with Abeer.

History of Holi :

Holi is an ancient festival of India and was originally known as ‘Holika’. The festivals finds a detailed description in early religious works such as Jaimini’s Purvamimamsa-Sutras and Kathaka-Grhya-Sutras.

Historians also believe that Holi was celebrated by all Aryans but more so in the Eastern part of India.

It is said that Holi existed several centuries before Christ. However, the meaning of the festival is believed to have changed over the years. Earlier it was a special rite performed by married women for the happiness and well-being of their families and the full moon (Raka) was worshiped.

Calculating the day of Festival :

There are two ways of calculating a lunar month- ‘purnimanta’ and ‘amanta’. In the former, the first day starts after the full moon; and in the latter, after the new moon. Though the amanta calculation is more common now, the purnimanta was very much in vogue in the earlier days.

According to this purnimanta calculation, Phalguna purnima was the last day of the year and the new year heralding the Vasanta-ritu (with spring starting from next day). Thus the full moon festival of Holika gradually became a festival of merrymaking, announcing the commencement of the spring season. This perhaps explains the other names of this festival – Vasanta-Mahotsava and Kama-Mahotsava.

The Legend of Holika and Prahlad :

The Legend :  There was once a demon king by the name of Hiranyakashyap who won over the kingdom of earth. He was so egoistic that he commanded everybody in his kingdom to worship only him. But to his great disappointment, his son, Prahlad became an ardent devotee of Lord Naarayana and refused to worship his father.

Hiranyakashyap tried several ways to kill his son Prahlad but Lord Vishnu saved him every time. Finally, he asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap. For, Hiranyakashyap knew that Holika had a boon, whereby, she could enter the fire unscathed.

Treacherously, Holika coaxed young Prahlad to sit in her lap and she herself took her seat in a blazing fire. The legend has it that Holika had to pay the price of her sinister desire by her life. Holika was not aware that the boon worked only when she entered the fire alone.

Other stories :

Holi also celebrates the legend of Radha and Krishna which describes the extreme delight, Krishna took in applying colour on Radha and other gopis. This prank of Krishna later, became a trend and a part of the Holi festivities.

Mythology also states that Holi is the celebration of death of Ogress Pootana who tried to kill infant, Krishna by feeding poisonous milk to it.

Another legend of Holi which is extremely popular in Southern India is that of Lord Shiva and Kaamadeva. According to the legend, people in south celebrate the sacrifice of Lord of Passion Kaamadeva who risked his life to revoke Lord Shiva from meditation and save the world.

Also, popular is the legend of Ogress Dhundhi who used to trouble children in the kingdom of Raghu and was ultimately chased away by the pranks of the children on the day of Holi. Showing their belief in the legend, children till date play pranks and hurl abuses at the time of Holika Dahan.

Reference about Holi in Ancient texts and inscriptions :

Besides having a detailed description in the Vedas and Puranas such as Narad Purana and Bhavishya Purana, the festival of Holi finds a mention in Jaimini Mimansa. A stone inscription belonging to 300 BC found at Ramgarh in the province of Vindhya has mention of Holikotsav on it. King Harsha, too has mentioned about holikotsav in his work Ratnavali that was written during the 7th century.

The famous Muslim tourist – Ulbaruni too has mentioned about holikotsav in his historical memories. Other Muslim writers of that period have mentioned, that holikotsav were not only celebrated by the Hindus but also by the Muslims.

Reference in Ancient Paintings and Murals :

The festival of Holi also finds a reference in the sculptures on walls of old temples. A 16th century panel sculpted in a temple at Hampi, capital of Vijayanagar, shows a joyous scene of Holi. The painting depicts a Prince and his Princess standing amidst maids waiting with syringes or pichkaris to drench the Royal couple in colourd water.

A 16th century Ahmednagar painting is on the theme of Vasanta Ragini – spring song or music. It shows a royal couple sitting on a grand swing, while maidens are playing music and spraying colors with pichkaris.

