Maa Durga . Source: Orissa Diary ( Click image for enlarged view )
Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu,
Shakti Rupena Sansthita,
Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastsyai ,
Prostrations unto Thee O Devi (Ma),
who resides in all beings as Shakti (Energy/Strength)
First of all I want to Wish You All A Very Happy Durga Puja...may Maa Durga bless you all with joy and prosperity.
Durga Puja symbolises the commemoration of good over evil and the divinity of god in a female form. Clay images of Goddess Durga are made and worshipped in gorgeously decorated pandals . On the day succeeding "Vijaya Dasami", the last day of Dussehra, the images are taken in a spectacular procession for immersion in the rivers. ( Read more on: Why do we celebrate Durga Puja ? )
Cuttack is the best place to witness the festival although almost all major cities of the state celebrate it with equal fervour. Cuttack is the the former capital and the commercial capital of the state of Orissa, India. Dusshera, the festival of goddess Durga, is very popular in Cuttack. Idols are worshipped in many streets and localities. In this city, Dussehra is famous for its Chandi Medhas, in which the idols are adorned with huge amounts of gold and silver.
Chandi Mandir Cuttack . Source: Sriradhakund . ( Click image for enlarged view)
The greater part of my childhood has been in Cuttack. The Durga Puja festivities is very prominent in Maa Katak Chandi Temple. Maa Cuttack Chandi is the presiding deity of Cuttack.In cuttack the goddess popularly called as Maa Katak Chandi, sits and rules on the heart of the ancient city. She is worshiped as Bhuvaneswari. Maa Chandi is worshipped in various incarnations of Durga during the puja. In Cuttack, people strongly believe Maa Katak Chandi as 'The Living Goddess '. ( read more about the appearance of Maa Chandi)
Prayer to Maa Durga
My early memories of this durga puja would be the drumming and chants from the pandal next to my house, to welcome her when the day would begin,I would be awakened by this wonderful atmosphere of festivity.
Even before the festivities the artisans would arrive at the pandals to create the diety. We school kids would watch the creative process taking shape day by day n fill us with wonder.
Artisan at work . Source: Picture By Nilanjan ( Article: Durga Puja on Washigtonbanglaradio.com)
Among the numerous pandal there were two very famous pandals near my house in cuttack at that time
Chandi Chowk Cuttack . Source: Orissa Diary ( Click image for enlarged view )
One of the famous medho near my house was the Chandi Chowk Medho, the complete background of the deity would be prepared with gold
Chowdhary Bazaar Cuttack . Source: Ayaskant ( Click image for enlarged view )
And the other one would be the Chowdhary Bazaar Medho where the whole decoration is with silver.
It would be heavily crowded with every lane filled with people to see the wonderful pandals. It would a five minute between each pandals and the nights are wonderfully flooded with lights.
Nightlife of Durga Puja in Cuttack
Some would walk it like me and my friends and some families would engage a rickshaw for the sightseeing. Within 2-3 mile there would be a about 30 pandals.Wow I can never forget those days.
Bisarjan of Maa Durga . Source: Flickr ( Click image for enlarged view )
The last three days asthami, navami and dasami the whole of cuttack would on the street.And on the last day bisarjan(immersion of deity) we would go to the mahanadi( huge river).
My mom would prepare some traditional stuff like bobattu(sweet channa dal stuffed roti), pulihara(tamarind rice),dahi wada(curd dumplings), besan ke laddu(chickpea flour sweet balls), kara posa(spicy fried snack), gulab jamun and so many other stuff for distribution to all neighbours, friends and relatives to celebrate this festival.
Street Food Cuttack . Source: Ayaskant on Picasaweb. ( Click image for enlarged view )
We kids would roam the streets eating some tasty street fare too.... we would also have spicy chaat like pani puri, or a combination of dahi wada, aloo dum and gugani (above image) topped with onions and some sev,aloo chaat, fresh crumbled paneer topped with rabri, kulfi... any many more
We would eat all the spicy stuff first and then search for the kulfi cart : )...We were was a real gang of friends !! On this auspicious occasion which brings back memorable moments, I want to share the most simple delicious indian street dessert "kulfi". The real authentic Kulfi is about three things milk,sugar and flavor. Along with my sweet memories I am sharing this indian street dessert.
Pista Malai Kulfi
( Click image for enlarged view )
- 4 cups organic whole fat milk + 1/3 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup pista
- 1/4 tsp crushed cardamom
- 1 bread slice
- 1 tbsp corn flour
In a non stick pan boil the 4 cups milk, once it starts boiling reduce it to medium flame n stir occasionally until the milk reduces to 2 cups.
In the meantime finely chop the pista n keep aside. Take the bread slice n remove the sides n cut it into small pieces,soak it in the 1/3 cup milk, add the corn flour n blend it nicely to a smooth paste n keep aside.
When the milk which was kept for boiling has reduced to half, add the above bread mixture to it n stir for 2 min until it begins to thicken then add sugar,cardamom powder n chopped pista and stir it nicely for another 2 min.
Remove from flame n once it cools pour it into the kulfi moulds, if you do not have kulfi moulds you can popsicle moulds (like me) or just pour it into a freezer safe containers and cover it. Freeze it for 6 hrs.
( Click image for enlarged view )
Before serving take the mould from freezer n keep it under running water for a min and slowly remove the kulfi. Serve with a little of pista flakes n enjoy.
Tags: Durga Puja, Cuttack, Dashara, Kulfi, Celebration, Street Food, Festival Moments