Archive for the ‘Hobbies’ Category

7 Million All Times Hits to Kalpavriksha Kamadhenu – Thank You

HAPPY EARTH DAY!!!!

I had never imagined having so many visitors visit this blog even in my wildest dreams. I had posted about 6 Million September 13, 2015, and within a few months to have another million is just unimaginable.

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It is just humbling to know that this blog has raised so much interest and enthusiasm about our food, festival and culture. Doesn’t matter where in the world you are, which remote part of the world you are, we have seen time and again that ” Where there is a WILL, there is a WAY. Where there is no WILL, there is a HILL”.

The comments I read here, and many of you have sent and have been constantly sending emails each and every time I post something which interests you, is truly the inspiration for this blog. I have met many of you personally, while in temples or any other place, when you come and ask ” Are you the same Meera of this blog”, I feel such joy which cannot be expressed in words. THANKS!

This blog has also taught me to be humble, honest, a good and compassionate person. The comments and emails which several of you share about your own experiences good and bad, happy and sad have completely changed my perspective about life.

The several comments each one of you share about you own miracles of our Beloved Rayaru have made me even more staunch devotee.

Where there is good, there is bad. Where there is sweet there is sour. Where there is Light there is also darkness. Where there is Happiness, there soon follows some sadness. Where there is birth, in the near future it is followed by death. Similarly, there are good comments and sometimes not so good. The bad and irrelevant make me sad just a tiny bit, and immediately follows a good one by the many who reply.

THANKS TO ALL OF YOU. Let us keep our culture alive, spread our customs and traditions in a good way and above all spread tolerance and patience.

None of this would have been possible without the blessings of Lord Almighty and our Beloved Rayaru.

THANKS AGAIN. AND HERE IS TO WISHING WE WILL REACH ANOTHER MILLION IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS.

Shubha’s Crafty Corner

This web site has been reaching people far and wide. I am humbled by the love and affection you all have shown me over the past several years. With all this love and affection, I decided to give back to you all a series of posts which will inspire you all to do something more than what you have been doing.

I am always inspired by women and men as well, who go way beyond to follow their passion. One such person who I have been seeing on Facebook almost everyday is Ms. Shubha Mohan. Ms. Shubha has this wonderful crafty corner and posts amazing and creative designs of jewellery and other items almost everyday. I wanted to showcase her craft here in the blog, so you all could go visit her and enjoy wearing her creations.

I asked Shubha to write a few words and also send some pics.

Below are the details and Ms. Shubha’s contact information. You can see many more designs on Ms. Shubha’s facebook page.

About Myself : 
I am Shubha Mohan, Software Engineer, by profession but now a home maker. When I fully dropped the idea of going back to software line couple of years ago, the sleeping art in me woke up. I always love crafty things from childhood …My mom is big inspiration to me.
My hobbies are cooking,painting,sewing,listening to music and jewelry making.
Started doing quilling jewelry ….Every women like to look attractive. The reason I chose quilling is because of colours,Variety, light weight ,eco friendly,water resistant and at affordable price while high on quality and matching  gives exact or very close match to attire. My daughter and my niece were first models to try…:-)…When friends asked to make for them and gave small orders became serious about it .
With friends and family support and appreciation got motivated started doing          silk thread jewelry as well. Silk thread jewelry are very rich, attractive,ethnic,elegant and light weight  goes very well with all occasions ,party wear and traditional look. Jumkhas,Neck laces and bangles are back in trend with endless designs. we can customize jewelry for matching Saree,Kurthi,Langa Blouse etc.
If anyone interested in quilling and silk thread jewelry  please check my facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/ShubhaCraftyCorner/
contact : Shubha Mohan – 9902067108
Sewing is my another passion. Sewing and jewelry making is becoming part of life.
I Need to thank Meera for maintaining such awesome blog and updating us about culture and traditions. Also giving me this opportunity for sharing my little creative corner with you all.
Thanks,
Shubha Mohan

