Archive for the ‘Dasara’ Category

Making of a 100 year old doll

Ms. Padma sreeranga has sent me amazing youtube links to the making of a 100 year old doll. Ms. Padma writes to me as follows:

Dear Meera,

 I want to share with you an important e-mail sent by my co-sister, Mrs Vanaja Malathy,former principal of Jyothi Nivas college of  women at Koramangala.She is full of enterprising nature and takes part in every social activities. She is even now an active member of many institutions,and working for betterment of her college.I request you to share with others also
   your’s affectionately, padma sreeranga
Attached below are the youtube links for the same. Thanks. Ms. Padma for sharing this amazing videos.
And Part 2 link below on youtube.

Dasara Celebration – Iskcon Temple in DC

Yesterday evening we visited the Iskcon Temple in DC. We visit the temple every year for the Dasara celebrations. This year it was celebrated on October 27th 2012.

There were hundreds of people, lots of activities for kids like Face Painting, Mahendi, Ramayana Play. Lots of food.

Attached below are some pictures I took during yesterday’s visit.

Dasara Pictures – Around the World

I had requested everyone to send their Dasara Bombe Pictures. Attached below are pictures from around the world I received.

1. Dasara Bombe at my home.

2. My Sister Suma’s Dasara Bombe:

3. Padmaja Rao has sent a google link for her Dasara Bombe:

Google Link

4.  Madhukar KR – Photo of the “Pattada Bombe” along with Kalasha – keeping up the Mysore Aramane tradition in a small way in Bangalore – Space, Time and Doll Constraints

5. Dasara Bombe at Nagesh.H

6.  Bombe Habba at Sreenidhi BR

7. Ms. Bhavana Damle shares Doll display at her friend Vidya’s home.

8. Ms. Bhavana Damle shares a picture of Special decoration for Goddess Durga in a temple at Annapurneshwari Nagar, Bengaluru.

9. Rama Gopal has sent this picture.

Saraswathi Pooja and Sweet Dosa

Based on our Hindu calendar, during the 7th day or the 8th day we perform Saraswathi Pooja. Goddess Saraswathi is the mother of all knowledge, wisdom and learning. She plays the veena instrument. She is a lover of music. This year Saraswathi Pooja is on October 21st – Sunday.

During dasara, on this day, books and instruments are placed before Saraswathi, and we perform pooja to her.

We say the following sloka or prayer to her, and I should mention that this is one of the first payers we learnt in our family, and I guess is being learnt in any Hindu family.

Saraswathi Namasthubyam,
Varadey Kaamarupinee!
Vidhyarambham Karishyami,
Sidhir bhavathu mey sada

It means:

Oh Goddess, Saraswathi, my humble salutations to you, who are the fulfiller of all my wishes. I start my studies with the request that thou will bestow Thy blessings on me.

My mom used to make Sweet dosa when we were Kids.

So, here comes the recipe with minor changes and also pictures.

In a bowl mix 1 cup wheat flour, 1/2 cup rice flour, 1/2 cup maida. Add two cups of brown sugar, 4-5 tbsp coconut, and cardamom, and also cinnamon powder as desired. I also added 1/2 tsp baking soda. Make a batter as you do for Dosa. As shown below:

Heat a non stick pan, apply oil, and spread the dosa batter. When one side is done, turn over the other side as well.

P.S: I prepared a small batch, and it took me less than 20 minutes to prepare 11 dosas. I have a big non-stick pan, and was able to prepare 2 dosas at a time. The heat was medium.

The dosas were sweet, and you could feel the taste of cinnamon and also cardamom. Definitely good to eat once a year. :)

Dasara – Navarathri – September 28th – October 6th 2011

Dasara is celebrated all over India as a religious as well as a social festival. Nava means nine and rathri means night and so Navarathri means nine nights. Some call it as Navarathri, some as Vijaya Dashami, and some as Dussehra. Doesn’t matter what you call, does it?

This year Dasara is celebrated from September 28th – October 6th 2011.

From day one of the festival, it is customary to keep a Kalasha (ಕಲಶ), this is filled with water(ನೀರು) and 4 betel leaves(ವೀಳೆದೆಲೇ) are arranged as shown below in the pictures. Apply Haldi (ಆರಿಶಿನ) , Kumkum(ಕುಂಕುಮ), and flowers, gejje vastra (ಗೆಜ್ಜೆ ವಸ್ತ್ರ)  as shown again. This Kalasha is kept in front of the Pattada Gombe (ಪಟ್ಟದ ಗೊಂಬೆ) which is given during the marriage to the bride. This ಪಟ್ಟದ ಗೊಂಬೆ signifies Lord Srinivasa and Goddess Padmavathi. Again, see pictures below. These ಪಟ್ಟದ ಗೊಂಬೆ are decorated with different jewelery, crown, bangles, dresses every few years.

P.S: The above pictures were taken in 2009 during my visit to Bangalore, at my second brother-in-law and co-sister Madhav Rao and Prameela’s house.

If you are keeping an elaborate Gombe (Dolls), than the Kalasha and the Pattada Bombe are placed on the top shelf. And all other arrangements follow next.

Even though all the 10 days and nine nights are important, there are a few  major days where pooja is done with great devotion and pomp.
Those days are as follows:

  • Saraswathi Awahana – October 3th
  • Saraswathi Pooja – October 4th. Read all the details about the pooja here.
  • Durgasthami – October 4th
  • Mahanavami – October 5th
  • Vijayadashami – October 6th

Devotional Songs for Dasara:

1. Srinivasa Bhajane

2. Sri Venkateshwara Suprabhatha

3. Sri Venkateshwara Stotra

4. Sri Venkateshwara Prapathi

5. Sri Venkateshwara Mangalam

6. Venkata Ramanane Baro

7. Sri Mahalakshmi Ashtakam

8. Sri Saraswathi Slokas

9. Sri Srinivasa Kalyana by Sri Vadirajaru

10. Mahishasura Mardini Stotra in different languages

11. Sri Ashta Lakshmi Stotra

12. Link to Bombe Habba pictures

P.S: If you would like to share pictures of Gombe Habba (Doll Arrangement’s ) at your place, or friends place send them along. I will post them so everyone will have an idea of how to decorate their dolls this year.

Amazing Rangoli for Dasara from Smt. Padmini

Smt. Padmini of Coimbatore has yet another amazing rangoli designed for this year Dasara. Smt. Padmini’s rangoli has been published in “The Hindu” newspaper as well.  I received a request forwarded by my Sister to post the Rangoli on this blog from Ms. Manjula. To quote from her email

This years Rangoli and a picture of my mother-in-law Kolu. This year she made Rangoli of Veda Vyas teaching Madhvacharya in Badri. They have published her Kolu and Rangoli in

“THE HINDU’ dated 14th October , Coimbatore edition. Just very proud of her and passing along few pictures. I will be updating the details of all the Kolu artwork in website and then email you all.

Attached below is the rangoli and also the link to the Hindu Newspaper as well.

What an art, and what an amazing rangoli.

Thanks so much for sharing Smt. Padmini and Ms. Manjula. I am sure the millions who visit this blog will be delighted to see this, just like I was.


Sreenivasa Kalyana – Live Webcast from

It is customary to listen to Sree Srinivasa Kalyana during Dasara. My father said he was visiting Jaynagar 4th block Raghavendra Swamt Mutt every evening to listen to the same. I get these daily updates from several lists I have subscribed, one such list email I received had live webcast of the same on

I logged in today, and felt so happy to listen to the same. The audio and video is just amazing. The time is 9.00 AM EST (Eastern Standard Time), and 6.30 PM IST(Indian Standard Time).

Million thanks to the webmaster and everyone who has organized this event to be published live.

Ashwin Masa ಅಶ್ವಿನ್ ಮಾಸ – October 8th – November 6th 2010

Ashwin Masa ಅಶ್ವಿನ್  ಮಾಸ, Dhakshinayana ದಕ್ಷಿಣಾಯನ, starts from October 8th – November 6th 2010.

  • October 8th – Navarathri Starts
  • October 13th – Saraswathi Avahana
  • October 14th – Saraswathi Pooja
  • October 15th – Durgastami
  • October 16th – Mahanavami
  • October 17th – Vijaya Dashami
  • October 18th – Ekadashi
  • October 22nd – Poornima, Hunnime
  • November 2nd – Ekadashi
  • November 5th – Naraka Chaturdashi
  • November 6th – Deepaval Amavasaya, Lakshmi Pooja

2009 Dasara Festival at my Sister’s Place

I came back on Wednesday early morning from my amazing visit to India. I am completely tired, and had to work from Wednesday itself. I will be writing about my visit to Mantralaya as well, which was amazing and a miracle by itself. You might  know that Mantralaya was flooded last week.

Anyway, my two little nieces have an amazing video of the Dasara function. As you all know, I was in India for the Dasara Festival. The Bombe habba at my Sisters place is just amazing. Watch the video. I will post again about my trip to Mantralaya soon.

Navaratri-Dussera in Brief

Compiled by B.R. Ramaprasad and sent to me by my Aunt Lalitha Rao.

Navaratri and Dussera are festivals celebrated over a period of ten days. The
first nine days constitute the Navaratri festival. Navaratri means nine nights (Nava= nine, ratri = night).The term “Dussera” which is the last and tenth day is derived from the word for number ten i.e. Dus (in Hindi) or Dasha (in Sanskrit). The tenth day is also celebrated as “Vijayadashmi” (Vijaya is victory in Sanskrit.) The 9 night festival of Navratri begins on the first day of the bright half of Ashvina (Ashvayuja) month of the Hindu calendar.

• This festival is devoted to the Mother Goddess Devi known variously as Durga, Kali, Bhavani, Amba, Chandika, Chamundeshwari, Lalitha etc., (manifestations of Paarvati the consort of Shiva.) As the female manifestation of the supreme lord, she is also called Prakriti or Maya. (The male manifestation of the supreme lord is called Purusha.)

In southern India usually Devi is worshipped in the form of Durga (Goddess of valor) for the first three days, as Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth) for the second three days and as Saraswati (Goddess of knowledge) for the next three days. Celebrations includes a display of images of Goddesses and toys at home for nine days.

The Garbha Dance mainly in the state of Gujarat in western India is performed around a pot containing a lamp. The word “Garbha” by which the pot as well as the dance is known is etymologically close to the word Garbha meaning womb. In this context the lamp in the pot, symbolically represents life within a womb. Another prevalent practice is of sowing legumes, cereals and other seeds on the first day of this festival in a pot, which is watered for nine days at the end of which the seeds sprout. This pot is worshipped throughout the nine days. This custom is also indicative of fertility worship.

Significantly, no male God is worshipped during Navaratri. This contrasts strongly with other festivals in which male gods are dominant e.g. Ganesh Chathurti for Ganesha, Gokulashtami (Janmastami) for Krishna, Mahashivaratri for Shiva, Ramnavami for Rama etc.

The Ramlila ceremony observed in northern India on Dussera day commemorates the victory of Rama over the demon-king Ravana and the rescue of Rama’s consort Sita whose chastity Ravana tried to violate. Rama succeeded in rescuing Sita unmolested from Ravana’s clutches. Giant effigies of Ravana,
Kumbhakarna and Meghnad (Lord Rama’s enemies), are publicly burnt.

In southern India, eastern India and western India, the festival of Navaratri culminates with Vijayadashami on the tenth day of the bright half of the lunar month of Ashvina. The day commemorates the legend in which the Goddess Durga, also known as Chamundeshwari or Mahishasura Mardini, vanquishes the demon Mahishasura, an event that is said to have taken place in the vicinity of the present day city of Mysore in the State of Karnataka.

When Mysore was still a princely state, celebrations on this day included a grand procession of the Maharaja (King) of Mysore in a Golden Ambari (elephant mounted throne) to Banni Mantap (a playground) where he would symbolically cut a fully grown shami tree (please see Legend of the Shami tree below.) With the integration of the princely states into the Union of India, the Maharaja is now replaced by the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari in the Golden Ambari.

Legend of the Shami Tree

There is another and little-known legend associated with this festival, the one associated with the Mahabharata. The Pandavas underwent a period of exile, 12 years of living in the forest followed by a year of exile incognito. Disguise being indispensable during the latter period, the Pandavas found it necessary to lay aside, for the length of that year, the many divine and distinctive weapons that they possessed#. These they hid in a ‘Shami’ tree in the vicinity* of their chosen place of incognito residence. At the end of a year, they returned to the spot, found their weaponry intact, and worshipped in thanksgiving both the Shami tree and the Goddess Durga, presiding deity of strength and victory.
Meanwhile, the Kauravas, suspecting the residence of the Pandavas there had invaded that area. Upon finishing their devotions, the Pandavas fought the battle, and won the contest. The day that all these events occurred has since been known as “Vijayadashami.” In recognition of the endeavors of the Pandavas, even to this day, people exchange Shami leaves and wish each other victory in their own ventures and efforts. The following shloka is used, sometimes, to signify this:

shamI shamayate paapam shamI shaTruvinaashinI |
arjunasya dhanurdhaari raamsya priyadasrshinI ||

(Shami, the remover of all sins, the destroyer of all enemies bore witness to Arjuna taking his bow and Lord Rama coming back to his near and dear ones.)
# – Arjuna’s Gandeeva bow was one among them.
* – It is said that the Shami tree chosen by the Pandavas stood inside a cremation ground.
It was chosen to make detection difficult. The Pandavas wrapped their weapons in a white cloth and concealed them on that Shami tree making the weapons look like a dead body.

Sources:, Wikepedia etc.

P.S: Dates of various festivals performed during Dussera have already been posted. You can get all the details here.

1. Dasara information


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