Social Significance:

Holi helps to bring the society together and strengthen the secular fabric of our country. For, the festival is celebrated by non-Hindus also as everybody like to be a part of such a colorful and joyous festival.

Also, the tradition of the Holi is that even the enemies turn friends on Holi and forget any feeling of hardship that may be present. Besides, on this day people do not differentiate between the rich and poor and everybody celebrate the festival together with a spirit of brotherhood.

In the evening people visit friends and relatives and exchange gifts, sweets and greetings. This helps in revitalizing relationships and strengthening emotional bonds between family and friends.


Mahashivarathri – overcoming darkness and ignorance.

Mahashivarathri – overcoming darkness and ignorance.

Mahashivarathri is a festival which marks the beginning of spring. This major festival, also known as “the great night of Shiva”, celebrates the overcoming of darkness and ignorance.

Story behind Mahashivarathri :

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the festival owes its origins to several versions, one of them being a celebration of Shiva and Parvati’s marriage to each other.  

According to some, Mahashivrathri is celebrated as the day when Shiva saved the world from the pot of poison that emerged from the ocean during Samudra Manthan.

Mahashivarathri is celebrated as a day of gratitude to Lord Shiva for protecting the world from this deadly poison.

The festival is celebrated on the new moon day in the month of Maagha according to the Hindu calendar. The day is celebrated to venerate Lord Shiva, an important deity in Hindu culture.

From that day onwards, the night came to be known as Mahashivrathri and people began worshipping Shiva with a great enthusiasm.

Fasting on Mahashivarathri :

The vrata marks a very high significance for every Shiva devotee, with some opting to even go on fasting through the day without a single drop of water, majority of devotees observe a special fast consisting largely of fruits along with plenty of water and milk which keeps them hydrated.

Mahashivarathri Significance :

Shiva is not only outside of us but within us. Mahashivarathri is an annual festival dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, and is particularly important in the Shaivism tradition of Hinduism.

Unlike most Hindu festivals which are celebrated during the day, the Mahashivarathri is celebrated at night.

Mahashivarathri Celebration in India:

Hindu temples across the country are decorated with lights and colorful decorations and people can be seen offering night long prayers to Shiva Lingam.

Woodapple leaves, cold water and milk are offered to the Shiva Lingam on this day as they are believed to be Lord Shiva’s favorite.

It is believed that the people who fast on this night and offer prayers to Lord Shiva bring good luck into their life.

The most popular Maha Shivrathri celebrations take place in Ujjain, believed to be the place of residence of Lord Shiva.

Pongal – Harvest festival

Pongal  – Harvest festival is dedicated to Sun God. It is a four-day festival which according to the Tamil calendar is usually celebrated from January 14 to January 17.

Happy pongal

The pongal – harvest festival is celebrated as a thanksgiving ceremony for the year’s harvest. Pongal, one of the important Hindu festivals, falls around the same time as Lohri every year, which is around mid-January.

In the Tamil language the word Pongal means “overflowing,” signifying abundance and prosperity.

Thai Pongal corresponds to the harvest festival celebrated throughout India.

Pongal – Significance :

The Thai Pongal day marks the start of the sun’s six-month-long journey northwards (the Uttaraayanam). This also corresponds to the Indic solstice when the sun purportedly enters the 10th house of the Indian zodiac Makara or Capricorn.

Lord Surya Bhagawan

Pongal – harvest festival is mainly celebrated to convey appreciation to the Sun God for a successful harvest. Part of the celebration is the boiling of the first rice of the season dedicated to the Sun – the Surya.

Pongal – History :

The origins of the Thai Pongal festival may date to more than 1000 years ago. Epigraphic evidence suggests the celebration of the Puthiyeedu during the Neduevak Choka Empire days. Puthiyeedu is believed to represent the first harvest of the year.

Tamil people refer to Pongal as “Tamizhar Thirunaal,” the festival of Tamizhs. Thai Pongal, also referred to as Makara Sankranti, is referred to in the classic work of Hindu astrology, the Sruya Siddhanta.