Shubha_Mohan2Shubha_Mohan1

Updated:ತುಲಸೀ ಹಬ್ಬವಿವಾಹ ಉತ್ವಾನ ದ್ವಾದಶಿ – Uthwana Dwadashi/Tulasi Habba – November 23rdth 2015

ತುಲಸೀ ಹಬ್ಬವಿವಾಹ ಉತ್ವಾನ ದ್ವಾದಶಿ – Uthwana Dwadashi/Tulasi Habba – November 23rdth 2015
Last year’s pictures:

Collages2

Close up of our little Tulasi Plant:

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Lighting of Agarbathi:

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Aaruthi for Tulasi.
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Tulasi Pooje Preparation 2013:IMG_2807

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Uthwana Dwadashi – Tulasi Habba or Tulasi Pooje is celebrated a fortnight after Deepavali. It signifies the day Tulasi married Lord Vishnu. On this day, Tulasi katte is decorated like a bride. Amla trees are planted along with the tulsi plant.

Pooje to be done in the evening.

What’s Tulasi?

In most Hindu homes, you find a Tulasi plant growing out of a Tulasi katte . Tulasi is considered to be a holy plant and is worshiped every morning. Tulasi has medicinal value and is often used as a herb in curing the common cold and cough.

So what’s Tulasi Habba?
Tulasi came out of the ocean during Amrita Manthan as a younger sister of Lakshmi. She too was devoted to Lord Vishnu and wanted to marry him. But Lakshmi who was already married to him did not like the idea and cursed her to become a plant. Thus the tulasi plant was born. But the all merciful Lord Vishnu took pity and fulfilling her wish declared that when he will be in the form of a saligrama, found in most temples and madhwa houses, she will remain close to him in the form of a tulasi leaf. Therefore even today a saligrama will have a tulsi leaf along with it. In front of every Hindu home there will be a tulasi katte in which a plant grows round the year.
Although the prayers are offered to Tulasi everyday by watering the plant in the morning and lighting an oil lamp before it in the evening, on Kartik Shukla Dwadashi there will be an annual Tulasi Pooja in the evening when the tulasi katte will be beautifully decorated with clay lamps.

Attached below is a screen shot of the Tulasi Vivaha Slokas and Procedure as printed in the Uttaradi Matta Panchanga. If you click on the image a bigger picture will display which has the words very very clear.

tulasi-vivaha-sloka

Here is the link for all the Tulasi slokas at this weblog.

1. Slokas

2. Daily Tulasi Pooja Procedure

3. Tulasi Sankeerthaney Lyrics and Audio

4. Devaranama on Tulasi – ಒಲ್ಲನೋ ಹರಿ ಕೊಳ್ಳನೋ

5. Vrundavanadevi Namo Namo Lyrics

6. Tulasi Pooje Songs

Updated: Deepavali-Diwali – November 9th-12th

Diwali dates – 2015

This year Diwali is celebrated from Novermber 9th-12th

November 9th – Neeru Thumbuva Habba

November 10th – Naraka Chaturdasi

November 11th – Lakshmi Pooja

November 12th – Bali Padyami

The word Diwali originated from the Sanskrit word “Deepavali” which means “rows of light”. This 5 day long Hindu festival is celebrated throughout the world with great enthusiasm and happiness. Diwali or deepavali is the festival signifying the victory of good against evil.

It usually occurs in October/November, and is one of the most popular and eagerly awaited festivals in India and all over the world. Diwali comes 3 weeks after Dasara.

November 9th – Neeru Thumbuva Habba

The first day of Diwali celebrations i.e. on Thrayodasi ತ್ರಯೋದಶಿ is called as Neeru Thumbuva Habba ನೀರು ತುಂಬುವ ಹಬ್ಬ in Kannada. This day all the vessels which are used to fill or collect water are cleaned in the evening, decorated with mango leaves, flowers, and rangoli. I remember all the water geysers and boilers were washed, filled with fresh water and rangoli drawn on them this day.

