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Ladakh - Planning The Trip

Over 2000 Km by road, in around 10 days. Stunning landscapes, wonderful people. That sums up our Ladakh trip. But how did it actually work? How did we make it happen? Read on to find out!  Leh, the capital of Ladakh , is accessible by air and road. Flying into Leh is the easiest, and time-saving option, while the road is the time consuming one, but with the added advantage of driving past some of the most beautiful landscapes in our country. Each option has much to recommend it, and we chose the road for just one reason – altitude sickness. Altitude sickness was one of my biggest concerns, since I suffer from motion-sickness. Yes, I do travel a lot, but that is despite my condition, and, over the years, have learnt how to handle it. I struggled with it when we visited Nathu-La in Sikkim, and wondered if I would be able to manage a week at the even higher altitudes that we would encounter in Ladakh. This was the reason we stuck to a basic plan, of only 9 days in Ladakh, though we

A Welcome to Ganesha




The morning dawned bright and clear, but soon it was a swirling mass of clouds which soon burst and soaked us as we prepared to welcome Ganesha, the elephant-headed God. It looked like the heavens were welcoming the gracious lord with welcome showers of rain, which, incidentally, we had almost given up on!

We still don’t have any pujas this year, and as we drove along the highway towards my mom’s house, the rains lashed almost till we reached. Then, they suddenly seemed to give up, and all was dry once more.

All along the road, people were getting their favourite lord home, covering up his face, as is the custom. His face will be uncovered only when he reaches home and the prayers begin to install him as the most preferred guest for the period.



In my mom’s place, prayers were on in full swing, for we have a special puja to go with Ganesh Chaturthi. We not only invite the child-like elephant headed god, but also his mother Parvati, also known as Gowri.

According to mythology, Parvati is believed to have made a visit to her mother’s home – earth, and Shiva wanted her to return as soon as possible. He therefore sent their son Ganesha, right behind her, asking him to bring back his mother soon. We, therefore begin our celebrations with Gowri Puja, inviting the Devi home. Then we welcome her son, who gets a reception befitting a much-loved grandson. On an auspicious day (the period varies), both, mother and son are sent back with much pomp and ceremony, and much regret too...

This year, both Gowri and Ganesha arrived on the same day, and stay for a full 5 days, making the puja an even more elaborate affair. Here are some pics….


The house is decorated – from the entrance to the puja room… with rangoli and lights…..

The arrangement of the idols –


The image of Gowri –




And Ganesha –



Till recently, we used to use a clay image of Ganesha and a sand rolled in cloth with a face drawn on it, for Gowri. These used to be immersed in the lake after the puja was over. However, these days the condition of the lakes are so bad, that we have modified things and use these idols for the puja, which can be re-used without any harmful effects.

The flowers for the puja….



The puja in progress….



Finally, the Naivedyam – the offerings to the guests…. Mouthwatering stuff!



Lets take a closer look…

First, the fruits….



Here’s the Sakkara Pongal – sweet pongal.



Kozhakattai – modaks…. Ganesha’s favourite… and Samhith’s too….



Idlis…the most healthy food in the lot…



Uppu kozhakkattai – made with pulses and salty..



Ellu Kozhakkattai – made with til…




Pal Poli (Polis dipped in milk..)




Sundal



Vadai..



Appam



And there were lots more items….. A regular feast!!

At the end of the puja, we women had a thread tied around our wrists…. For our well-being, I suppose…..



And finally, as the daughter of the house, I was given the haldi-kumkum, or vettalai pakku, with a slight difference. All the items were given to me in a ‘moram’ (I have no idea what to call it in English, so you can take a look yourself!)



Here’s what’s inside……..



Before I end this post, here’s a look at the many types of Ganeshas my sister has collected over the years… have I mentioned that we are all voracious collectors? We all collect all sorts of stuff… which probably explains why there’s no more place in my house!





Comments

  1. Oh looking at all that delicious food at this hour is a torture, particularly the sweets :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Woww, that was a lovely post.. we dont have Gowri puja, so that was very interesting to read..

    My home- diff kinds of kozhukatais, appam, vadai n payasam!!:)

    Awesome collection of Ganeshas.. i have quite a few of my own, love collecting them... :) marble, glass, wood, one with pulses from Trichy.. and many more... most recent was a gift from a jewellery store- beautiful ganesha in glass :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. So mouth watering I am missing my home for sure :) Kozhakattai are my favourite to but in south we dont do gowri puja, jus the ganesh :P for us and also we dont close the face of ganesh.

    ReplyDelete
  4. WOW, that's a mouth watering post Anu. I love the Ellu Kozhakkattai a lot. My mom used to make this so well that I could not stop eating.

    We should have tried to pay a visit to your home when we were in Mumbai, those TDGC guys didn't give us a chance by keeping us busy from dawn to dusk.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Mridula - i knew everyone would be fascinated by all that food... mom's special, right?

    Aarti - gowri puja is part of karnataka tradition.... my mom's family lived in mysore for generations.. somewhere along the line they picked up this puja... and looks like we share interests too!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. :) I love ur sis's collection!

    And the sweets! Ah! I love both those sweet modaks. My mum makes them too but had never tasted the salty one till Raji gave me some on Ganesha day.

    Have never had Pal-poli but puran poli in milk seems like an awesome idea!

    ReplyDelete

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