Pongal – Dish :

Pongal dish is made with rice, jiggery  and milk the main ingredients.  This sweet dish includes cardamom, raisings, green gram, and cashew nuts along with ghee. The cooking is done in sunlight, usually in a porch or courtyard, as the dish is dedicated to the Sun god, Surya.

Preparation of pongal

The cooking is done in a clay pot of a copper panai that is decorated with colored patterns called Kolam. Cooking pongal is a traditional practice at Hindu temples during any part of the Temple Festival.

Other names to Pongal festival :

Maghi (preceded by Lohri) by North Indian Hindus and Sikhs

Makara Sankranti (Pedda Pandaga) in Andrhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telengana

Sukarat in Central India

Magh Bihu in Assamese

Pongal in Tamil.

Pongal or Sankranti in Karnataka :

On this festive day, girls wear new clothes to visit relatives and friends with a Sankranti offering in a plate and exchange the same with other families. This ritual is called “Ellu Birodhu.”

Here the plate would contain “Ellu” (white sesame seeds) mixed with fried groundnuts, neatly cut dry coconut and fine cut bella (jaggery). The mixture is called “Ellu-Bella”. The plate contains shaped sugar candy moulds (Sakkare Acchu) with a piece of sugarcane.

There is a saying in Kannada “ellu bella thindu olle maathadi” that translates to ‘eat the mixture of sesame seeds and jaggery and speak only good.’ This festival signifies the harvest of the season, since sugarcane is predominant in these parts.

Ellu Bella, Ellu Unde, bananas, sugarcane, red berries, haldi and kumkum and small gift items useful in everyday lives are often exchanged among women in Karnataka.

Bhogi festival – 1st day of festival

Bhogi Festival

Bhogi is the first day of the four-day Pongal festival. According to the Gregorian calendar it is normally celebrated on 13 January but sometimes it is celebrated on 14 January.

The festival is celebrated in the Southern States of India as the first day of the harvest festival of Pongal.  It is the day of discarding everything that is old and thus bringing in new fortune and prosperity in their lives.

In the Tamil Calendar, this corresponds to the last day of the month of Maargazhi. Bhogi is a festival celebrated widely in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Telangana.

Bhogi Festival – Spiritual significance

The festival of Bhogi is the first day of Pongal and is celebrated in honor of Lord Indra, “the God of Clouds and Rains”. Lord Indra is worshiped for the abundance of harvest, thereby bringing plenty and prosperity to the land.

Thus, Bhogi day is also known as Indran. On Bhogi all people clean out their homes from top to bottom, and collect all unwanted goods. This day is meant for domestic activities and of being together with the family members.

Homes are cleaned and decorated with “Kolam” of “Rangoli”  – floor designs drawn in the white paste of newly harvested rice with outlines of red mud. Often pumpkin flowers are set into cow-dung balls and placed among the patterns on Bhogi day.

Fresh harvest of rice, turmeric and sugarcane is brought in from the field as preparation for the following day.

Bhogi festival – the bonfire

Another ritual observed on Bhogi is Bhogi Mantalu, when useless household articles are thrown into a fire made of wood and cow-dung cakes.

Bhogi Bonfire

Girls dance around the bonfire, singing songs in praise of the gods, the spring and the harvest. The significance of the bonfire, in which is burnt the agricultural wastes and firewood is to keep warm during the last lap of winter.

Other names of Bhogi

  • Bhogi Pandigai
  • Lohri in Punjab and other parts of North India
  • Maghi Bihu or Bhogali Bihu in Assam

Maatu pongal

Maatu Pongal is celebrated the day after Pongal . Cattle is our sources of wealth for providing dairy products, fertilizer and labor for plowing and transportation. On Maatu Pongal, cattle are recognized and afforded affectionately. Features of the day include games such as the Jallikkattu and taming bull.

Jallikattu – Bull taming

On this day celebrants bathe and decorate their cattle with garlands. Cows are decorated with  turmeric water and oil.  Farmers apply Kumkum to their foreheads, paint their horns, and feed them a mixture of venn pongal (Khara pongal), jaggery, honey, banana and other fruits.