The rangoli prepared is by soaking rice in water for a few hours and grinding the same into a smooth paste. My Mom used to take a piece of cloth, dip it into this rice paste and draw Rangoli every where from the front door to the kitchen. All corners of the house used to have rangoli, which used to be as white as milk. Just amazing.

Naraka Chaturdashi is celebrated on the second day of diwali celebrations. People wake up early in the morning apply the kumkum (ladies in the household do the arathi), on their foreheads and then take bath.

We used to all sit on a platform, usually called a Mane which is decorated with Rangoli designs, lamps lit on both sides. Everyone is applied Kumkum on the forehead, given betel leaf, nut, and arathi is done by elderly ladies in the house. They will take the oil cup and dip a flower  in it and apply it on everyones head. And the man are supposed to give money for the ladies doing the Aarathi. Such a nice tradition, isn’t it?

The story goes that Narakasura the daemon ruler of Pragjyotishpur after defeating Lord Indra had snatched away the magnificent earrings of Aditi, the Mother Goddess and imprisoned 16,000 daughters of the gods and saints in his harem. On the day previous to Naraka-chaturdashi, Lord Krishna killed the demon and liberated the imprisoned daughters and also recovered those precious earrings of Aditi. As a symbol of that victory Lord Krishna smeared his forehead with the demon’s blood and returned home in the very early morning of the Naraka-chaturdashi day. The womenfolk massaged scented oil to his body and gave him a good bath to wash away the filth from his body. Since then the custom of taking bath before sunrise on this day has become a traditional practice.

Another legend is about King Bali. His power and increasing influence posed a threat to the security of all ‘Devatas’ so they prayed Lord Vishnu to help them out. To help Devatas and to curb King Bali’s powers Lord Vishnu went to King Bali in the guise of a short-height ‘Brahmin’, and begged to give him only that much area of land that he could cover with in three steps because King Bali was well known for his philanthropy. King Bali saw just a short-height ‘Brahmin’ asking for a little piece of land so he proudly granted him his wish. That very moment that short-height ‘Brahmin’ disappeared and there was almighty Lord Vishnu in place of him. In his first step Lord Vishnu covered the heaven and in the second step the earth and asked King Bali where to put his third step. Then King Bali offered his head to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu put his third step on his head and pushed him deep into the underground. But at the same time being impressed by his generosity Lord Vishnu gave King Bali the lamp of knowledge and allowed him to return to earth once a year to light millions of lamps.

The third day of Diwali is the most important day during which we perform Lakshmi Pooje; to the Goddess Lakshmi. Lakshmi Pooje falls on the dark night of Amavasya. Lakshmi Puja is performed in the evening to seek blessings of Goddess of Wealth.

I am sure you all will do the Lakshmi Pooje, and get her blessings. The most important song we sing while performing Lakshmi Pooje is Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma song.

The fourth day of Diwali is called “Bali Padyami“. Bali would come out of Pathala Loka and rule Bhuloka as per the boon given by Lord Vishnu. Hence, it is known as ‘Bali Padyami’.

What is Naraka Chaturdashi?

November 10th – Naraka Chaturdasi

Naraka Chaturdashi is celebrated on the second day of diwali celebrations. People wake up early in the morning apply the kumkum (ladies in the household do the arathi), on their foreheads and then take bath.

The story goes that Narakasura the daemon ruler of Pragjyotishpur after defeating Lord Indra had snatched away the magnificent earrings of Aditi, the Mother Goddess and imprisoned 16,000 daughters of the gods and saints in his harem. On the day previous to Naraka-chaturdashi, Lord Krishna killed the demon and liberated the imprisoned daughters and also recovered those precious earrings of Aditi. As a symbol of that victory Lord Krishna smeared his forehead with the demon’s blood and returned home in the very early morning of the Naraka-chaturdashi day. The womenfolk massaged scented oil to his body and gave him a good bath to wash away the filth from his body. Since then the custom of taking bath before sunrise on this day has become a traditional practice.

