Tuesday April 23, 2019
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Ganesh Chaturthi: Ganpati aala re!

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By Ridham Gambhir

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New Delhi:  When the streets of Mumbai are flooded with people and not rain and hues of red and yellow fill the welkin, we know the birthday of our beloved elephant-headed god is here! Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi,  is a 10-day long festival that is celebrated with much zeal in Maharashtra and Karnataka. However, the celebration is not limited to just these two states in India, as migration has taken the festival to other places as well.

Historically, Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations were initiated in Maharashtra by Chatrapati Shivaji and has continued ever since. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, also known by the name of Lokmanya Tilak, is attributed with making the festival popular during the freedom struggle, and later giving it the festival a, somewhat, national identity.

This grand birthday commences with artistic idols, in various hues and colours, ranging from 6 inches to 70 feets (even higher), being made and erected at public places. These huge structures, often decorated with flowers, leaves, coloured paper and LED bulbs, are known as pandals.  Modak, a round shaped sweet made from khoaa (prepared by continuously boiling the milk) and dry fruits, remains the most widely prepared and distributed sweet dish, hymns from the Rig Veda, the Ganapati Atharvashirsa and Upanishads, are continuously chanted.

The contemporary celebrations include installations of clay or plastic idols of the deity in public (or even private spaces) wherein the idol is worshipped for a span of 10 days. On day 11, the idol is immersed in a water body to observe Ganesh’s farewell. The ritual is known as Ganesh Visarjan.  The process witnesses multitude of people  swinging and gyrating to dhol beats.

This 10-day merry making is not simply a festival. It is an economic activity on which depends the livelihood of many12033600_10200988364227217_28286165_n

artistes and businessmen. In accordance with the local civic body, a total of  1, 91,000 idols were installed across the city in 2014; out of which, 10,350 were at Sarvajanik Ganesh Mandals and 1,80,650 belonged to locals.

The magnanimity of this event is experienced the most at Lalbaugcha Raja, which is the most famous Sarvajanik Ganapati. The idol placed here meets  maximum devotees during this 10-day period.

However, if we cast the festival revelry aside, the environment is damaged to quite an extent. The idols, which are made of non-biodegradable materials such as PoP (Plaster of Paris), when immersed hit the marine life adversely and cause a great deal of  harm to the water quality, aquatic life and bodies.

While ‘To Make a Difference’ (TMAD), a Bengaluru-based organisation, delivers eco-friendly Ganesha idols at your doorstep, another Mumbai-based NGO has launched the #GodSaveTheOcean campaign.  The organization manufactures 9-inch Ganesha idols that are ocean-friendly.

Ganesh Chaturthi  is a festival of vigor and enthusiasm and much awaited too. So, celebrate the days wholeheartedly and in an eco-friendly manner!

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The Craft of Distilling Is Ancient, Different Story Behind Every Bottle

The craft of distilling is very ancient and recipes have been handed down generations. To me, food and spirits are very culture-centric and each dish or drink is an experience of this culture and have a lot of story to it.

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The aim is for the curated audience to meet curated brands and learn about their stories. We consciously wanted to create a small, well-curated festival that encourages such conversations amongst the visitors," Prakash elaborated. Pixabay

Every bottle of alcohol has a tale to tell and to celebrate this, over 20 international masters, distillers, mixologists and story tellers will gather in Mumbai over the weekend on a platform that celebrates the craft of distillers and distilleries. It will also be a rite of passage for the new consumer who is open to experiencing luxury beverages that are a product of passion and commitment and are produced in small batches, without any compromise on quality.

“Every bottle has a tale, waiting to be shared – of its founder, of the distiller, of the wood in which it lay, of the people who built the spirit, of the mixologist who decided to `play’ with it and more. Listen, learn and celebrate the people behind the spirits,” Keshav Prakash, who began his career as an advertising filmmaker and then travelled the world to discover the world of fine spirts, told IANS of The Vault Biennale at the Mahalakshmi Race Course.

“The craft of distilling is very ancient and recipes have been handed down generations. To me, food and spirits are very culture-centric and each dish or drink is an experience of this culture and have a lot of story to it.

“For example, making whiskey is a tradition native to Scotland, much like rum to the Caribbean, Mezcal to the Mexico and so on. These are parts of their values and teachings handed over from generation to generation, with much love and celebration, making it an intrinsic part of a living culture,” Prakash explained.

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will also be a rite of passage for the new consumer who is open to experiencing luxury beverages that are a product of passion and commitment and are produced in small batches, without any compromise on quality. Pixabay

The event is open to only 400 aficionados each day.

“We envision two kinds of visitors at the Biennale – one who are newly immersing themselves in fine spirits and others who know their single malt, gin, whiskey etc. The aim is for the curated audience to meet curated brands and learn about their stories. We consciously wanted to create a small, well-curated festival that encourages such conversations amongst the visitors,” Prakash elaborated.

Also Read: The Unconventional Way of Learning: Textbooks Come Alive in Gujarat’s Schools
What will be on offer?

Over 50 handpicked fine beverage brands like Kilchoman Machir Bay, Rémy Martin, Cotswolds Gin, and Amrut Peated Port Pipe. Leading the audience will be mixologists from World’s 50 Best Bars, among them Hiroyasu Kayama of Tokyo, Alex Simonidis & Georgia Georgakopoulou of Athens and Jose Luis Leon of Mexico City. (IANS)