In the evening people pray to Lord Ganesha.  One ritual is to light a torch of coconut leaves and carry it around cattle three times and then run to the border of the village to drop it. This is believed to remove the evil influences caused by the jealousy of other people over the cattle.

Vaikunta Ekadasi

Vaikunta Ekadashi is the Shukla Paksha Ekadashi that occurs during the Dhanurmasa or  December month in the Hindu calendar.

The Vaishnavas who worship lord Vishnu believes that ‘Vaikunta Dwaram’ or ‘the gate to the Lord’s Inner Sanctum’ is opened on this day. The Margashirsha Shukla Paksha Ekadashi in the Lunar calendar is known as a ‘Mokshada Ekadashi.’

Devotees of Lord Vishnu observe Ekadashi Vrata and engage in remembering the Supreme Lord by chanting His Holy Names and singing his glories. Ekadashi is the eleventh day of the fortnight of the waning moon and occurs twice in a month.

But the Ekadashi that occurs in the month of Margashirsha (December – January) during the fortnight of waning moon is of special significance and is glorified as Vaikuntha Ekadashi.

Story behind Vaikunta Ekadasi:

Nammalwar (one of the 12 Alwars of Vaishnavas), one of the great devotees in the Sri Sampradaya (the disciplic succession descending from Lakshmi Devi) went back to Godhead on this day. To commemorate this event, in all the Vishnu temples, the Vaikuntha Dwara (the gate to Vaikuntha) a special entrance in the north side of the temple is opened once in a year on this particular day.

                                                           Vaikunta dwara

Once, the Devas got so irritated with the attacks of the demon Muran that they appealed and prayed to Lord Shiva but he directed them to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu got a new weapon that was needed to kill Muran.

One day, when Vishnu  was taking rest, Muran tried to kill him.  A  female energy emerged from Vishnu’s body and destroyed Muran into ashes. Then, Lord Vishnu named her Ekadashi and wanted to bless her with a boon. It is also believed that Ekadashi later told Lord Vishnu that whoever keeps a fast on that day will reach Vaikunta.

On the day of Vaikuntha Ekadashi, observers keep a strict fast. They do not eat or drink anything all through the day. The person who desires to keep the Vaikuntha Ekadashi fast should only eat once on ‘dashami’ (10th day).

Complete fasting is observed on ekadashi. Devotees, who are not capable to fast completely, can even eat fruits and milk. Eating rice and grains is not allowed. 

Significance of Vaikuntha Ekadashi:

Vaikuntha Ekadashi is an auspicious and important day for Hindus. The greatness of this sacred day has been described in several Hindu religious scriptures like ‘Padma Purana’. As per the legends, it is believed that fasting on the day of Vaikuntha Ekadashi gives the same benefits as obtained by fasting on the remaining 23rd ekadashis in the Hindu calendar. Devotees perform the Vaikuntha Ekadashi fast to be liberated from their sins and attain salvation.

It is believed that anyone who enters the Vaikuntha Dwara on this day is guaranteed to attain the spiritual abode. Special prayers, yagnas discourses and speeches are arranged at Vishnu temples across the world on this auspicious day.

Vaikunta is the dwelling place of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. “Vaikunta” means there is no deficiency.  When your heart sheds all egos and is devoted completely to Lord Vishnu, you get to reach Vaikunta after life.

Dharma samsthapanarthaya sambavame yuge yuge –  Lord Krishna

Deepavali – festival of lights

Deepavali – festival of lights

Deepavali is called the Festival of Lights and is celebrated to honor Rama-chandra, the seventh avatar (incarnation of the god Vishnu). It is believed that on this day Rama returned to his people after 14 years of exile during which he fought and won a battle against the demons and the demon king, Ravana.

