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Monday, October 15, 2012

A COMPLETE GUIDE FOR NAVARATHRI / THE BEGINNERS GUIDE TO NAVARATHRI / HOW TO KEEP NAVARATHRI KOLU(GOLU) / NAVARATHRI GOLU IDEAS AND RECIPES

A COMPLETE GUIDE FOR NAVARATHRI, DUSSEHRA,NAVARATHRI RECIPES
A COMPLETE GUIDE FOR NAVARATHRI,NAVARATHRI RECIPES,DUSSEHRA,HOW TO CELEBRATE NAVARATHRI,HOW TO KEEP NAVARATHRI KOLU(GOLU), NAVARATHRI GOLU IDEAS AND RECIPES


SCROLL DOWN TO THE END OF THIS POST FOR SALT SUNDAL, SWEET SUNDAL AND THE RECIPE LINKS.

HAPPY NAVARATHRI.  


The power behind creation is Shakthi in her three aspects: Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. We have to pray and invoke this Shakthi to assist us in reaching our ultimate goal, which is realization of Oneness.


Navarathri reminds all women, who are the guardians of the family, culture, and integrity, to guide the family towards the path of justice, love, and divinity. Navarathri is celebrated all over India, Nepal and also Mauritius. Also known as Vijayadasami, Dasara, Dussehra in India and Mauritius; Dashain in Nepal. It is celebrated as “victory of good over evil”. Different regions have their unique Navaratri celebrations in India.

"Nava" means nine and "Rathri" means night. And Navaratri is"nine nights". Goddess Durga is worshipped on the first three days of the festival. The next three days Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped and then Goddess Saraswati is worshipped on the last three days. The tenth day is "Vijayadasami". Vijaya means "victory", the victory over our own minds which comes when we worship these three goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Thus, Navarathri signifies our spiritual awakening.

Coming to the celebrations in South India, the interesting part is arranging Kolu for the festival. What is kolu? It is arranging dolls in steps. Neighbours are invited to see the kolu daily. While we were young, we wear pattu paavadai, go to all neighbours' house, see the kolu, sing songs and come back with a full bag of sundals and goodies. Navaratri always brings memories of my childhood, which was so joyful with kolu, sundal, pattu and paattu. As a kid, I never understood the work involved in all these preparations. But, I used to assist my parents in arranging the golu. In those days, sundal and eatables were given in mandhara ilai, vazhai sarugu ilai, dhonnais or butter paper covers. 

Things to be done before:
Kolu steps can be made to order or readymade golu padi can be bought from shops well in advance, keeping in mind the availability of space and dolls. The pavement shops and gift shops will be flooded and stocked with dolls and decoration items a month before Navarathri. The street shops have a splendid array of ceramic, clay, terracota and paper mache dolls. Brass dolls can be shopped in showrooms and metal stores. It is customary to buy atleast one new doll each year. Buy thamboolam items like betel leaves, betel nuts, turmerics, turmeric powder, kumkum, sandal powder, camphor, incense sticks, gingelly oil or ghee for lamp etc. Fruits, flowers, garlands and tulasi  can be bought fresh on a daily basis. Plan the ideas, theme and decorations you wish to do and do the shopping well in advance.  If you plan to give any gift alongwith thamboolam, shop for it too. Giving gifts concept was not there before. It developed in the recent years. So, these gifts are NOT compulsory and can be decided according to one's mights. Also shop for the groceries, lentils to make sundal etc. Also buy cups, covers etc. Nowadays, people prefer eco- friendly navarathri. If so, roll back to the olden days method of giving sundal and eatables in dhonnai, paakku mattai cups, cloth / jute bags etc. Shop for it too.

A couple of days before Navarathri, 
Clean your silver items as said here 
Clean your copper items as said here

How to arrange?:

