Kathmandu, Jan 12, 2017: The first day of the month-long Madhav Narayan festival saw hundreds of Hindu devotees in Nepal taking part in a mass holy bath ritual in the famous Sali River situated in the ancient town of Sankhu.
Devotees fast, chant hymns, meditate and take holy dips to pay tribute to Hindu Goddess Swasthani, who is supposed to bring good fortune to them.
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The devotees take only one meal a day without salt and also take around the city of Sankhu barefoot worshipping at different Hindu temples. Pashupatinath and Changu Narayan temples are must visits for paying tribute.
Daiba Shrestha, a local resident of Sankhu told PTI that “ This time a total of 205 devotees are taking part in the month-long festival by observing Brata, during which they take only one meal a day without salt”.
The worshippers also spend time studying the religious book of Swasthani, which relates to the lives of the Goddess and Hindu God Shiva. While men pray for good fortune, married women pray for the well being and prosperity of their husbands and children, and unmarried women pray asking for suitable spouse.
New Delhi, October 18, 2017: Diwali is around the corner and everyone is busy with the preparations. On the eve of Diwali, the most important ritual is to perform Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja during the right muhurat (time) and with the right rituals(vidhi).
Here are some of the things you must take care of:
Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja Rituals
It is important that on the day of Diwali, you wake up early in the morning and pay homage to your ancestors and worship gods of your family. It is advised to observe a day-long-fast until the Ganesh-Lakshmi puja is performed in the evening.
Preparations For Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja
Families can embellish their home and office with Asoka and Marigold flowers, banana and mango leave on the day of the puja. Mangal Kalash covered with unpeeled coconut should be placed at both side of the main entrance of your house.
For puja preparation, place at the right hand side a red cloth on a hoisted platform and put in idols of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh on it after gracing them with jewellery and clothes. Once this is done, Navgraha gods must be placed on the left hand side on a hoisted platform under white cloth. Prepare carefully nine slots of Akshata (unbroken rice) for placing Navgraha on white cloth and sixteen slots of wheat must prepared for the red cloth. You should perform puja with all the important rituals.
Timings (Muhurat) for Lakshmi Puja
Pradosh Kaal muhurat is the time during which puja needs to be performed. It starts after sunset and lasts for about 2 hours and 24 minutes. Goddess Lakshmi will stay in your home if you perform Lakshmi puja in the Pradosh Kaal when it is Sthir Lagna time. Sthir refers to ‘immovable.’ Before you do the puja, make sure you find out Pradosh Kaal (time) for your city or area. It is important that you know the right time to perform the puja.
– prepared by Siddheshwar Sharma. Twitter: @MancSiddheshwar
Kolkata, Sep 19, 2017: From traditional local delicacies like fresh river prawns cooked in coconut cream and hilsa in pineapple gravy to international dishes such as Caribbean chicken steak or fish in hoisin sauce, city eateries are gearing up to woo revellers during Bengal’s biggest carnival, the Durga Puja.
The metropolis’ fine dining hubs have spiced up their menus with buffets, mostly including lavish platters — both traditional and continental — ahead of the festival, set to be celebrated between September 26 and 30.
The Taj Bengal, a landmark hotel in the heart of south Kolkata, will keep its doors open round-the-clock during the Puja days, exhibiting mouth-watering spreads for brunch, lunch and dinner.
The Sonargaon outlet will have on its menu narkel diye cholar dal (Bengal gram tempered with cumin, coconut shavings and ginger), Sonargaon chingri malai curry (fresh river prawns cooked in coconut cream), sorse bata illish (river hilsa cooked in mustard sauce), and pabnar murgi (chicken morsels cooked in onion-based gravy with a hint of radhuni seeds).
While the chingri and hilsa thali will cost Rs 2,900 per head, non-vegetarian gourmands will have to shell out Rs 2,500 for a sumptuous meal at the eatery. For vegetarians, the price will come down to Rs 2,200.
For those who want to try something that is not cooked at home on a regular basis, The Hub, the hotel’s multi-cuisine restaurant, offers a range of continental and Indian dishes like murgh badami shorba, Kabuli pulao, phulkopir paturi, mozzarella melt, prawn and mascarpone pie.
For dessert, foodies can spoil themselves with gajjar halwa sita bhog and dry fruit milk cake. The buffet will have unlimited cocktails and mocktails all tucked into a price tag of Rs 2,450.
At Novotel Kolkata Hotels and Residences, in the heart of Kolkata’s IT hub in Rajarhat, the breakfast assortment during the Puja days includes bhog khichudi, heeng kachori, aloor dum and jalebi.
The pocket pinch here would be within Rs 1,300 — with breakfast priced at Rs 900, lunch at Rs 999 and dinner for Rs 1,299.
For a filling lunch on Ashtami (September 28) afternoon, look no further than the hotel’s Studio restaurant, the pan-Asian galerie serving sorshe illish, illish paturi, chingri malai curry, kosha mangsho, narkel bata chingri, mangsher kofta pulao, pui sager chorchori, channar kalia and toker dal among many mouth-watering dishes.
“Traditional delicacies will be the focus. Somehow we have seen during the Durga Puja days just everyone wants to eat Bengali food,” Neelabh Sahay, Executive Chef of Novotel, told IANS.
People eager for a different flavour can try the Afra Tafri on Camac street, a posh and bustling south Kolkata locality.
From pan-fried fish with chilli basil sauce to Caribbean chicken steak, fish in hoisin sauce, and cottage cheese garlic, this gastropub will also be easy on the pocket. The buffet price is kept at Rs 699, inclusive of all taxes.
“Keeping in mind the various ways of satisfying the food lover’s taste buds, we introduced the contemporary festive buffet which will be available at Afra Tafri on the festive days of Durga Puja,” Chef Mohammad Feroz Hussain said.
Before you burp, for those who have a sweet tooth, Park Plaza in South Kolkata’s Ballygunge will offer chhana toast from Krishnagar in Nadia district and langcha from Tarapith, a small temple town near Rampurhat in Birbhum district.
“We want our customers to get the original flavour. That’s why we will bring the sweets from where they belong,” Chef Gautam Kumar told IANS.
There will also be “chat contests” for those who will avail the buffet priced at Rs 999 for lunch and Rs 1,199 for dinner.
Back on Camac Street, the gastropub Monkey Bar has lined up a specially curated “thaala meal” of home-style Bengali delicacies specially curated by Kolkata-based home chef, food critic and passionate foodie Iti Misra. The offerings come in three variants — vegetarian, fish and chicken — at a price range of Rs 999 to Rs 1,299.
(Debayan Mukherjee can be contacted at email@example.com)
On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent
Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.
Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.
Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!
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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.
As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.
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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.
The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.
Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.