This festival is celebrated exactly 20 days after the celebration of Dusshera, another major Hindu festival. On this day of Deepavali, Goddess for wealth and prosperity is worshipped. People illuminate their houses and streets with lights and earthen lamps to lighten up the night. ‘Deep’ meaning earthen lamps justifies the sacredness of the festival.

The lamps are said to ward off the evil forces and signifies the triumph of the good over evil power. Even the poorest of homes light some lamps to celebrate this day. People light firecrackers which add to the light and color of the night. Beautiful multi colored Rangoli and floral decorations beautify the houses. The glamour and shimmer all around the country fulfills the significance of the festival.

This festival is celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. The festival, which coincides with the Hindu New Year, celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.

For many Indians this five day festival honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Lamps are lit to help Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, find her way into people’s homes.

Southern India celebrates it as the day that Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura.

Deepavali  is not only celebrated by Hindus. The festival is also a sacred occasion for Jains and Sikhs. In Jainism, the holiday marks the attainment of moksha (or release from the cycle of samsara — meaning life, death, and rebirth) by its founder, Mahavira, who preached nonviolence and compassion.

Mrs.  Sudha Murthy inaugurates Naada Habba Dasara at Mysuru

Mrs. Sudha Murthy inaugurates Naada Habba Dasara at Mysuru

Padma Shree Award winner Mrs. Sudha Murthy, Infosys Foundation Chairperson, social activist, philanthropist and writer and wife of Infosys Co-founder Narayana Murthy inaugurated the world famous Dasara festivities on Oct.10 atop the iconic Chamundi Hills at 7.30 AM.

Susha Murthy was accompanied by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, district in-charge minister G T Devegowda , Tourism Minister Sa Ra Mahesh, MP Prathap Simha, and several ministers at the occasion.  Hundreds of people witnessed the inaugural ceremony of the 10-day festival.

Paying tributes to the royal family of Mysuru, Mrs. Sudha Murthy said the State owed the Mysuru Maharajas for protecting Kannada heritage and culture by organizing the Nada Habba Dasara during their reign.

After the inauguration, Sudha Murthy announced that the Infosys Foundation would spend Rs 25 crore to construct houses in flood-hit Kodagu district.  Sudha Murthy said Infosys will construct the houses for the people in Kodagu and asked the government to provide other facilities such as roads and drinking water.

The origin of the festival is rooted in mythology.  Dasara was celebrated by the rulers of Vijayanagar empire (1336 AD to 1646 AD) and documented by Medieval travelers such as Abdur Razzak of Persia and Domingo Paes of Portugal.  The tradition was inherited by the Wadiyars and the scale and grandeur of their celebrations made Dasara synonymous with Mysuru.

This 10-day naada habba showcases the best of the ancient and modern cultural practices of the State. From classical music and dance to latest from the world of Indipop, and adventure sports to conventional track and field events, the range and repertoire of events are vast.

An interesting aspect of Mysuru Dasara is its celebrations by the members of the Wadiyar family inside the palace with all the trappings of regalia, complete with the golden throne, ‘khas durbar’, caparisoned elephants, and the royal procession.

The highlight of the Jambu Savari will be the procession of tableaus and folk artistes and caparisoned elephant Arjuna carrying up the ‘Golden howdah’ with the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari.

The grand finale – the famed Jamboo Savari (Vijayadashmi procession) – will begin from the palace premises on October 19.



Bombe Habba or Dasara/Navaratri

Bombe Habba or Dasara/Navaratri

The festival of Navaratri or Bombe habba dawns the day after Mahalaya Amavasya and prayers are offered to the nine forms of Goddess Durga, who symbolizes Shakthi (Power) in the course of the festival.  It culminates on Vijayadashami.

The entire family, from toddlers to the elders come together to partake of the merriment of this festival.  The festival called the ‘Naada Habba’, in our State is a source of joy for families, communities and the entire State.