Arranging  navarathri kolu is an event by itself. On Mahalaya Amavasai day, draw 'Izhai kolam' in Perumal sannidhi and the place where we are planning to keep kolu. Put 'izhai kolam' in wooden planks. Neivedhyams can be arranged on this plank. First arrange a grand backdrop. Take out the 'padis'. 'Padis' are steps made of wood, or readymade steps which are arranged in odd numbers, in the order 3, 5, 7 or 9. The 9 steps represents the 9 days. Some people arrange 11 steps also.  Cover the padis with a clean white cloth. Pin it up neatly to fit the contour of the steps. The arrangement of steps depends on the availability of dolls in one's house, time and space. It is customary to buy atleast one new doll each year. The "Kolu Bommais" (earthen dolls) are arranged on the steps in a specific order. Some families have the tradition of keeping "kalasam" also in the kolu. The kalasam is a small brass or silver pot and is filled with fresh water. The mouth of the vessel is covered with a silk cloth, on top of it mango leaves and a coconut is placed. This is kept in the topmost step. The most important doll to be kept in the  golu is the "marapachi bommai". 'Marapachi dolls' are made out of a specific red wood and the figurines are available in various sizes. 'Marapachi dolls' are a pair of male and female dolls and is sold as a couple.  Dress the marapachi couple beautifully with silk garments and ornaments. The female doll should be kept to the right of the male doll. Starting with Pillaiyar, the God and goddess idols are kept in the top 3 steps. The dolls can be arranged according to one's faith and as per the family custom. Mostly the top 3 steps are for deities. The elders at home, guide on  how to arrange the dolls as per family custom. A chettiar doll (shopkeeper) is kept in the last step with rice, tur dal and groceries in front of him. 

Nowadays, people keep thematic golu too. Thematic golu dolls are available in the market.  Creative persons get properties from the market and create the thematic golu on their own. It is the divinity in creativity. There are a lot of new, good concepts. 


A COMPLETE GUIDE FOR NAVARATHRI, DUSSEHRA,NAVARATHRI RECIPES

A COMPLETE GUIDE FOR NAVARATHRI, DUSSEHRA,NAVARATHRI RECIPES

A COMPLETE GUIDE FOR NAVARATHRI, DUSSEHRA,NAVARATHRI RECIPES
Photo courtesy : My friend Lata (5 steps)
A COMPLETE GUIDE FOR NAVARATHRI, DUSSEHRA,NAVARATHRI RECIPES
7 steps golu/kolu at my mom's home
Things done on all the ten days:

These are the practices and traditions done in our family.  Each family has a different tradition. Some families do not have the practice of keeping kolu, i.e.,the dolls are not displayed but all other rituals like offerings, poojas and slokas chanting are done. Beginners can ask your elders for your family traditions. If there are no elders, you can follow this. 

A mixture of cowdung and water is sprinkled on the frontyard. Kolams and Rangoli are drawn on mornings and evenings on all the ten days in the frontyard and also before the kolu. Lamps are lit on all mornings and evenings.

Daily pooja is conducted in the morning with chanting of slokas and prasadam. Pooja and Parayanam procedures can be done as per family traditions. To those who are interested in pooja vidhanam, many books are available in stores as to how to perform the pooja. The slokas can be googled and books are available in pooja stores as well.

Prasadam is offered in the evenings also and songs from "navavarna krithis" are sung. Songs in praise of Goddesses are sung. Many ladies are invited and will be offered "thamboolam" which contains betel leaf, betelnut, turmeric, small mirror and a comb. Any other goodies according to one's mights, can be added if interested. Small girls(Kanyas) are considered as form of Lakshmi and thamboolam is  offered to them also. The ladies and kids who are invited also sing songs in praise of the Goddesses and the daily pooja ends in the night with an "Arathi" to the kolu.

"Saraswathi Pooja" and "Ayudha Pooja" is celebrated on the 9th day. Books, tools and musical instruments are kept in Pooja on "Saraswathi Pooja" day. Poojas are done for the vehicles at our home as it plays an important role in our daily life. Vijayadasami day is very auspicious for new ventures. Kids are enrolled in music classes, games classes etc. People gift their gurus with "vasthram"(clothes) and get their blessings.

On the 10th day night take 'arathi' and put the dolls to 'sleep'. Next day, wrap everything carefully with cloth and paper and pack neatly. This can be used for the following year.

Do's and Don'ts:

Do's: 
1. Have bath daily in the early morning.  Wear fresh clothes.
2. Offer home made neivedhyams (list of neivedhyams are given below) daily. People who cannot afford monetarywise, offer atleast milk and fruits.
3. Light lamp in the morning and evening. Offer flowers daily.
4. Eat only Saatvic Food. 
5. Try to give thamboolam to ladies and at least 2 small girl children, every day preferably in the evening. 
7. Recite slokas of Goddesses daily and pray for the well being of the family and to guide the family towards the path of justice, love, and divinity.  
8. Do arati daily at the end of the day.

Don'ts: 
1. Do not dust your home. Dust before the festival starts. 
2. Do not bite or cut your nails on Navarathri. 
3. Do not stitch. It is believed that  Mahalashmi does penance in the tip of the needle. (Generally, stitching with needle is not done on Fridays and Tuesdays).
4. Do not quarrel, do not shout loudly, do not use harsh words, do not gossip and curse others.
5. Do not have a hair cut. (applicable to gents in the family also)
6. Do not study on the Saraswathi pooja day. Keep all your books and modern gadgets in pooja and seek HER blessings.   
7.Read the books kept in pooja on Vijay Dashami day, sing songs and start new ventures if any.  

What are the offerings?


The best part is the "Naivedhyam". Payasam is made daily.  Mostly the offering is Sundal(Sweet or Salt). Puttu is made on a Friday of Navarathri. Kondakadalai (Black chana dhal) sundal and appam is made on Saraswathi Pooja day. 

In addition to these,  kadalai urundai, pottukadalai maavu, sweet ellu podi are also made in some houses. Varieties of mixed rices, one for each day, can also be prepared for naivedhyam in the morning. Puliyodharai, coconut rice, venn pongal, sakkarai pongal, lemon rice, curd rice, akkaravadisal etc.

SALT SUNDAL:

INGREDIENTS:
Any pulse of your choice- 1/4 kg.

TEMPERINGS:
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp.
Turmeric powder- a pinch.
Urad dhal - 1 tsp.
Dry red chillies - 1 0r 2
Scraped coconut - 1/4 cup
Hing
Salt - as per taste
Curry leaves - few
Oil - 1 teaspoon
METHOD: Cook the pulses as said here and temper with the given ingredients.


SWEET SUNDAL: 

This is made only with Karamani(cow peas) or Pachaipayaru(green gram)
Karamani or Pachaipayaru - 1 cup
Crushed jaggery - 3 teaspoon

TEMPERINGS:
Oil - 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp.
Dry red chilly - 1
Scraped coconut - 1/4 cup

METHOD:

Cook the pulses as said here, drain the water completely. Heat a teaspoon of oil and temper with mustard seeds and dry red chilly. add the cooked pulse, a pinch of salt and jaggery. When thick add coconut and mix well.

LINKS FOR LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST OF NAVARATHRI OFFERINGS:

TIPS ON COOKING PULSES FOR SUNDAL
MENU IDEAS FOR NAVARATHRI
AAMA VADAI
PUTTU
PAYASAMS
KADALAI URUNDAI
APPAM (TANJORE STYLE)
APPAM (NEIYAPPAM)
KONDAKADALAI(BLACK CHENNA SUNDAL)
KABUL CHENNA SUNDAL
GROUNDNUT SUNDAL
GREEN GRAM SUNDAL
RAJMA SUNDAL
FRESH BUTTER BEAN SUNDAL
BEACH SUNDAL
FRESH RED BEAN SUNDAL
POTTUKADALAI URUNDAI
AKKARAVADISAL
PULIYODHARAI
COCONUT RICE
VENN PONGAL
SARKARAI PONGAL
LEMON RICE
CURD RICE/BAHALA BHATH
Some other iyengar style rice recipes.  Iyengar puliyodharaiMilagoraiMelkote PuliyogareTirukoshtiyur tirumaalai chambaElloraiLentils khichdiIyengar special kadambamKalkandu bhath (iyengar style), Ulundhorai

19 comments :

  1. This is simply awesome! thanks for the wonderful help & ideas :)

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  2. Nice post Shanthiji. Happy Navarathri :)

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  3. Thank you so much for the info of navrathri.... and the variety of recipes too...

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  4. Wonderful post... Love it...
    http://recipe-excavator.blogspot.com

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  5. yummy recipes. Join me in Fast Food event-Vermicilli in my blog.

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  6. Nice post akka,happy navarathiri!!

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  7. truly amazed with ur detailed info on navarathri....tq so much for sharing...its very helpful info....I was looking for some info and all are here in full package...tks again

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  8. Wat a fabulous write up akka,beautiful post..definitely useful for many of us.

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  9. Very informative post and I sincerely feel it will be a ready reckoner guide to many people who want to know and follow the tradition.

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  10. Very informative post. i am sure it is one ready reconer guide to many who wish to follow the tradition.

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  11. Happy Navratri to all..May this navratri bring happiness and Prosperity to all..Thanks for sharing.

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  12. Maami - your golu is very beautiful. And of course everything else is just perfect. Thanks for the detailed post - very useful for us to help teach our kids what Navarathri is all about!

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  13. thanks for the awesome tips:) i didn't know that one can make rice varieties also :) that's a good idea

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  14. Perfect Indian recipes guide, thanks for sharing. best platform for learners.

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  15. gayathri sowmyanarayananMonday, October 21, 2013

    Excellent mami very informative

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