Another legend is about King Bali. His power and increasing influence posed a threat to the security of all ‘Devatas’ so they prayed Lord Vishnu to help them out. To help Devatas and to curb King Bali’s powers Lord Vishnu went to King Bali in the guise of a short-height ‘Brahmin’, and begged to give him only that much area of land that he could cover with in three steps because King Bali was well known for his philanthropy. King Bali saw just a short-height ‘Brahmin’ asking for a little piece of land so he proudly granted him his wish. That very moment that short-height ‘Brahmin’ disappeared and there was almighty Lord Vishnu in place of him. In his first step Lord Vishnu covered the heaven and in the second step the earth and asked King Bali where to put his third step. Then King Bali offered his head to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu put his third step on his head and pushed him deep into the underground. But at the same time being impressed by his generosity Lord Vishnu gave King Bali the lamp of knowledge and allowed him to return to earth once a year to light millions of lamps.

November 11th – Lakshmi Pooja

P.S: Past few years pooja pictures attached below….


The third day of Diwali is the most important day during which we perform Lakshmi Pooje; to the Goddess Lakshmi. Lakshmi Pooje falls on the dark night of Amavasya. Lakshmi Puja is performed in the evening to seek blessings of Goddess of Wealth.

I am sure you all will do the Lakshmi Pooje, and get her blessings. The most important song we sing while performing Lakshmi Pooje is Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma song.

Some useful links for Lakshmi Pooja:

November 12th – Bali Padyami

The fourth day of Diwali is called “Bali Padyami“. Bali would come out of Pathala Loka  ಪಾತಾಳ ಲೋಕ and rule Bhuloka ಭೂಲೋಕ as per the boon given by Lord Vishnu. Hence, it is known as ‘Bali Padyami’.

King Bali of the netherworld, with his mighty power, had become a threat to the gods. To curb his powers, Lord Vishnu in the guise of a Brahmin boy (Vamana), visited him and begged for that much land he could cover with three footsteps.

So, with the first step, Vamana covered the entire heaven and with the second step the earth. When he asked Bali where he could keep his third step, Bali offered his head and put the Lord’s foot on his head. Lord Vishnu banishes Bali into the Pathala (nether land) by his third stride. Later, pleased by his generosity, Lord Vishnu grants him a boon to return to earth once in a year to light millions of lamps to dispel the darkness and ignorance and spread the radiance of love and wisdom.

Links to songs sung while performing Aarathi during Diwali.

Diwali Songs Part 1

Diwali Songs Part2

Dishes to be prepared for Diwali

Rangoli for Diwali

Goddess Lakshmi Songs

Rangoli For Lakshmi Pooja

Yakshagana in SBAT, Maryland – October 10th

The temple I often write about here in Maryland, USA is hosting artists from Karnataka, who are going to perform Yakshagana. If you are free and near the area, please do visit. I will try visiting as well. I have seen Yakshagana once and just love the art.

Details attached below.

Steamed Modaka – ಮೋದಕ Recipe

Modaka

So many of you had asked for the recipe for Modaka – ಮೋದಕ prepared during Ganesha Festival. I had not prepared this one in a long long time. Last year I tried the same and it came out just delicious. We ate it with a dollop of Ghee. Yes, you heard it right, Ghee for a change.

So, here is what you require for preparing this.

Ingredients for the Coconut Filling:

  • 2 and 1/2 cups freshly grated coconut
  • 2 and 1/2 cups Brown Sugar, or Powdered Jaggery
  • 5 Cardamom
  • 2 tsp Poppy Seeds, Gasgase fried in Ghee (optional)

Method:

  • In a heavy bottomed pan , mix both the Coconut and Jaggery as shown below.