‘Gombe habba’ (Festival of dolls) is a tradition of the festive display of dolls and figurines in South India during the autumn festive season, particularly around the multiday Navaratri (Dussehra, Dasara). They are also known as Kolu, Golu, Bommai Kolu or Bommala Koluvu.  The dolls are adored through ritual worship and offerings during the celebrations. On the first day of Navaratri, following Ganapathi pooja, a welcoming ritual is performed for goddesses Dura by Hindu ritual called Kalasa Ahvanam which is performed by an elderly male or female of the family.

The dolls are neatly arranged on a stepped platform. The display is arranged in nine steps to coincide with nine days of the festival. Gombe habba is a unique tradition and started several centuries ago by the early rulers of Wadiyar dynasty. The dolls festival dates back to the period of Raja Wadiyar in the 16th century. Initially, the idol of Gowri was decorated in a special manner and worshipped for nine days. By the end of the 18th century, the royal family introduced dolls.

Children are fascinated with dolls representing scenes from mythological stories (as told by their grandmother). Enthusiastic kids help their mothers in bedecking “Pattada Gombe” (Raja Rani dolls) or ‘Marapaachhi bommai’ and other dolls, and help their fathers in building the platform to arrange the dolls.

In southern India, bride is presented with ‘Marapacchi Bommai’ during the wedding by her parents as part of wedding trousseau to initiate the yearly tradition of ‘Navaratri Golu’ in her new home with her husband. Dolls depicting Ramayana, Mahabharatha and Lord Krishna idol collections will be displayed.   Most of the dolls are made of either wood or clay, a testament to the times when the city had potters and clay artisans in abundance.  Even today, families that observe Gombe Habba place orders for dolls, usually Gods and Goddesses, every year with the potters to encourage them to continue the tradition.   It is a custom to add a few new dolls every year.

The arrangement of dolls revolved around the ‘Pattada Bombe’ made out of Chandana wood (sandalwood), are procured from Thirupati.

The practice of preparing ‘bombe bagina’ or a snack or ‘Sundal’ on all the nine days is a popular affair during the Dasara festival.  The festival is also a gourmand’s delight, since the goddess is propitiated with a wide savouries like Holige, Yellunde, Chakli, Nippattu and sundal, are among the delicacies kids eagerly wait to sink their teeth into and which will be distributed among friends and family. Children would invite friends to their home to have a glimpse of the dolls arrangements and ‘gombe aarati’.

Durga is believed to have fought the demon for 10 days and 9 nights and the name Vijayadashmi is derived from Sanskrit, Vijaya-Dasshami (Victory).  According to legend, nine manifestations of Durga – Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandra Ghanta (Chandra Khanda), Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayini, Kalaratri, Maha Gauri and Siddhidatri (Siddhidayini) – are collectively called Navadurga.  Each of them is worshipped on a different night of Nabaratri.  The goddess who manifested on nine successive nights os Sharannavarathri to defeat the devious Mahisha and scores of his commanders are worshipped across the country.

Ayudha Pooja, 9th day of the festival is wherein people pay their respects to the many implements they use.  Vehicles and utensils are washed and decorated since people perceive them as a form of shakthi and also on this day Saraswati Puja, a special puja offered to goddess Saraswati,  the divine source of wisdom and enlightenment. Books and musical instruments are placed in the puja and worshipped as a source of knowledge.

Vijayadashami, the 10th day marks the victory or Durga over the demon Mahishasura, according to legends.  on the evening of Vijayadasami, one of the doll from the display is symbolically put to sleep, and the Kalasa is moved a bit towards North to mark the end of that year’s Navaratri golu. Prayers are offered to thank the Lord for the successful completion of that year’s Kolu and with hope of a successful one the next year.  It is on this auspicious day that the world famous Jambu Savari or Ambari procession is held in Mysuru.

Near and dear ones are invited and it has become a ritual.  In this way, the festival has a lot of social significance. For children, it is an occasion where they get exposed to our valued tradition.  It could be stories from the Ramayana or Mahabharata or the variety of deities that descend in the form of dolls, kids get a glimpse of our cultural heritage.

The end of Dasara adumbrates the arrival of Deepavali.

