If you have lived in Mumbai or indeed in India you need no introduction to the pomp and devotion that accompany the Ganesha or Ganpati festival.
For the unitiated, the Ganpati festival or Ganesh Chaturthi is the celebration in honour of Lord Ganesha. Ganesha or Ganpati ( literally, lord of the people) is prayed to at the start of any new projects and new beginnings. He is also revered as the ‘remover of all obstacles’.
Mumbai, in particular, lives the 10 days of this festival in the spirit of celebration not dissimilar to the Mardi Gras carnival and ironically, the travel chaos that accompanies it.
Read more about the festival and how it is celebrated, here.
For me this festival has special significance for many reasons.
My grand uncle scuplted the family deity from scratch every year, lovingly moulding it over 4 weeks and then gilding it with gold leaf. A unique ‘moorti’ that, sadly, now remains only in photographs and memories.
It was an occasion for the family to rally around preparing for the clan visits and the evening ‘arti’ where family members would compete to test their singing talents as well as exercise their vocal chords.
And of course, the food was heavenly. 🙂 That was the main reason for this post but I have wandered down a few side alleys of nostalgia.
But back to the task at hand – I’d like to share with you some of the festive food that marked the 10 days of the Ganpati festival at my grandparents’ home.
1. Velchi coffee (cardamom coffee)
2. Vaatanyachi bhaaji (peas ) served with ice cold lemonade
3. Mathlele laadu (besan laadu)
I’m sure you will have tasted, if not made, some of these yourselves. Do share your comments and your versions of these treats. I’d love to know.
As we bid adieu to Ganpati, the devotees exhort him to come again the next year – ‘Ganpati bappa morya, pudhchya varshi lavkar ya!’ (Hail Lord Ganesha and please come back soon in the following year.)
PS: If you are wondering about the absence of the modaks, I am yet to master this Ganpati special and have saved it for when I can be proud of the versions I dish out.
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