  • Keep stirring the mixture and make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn.
  • After, 10-15 minutes, the mixture will change its color to dark brown
  • If it is too think, just add 2-3 drops of water.
  • Once it becomes thick, add the ground Cardamom, and Poppy seeds.

Ingredients for the Dough:

* 1 cup rice flour
* 3/4 cup water – be judicious here
* pinch of salt
* 2 tsp oil

Method:

  • Boil water in a pan. When it is boiling add salt, oil.
  • Slowly mix the rice flour and keep stirring.Turn off the stove.
  • When it is easy to handle and still hot, keep kneading the dough.
  • When the dough is well kneaded, take a small ball in your palm, flatten the edges, keep the filling and close it.
  • When you have completed all of them, place in a pan and steam it in a cooker.I used the Idli stand, steamed 4 at a time.
  • Place it in a plantain leaf and offer to Lord Ganesha.

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Shri Krishna Janmashtami/Krishna Jayanthi Pooja Preparation – Tips & Tricks

IMG_3103Many of you have asked me how I prepare for one of the most exciting and beloved Festivals we have, Shri Krishna Janmashtami/Krishna Jayanthi or whatever name you wish to give this festival. It is celebrated all over the world. With the invent of internet, everyone wants to perform this festival and is looking for tips and tricks especially if you are working.  Based on decades of experience I have in observing as performed by my parents and performing the festival myself since I got married,  I am sharing some tips and tricks which will make it easy and not to stress out.

Remember, at the end of the day it is the Bhakthi and devotion which you can offer the Lord which is of utmost importance than the count of items you cook.

Since this year it is on a Saturday, and my daughter is joining us, it will once again be a Festival to perform with great enthusiasm and cook several dishes as well. Enough of my story right?

Attached below are some tips and tricks I follow.

Grocery List:

I buy all items new for this and Ganesha festival. Just a habit, nothing else. I am not listing how many lbs/kgs t buy, left to your discretion. With the list below you can prepare all items listed in Recipe Section.

Shree-Krishnastami-20141

  1. Rice Flour
  2. Maida or All purpose flour
  3. Besan
  4. Urda dal flour
  5. Red chilli powder
  6. Hing
  7. Oil
  8. Moong Dal
  9. Channa dal
  10. Dry Coconut Powder
  11. Salt
  12. Thick Poha
  13. Thin Poha
  14. Sooji
  15. Jaggery
  16. Sugar
  17. Jeera
  18. Mustard Seeds
  19. Ghee
  20. Butter
  21. Milk
  22. Butter Milk since Yogurt is not used during this vrata
  23. Coconut

Pooja List:

I am hoping you have the daily pooja items like Haldi, Kumkum, etc etc. This list is specific for this day and in no particular order you can arrange them as you wish.

  1. Flowers, buy assortment of all flowers as shown below:Collages
  2. Fruits, all fruits are allowed in this vrata.IMG_29333. Banana plant and Leaves if available IMG_31034. Argya Items, milk, water, lemon, coin and a dry date. Keep them ready!IMG_30035. Prepare all the lamps to light, Mangalarathi and aarathi  using Ghee or Oil.IMG_3004IMG_30056. Make sure you have Rangoli, if you don’t have the dry powder, use Kundan Rangoli, a chalk and draw. If even that is not available, take some printouts and use them. I have used a combination of all of them as seen below. Draw small feet of Lord Krishna from the front door.

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O7. Prepare Gejje Vastra with Kumkum. No set number here, I use one set for each idol I keep.IMG_30158. Make sure you have camphor, Agarbathi and also soaked for Mangalaruthi.

9. Prepare the cradle for Lord Krishna. Once you are done giving the Argya, we rock the cradle and sing the lullaby. IMG_3089

10. If not anything else, just offer a coconut.IMG_1881

11. The detailed pooja procedure is posted at the following link:

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