Bangaloreans Welcome Ganesha With Great Devotion & Enthusiasm

While all of us were eagerly waiting for Lord Ganesha to hit the roads of the city soon, the celebrations of the grand festival went really well.

This festival cum carnival is the sign of togetherness and a gala of frolic that beautifully amalgamates our rich culture and art. From huge Ganesha idols to sectarian pandals, orchestra, khadbu, and chickpeas sundal, Ganesha Chaturthi, like always, goes in full swing. This is the reason staggering celebration of this festival is a standout amongst the most commended celebrations in India.


Ganesh Chaturthi or Ganeshotsav is commended on the fourth day of Bhadrapada month, which falls at the end of August or early September, every year. Usually, it is celebrated for 11 days, but many people do the visarjana on the same day or the next day.

When talking about Ganesh Utsav in Bangalore, APS School Grounds, Basvanagudi is known for its greatest and longest running Ganesha pandal in Bangalore. Forum Value Mall, Koramangala is also known for its greatest flea market. The three and a half lakh square foot of throbbing diversion and brand infiltrating retailing all under one roof is worth the visit. Apart from this, Inorbit mall, Orion mall, and Prestige Shantiniketan are also perfect places to pick up some out of the box pooja material, décor items, and mouth-watering desserts.

This is not it “Observing Ganesha” by EKA has developed an exciting occasion in the city, which draws a huge number of aficionados and is a perfect place to showcase your innovativeness. Here you can capture the fun of making Ganesha before the festival. Talking of the temples, Panchamukhi Heramba Ganapati Temple, Ananda Nagar Ganapati Temple, and Shri Jambu Ganapati temple carry immense crowd on this special day. On this special occasion, how can you forget Techie Ganesha temple in Koramangala and Power Ganesha temple in Jayanagar 4th Block, which attracts a lot of software professionals from around the city

The Eco-Friendly Sugarcane Ganesha

This time Sathya Sai Trust in Bengaluru did their Ganesha idol using sugarcane and shunned away PoP completely. Every year they come up with some new ideas for Ganesh Utsav, but this time they decided to go eco-friendly. They used around five tons of sugarcane and took almost a month and a half to finish the magnificent idol of Ganesha.

The Desi “Ganesha Habba”, Bangalore Style

Ganesha habba is always incomplete without a tint of our desi celebration at home. While most of the people follow the tradition, buy Ganesha idols, perform pooja and do visarjan, there are many people who always think out of the box and go an extra mile to make the festivity more memorable, every year.

Bhargava N, a resident of Uttrahalli, is a crazy Lord Ganesha aficionado, who knows just how much sugar should be added to get the right flavor for the big day.

Known for her innovative ideas to decorate her small pandal at home, Bhargavi tries to do something new every year on this festive occasion.

She not only organizes eco-friendly Ganesha making workshops at her home, with a professional sculptor who teaches the art of clay sculpting and turning clay into beautiful Ganeshas but also ensures that the festivity spirit is high in all the people around her.

The spirit of Ganesha festival reflects in our culture and Lord Ganesha brings wisdom, prosperity and big fortune with this big day.

Read more related to Ganesha festival:

Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan

In India, festivals are the celebration of togetherness, of being one of the family. Raksha Bandhan is one such festival that is all about affection, fraternity and sublime sentiments. It is also known as Raksha Bandhan which means a ‘bond of protection’. This is an occasion to flourish love, care, affection and sacred feeling of brotherhood.  Rakshabandhan, or simply Rakhi, is an Indian and Nepalese festival centered around the tying of a thread, bracelet or talisman on the wrist as a form of bond and ritual protection.

This venerable festival had taken its roots on the Indian soil in the 16th century. The medieval history of India tells us that when Chittorgarh was besieged by the vicious Sultan of Gujarat Bahadur Shah, the widowed queen of Rana Sanga, Rani Karunawati had appealed to then Mughal emperor Humayun for refuge with a sacred thread as a token of her cordiality with the emperor. The Mughal emperor gladly accepted the proposal and vowed to defy her sister’s foes. From that day onwards, Rakhi has been visualized as a pledge for the defense of a sister from all adversities.

A noteworthy instance relates to the time during the partition of Bengal in 1905, when this festival was collectively celebrated by all Hindus and Muslims on the advice of Rabindranath Tagore. This was proposed as the determination to rule out all possibilities of communal violence.

Raksha Bandhan, the Indian festival symbolizes sibling love. On this day, a sister ties a sacred thread, called Rakhi, on her brother’s wrist and prays for his long life. The brother also promises to be there for her sister. The siblings also exchange gifts and sweets and spend the day together reminiscing their childhood and making more happy memories together.

Only the means have changed with the changing lifestyle to make the celebration more elaborate and lively. This day has an inherent power that pulls the siblings together. The increasing distances evoke the desire to be together even more. All brothers and sisters try to reach out to each other on this auspicious day. The joyous meeting, the rare family get-together, that erstwhile feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood calls for a massive celebration.

Happy Raksha Bandhan to all the brothers-sisters.

Read more related to Indian festival:

Varalakshmi Pooja – Story behind the Vrata

Varalakshmi Pooja – Story behind the Vrata

India is a country with many traditional values, cultures, religions, and festivals. Our country has people of various religions like Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Jain, Christian etc. Some of the festivals are celebrated at the national level whereas some at a regional level. Among many festivals, Varamahalakshmi Vrata is an important Hindu Festival. The day is majorly celebrated in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.

Varamahalakshmi Pooja is a festival to propitiate the goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, one of the Hindu Trinity. This festival is the most auspicious Pooja, performed by a married woman to commemorate Goddess Mahalakshmi.  Worshipping Goddess Lakshmi on this day is equivalent to worshipping Ashtalakshmi (8 Lakshmi)  – Goddesses of Wealth (Shri), Earth (Bhu), Learning (Saraswati), Love (Priti), Fame (Kirti), Peace (Shanti), Pleasure (Tushti) and strength (Pushti) for the well being of all the family members, especially husband, to get progeny etc.

According to Skanda Purana, once Goddess Parvati asked Lord Shiva about a vrata that will be beneficial to women. Lord Shiva then mentioned the importance of Varalakshmi Vrata, which is the most beneficial vrata for women. To illustrate the importance of the Varamahalakshmi Vrat, Lord Shiva narrated the story of Charumati.  Pleased with Charumati’s devotion to her husband and family, Goddess Lakshmi appeared in her dream and asked her to perform the Varalakshmi Vratha. She explained to her the procedures of the Vrata.  The pious Charumati invited all her neighbors, friends and relatives and performed the Varalakshmi puja as directed by Goddess Lakshmi. Soon after the puja, all the people who participated in the puja were blessed with wealth and prosperity.

The prescribed day for the pooja is the Friday of the month of Sravana in the fortnight known as Sukla paksha, preceding the full moon day.  As per beliefs, Varalakshmi was incarnated from the milky ocean or the Kshir Sagar. Varalakshmi is often described as someone with the complexion of milky ocean. While mainly women observe fast on this day, some men also participate.

On the day of the festival women after taking bath, make a rangoli on the place where the kalasha is placed. The sacred Kalasha (brass/copper/silver) filled with rice and topped with fresh betel or mango leaves, a coconut and cloth are placed on the mandala and Lakshmi is invoked. Goddess Lakshmi is invoked by decorating the Kalasa with flowers, jewelry, vastra, fruits, dry fruits, fresh grains, sweets, and savories. Someplace coins or rupee notes or make a garland of notes. The Vratha is performed with the beginning of Puja to Lord Ganesha. Then the main worship of Varalakshmi begins.  A holy thread which is tied during Varalakshmi Pooja is called as Doraka and sweets offered to Varalakshmi is known as Vayana.

If one misses the Varalakshmi Vrata day or failed to observe it, they can do it during the following Friday or another option is to observe it during a Friday in Dusheera/Navaratri.

Read more related to this article: