Festival - Janmashtami

In the month of Sravan (Aavani) on the eighth day (ashtami ) after full moon is celebrated Janashtami or Gokulashtami.  For some the birth star of Lord Krishna is important and so they celebrate it on the day Rohini star falls.  Both come within a few days of each other, invariably.
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As I have written earlier,  the customs and traditions followed are many even for the same festival.  So I would like to share here how I celebrate this festival. 
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 In the morning, we perform puja to the Lord Krishna idols we have.  He is in the famous crawling pose.  After performing archana, we offer five types of fruits that include jamun (Jambul in Hindi or naga pazham in Tamil ).  My father used to offer Jambul leaves also for Krishnashtami puja. We also offer, milk, curd, butter and ghee.  In the evening we perform puja to the picture of Lord Krishna for more than five decades, now ( I am told).  It is a Thanjavur painting that we have.  The offering include that are the favourites to many of us.  Uppu seedai, vella seedai, thenkuzhal, sweet appam, kheer or javvarisi (sago) payasam and aval (flattened rice).  Aval reminds us of Sudama and Lord Krishna's friendship and Akshaya Tritiya.


Easy sweet appam - Naivedyam recipe for Gokulashtami 

How to make the sweet appam



Add maida, sugar and milk in the ratio 1:1:1 and mix thoroughly so that there are no lumps.  Add cardamom powder and finely cut cashew nuts (optional).  Take the dough in a ladle and fry in oil or to avoid oil one can make it in kuzhi paniyaram style. It is tastes really good either way.

This is a quick and easy variety of sweet appam using maida and so can be done easily.  We use sugar instead of jaggery.


The ingredients are

Maida - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Milk - 1 cup
Little cardamom powder.

Boil and cool the milk , mix the maida and sugar.  Wait for ten minutes so that the sugar dissolves.
Then add cardamom powder. and stir well.  The required consistency is as shown in the images.
Fry the appam one at a time so that appam do not stick.


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Thenkuzhal murukku naivedyam recipe for Sri Jayanthi / Krishnashtami 


Ingredients

Raw rice - 5 measures
Urad dhal - 1 measure
Cumin seeds
Asfoetida powder
Salt to taste
The following images show the traditional method of preparing thenkulal for neivedyam.  Take five measures of rice, soak in water for half an hour.  Then spread the rice on a clean cloth and allow it to dry in shade.
Dry roast the rice and one measure of urad dhal and mix them.  Grind the mixture well at home or at the local market. 
The flour is ready.  Add salt to taste, some cumin seeds, asafoetida powder.  Add few drops of oil or butter and mix the flour to get a dough.  Heat oil in a vessel and prepare the thenkuzhal by frying in oil.

The photos below may give a better idea of the traditional method of preparing this recipe for offering to Lord Krishna on His Birthday.


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From my video Channel  mainly on kolam, a video that may be useful for this festival



How to make this naivedyam and other recipe and decoration ideas for Krishna Jayanthi , view the videos from my YouTube channel on rangoli ( muggulu ) decoration and naivedyam

          




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How to draw Krishna's feet

Feet of Lord Krishna are drawn from the entrance to the Puja room just as we do for Varalakshmi Vratham where we draw the feet of Goddess Lakshmi.  Some designs that can be drawn are shown in the image below.  Ready made stencils are also available.
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How to make uppu seedai (Palakayalu in Telugu)
Raw rice is washed and dried on a clean dry cloth in shade preferably under a ceiling fan and made into flour.  Roast in a flat vessel (vanali) for a very short duration (We should be able draw a rangoli line ! neatly without discontinuity! after roasting) .  Roast urad dhal till it changes colour to golden brown.  Make it into a flour in a mixer and sieve it.  For one measure of the rice flour add 1/8 th measure of urad flour. Add asafoetida, salt and jeera (cumin seeds) to this mixture.  For better results, add butter.  Mix all these ingredients with water to get the seedai dough.  Roll them into spheres, do not roll them or press too much and fry in oil.  

(Caution: Seedai can burst if there are any foreign particles in the ingredients used. So take care while frying in oil. ).
How to make the sweet appam
Add maida, sugar and milk in the ratio 1:1:1 and mix thoroughly so that there are no lumps.  Add cardamom powder and finely cut cashew nuts (optional).  Take the dough in a ladle and fry in oil or to avoid oil one can make it in kuzhi paniyaram style. It is tastes really good either way.

How to make vella seedai
Home made rice flour, jaggery (small pieces) and water are needed for this seedai.  The proportion is 1:1:1.  Take water in a kadai, add the jaggery pieces and let in boil for five minutes or for a couple of minutes after jaggery melts completely. During this process add white sesame seeds (a teaspoon) and pinch of cardamom powder. Filter the jaggery solution if required. Dry coconut ( kopparai can be added and that is optional.

Now,add rice flour and stir continuously to get a dough like formation.  At this stage add one tablespoon ground fried urad dhal as in uppu seedai or dry roasted urad dhal powder .  Mix it thoroughly and close it with a lid.  After three hours using the dough, roll it to make ball like shapes - a little ghee can be added to make this dough smooth and non-sticky while rolling. Do not apply too much pressure while making a ball or do not try to get a perfect spherical powder Fry in oil to get vella seedai. Oil should not be overheated otherwise the seedai will break.

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  How to make a thoranam
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Thoranam made from coconut fronds that yellow-green in colour are an important part of festival celebrations.  Though it is easier to purchase them from the nearest flower vendor occasionally we can also try to make it.  It is quite easy.  First cut one side of the frond to form a long thin portion so that two thoranams can be tied together and hung on the door way.                                         
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One of the important accessories for performing a puja is an incense stick and its holder.  Incense or dhoop sticks as they are called spread fragrance in the place where the puja is performed.  A simple earthen holder has been painted and some designs added in the image below.  One of the little things that when done by us, gives a sense of satisfaction that we have meticulously done so many things ourselves.

Some related posts are

Javvarisi payasam or Sago kheer or Sago payasam for Krishna Jayanthi


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Roast  sago in ghee ( clarified butter ) till the granules resemble pearls.  Keep it aside.  Boil milk and the roasted sago till it is cooked fully.  We can be sure that it is cooked fully when the granules become transparent.  Now add cardamom powder, and allow the mixture of milk, sago and cardamom powder to cool.  

After a few minutes we can observe that sago absorbs the milk.  Now add more milk, sugar to your taste and boil again.  

Fry cashew nuts, raisins and almonds in ghee and add them to the payasam.  I have added saffron too and that is optional.  Saffron is added to hot milk and this milk is added to the payasam.


Aval payasam recipe 

A simple and easy naivedyam is aval payasam for Gokulashtami.   We need sugar , aval or flattened rice ( it can be used as it is or we can grind it coarsely with a mixer ).  The advantage is that it can be roasted quickly.

The broken aval is dry roasted with little ghee in a vessel till the colour changes slightly.   Then in a vessel water is heated and boiled and the aval is added to the water till it gets cooked.   The milk and sugar are added and heating is continued for few minutes. Cardamom powder is also added

Then garnish with cashews and raisins fried in ghee.  Add them to the kheer or payasam.  Aval payasam is ready for naivedyam.


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Floral decoration with sampangi ( in Tamil ) garland would be really a beautiful decoration for Lord Krishna for this festival.  It is usually available in this season.  I have added some pictures showing how a sampangi garland is formed by stringing the flowers the traditional way.

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Varalakshmi Vratham and Navarathri kolam ideas


kolu or golu decoration with kolam


We celebrate Navratri for nine days or rather nine nights , hence the name Navratri.  Starting with the first day apart from various decorations we do for the kolu with craft and art,  tradition has it that we draw a new kolam for the kolu every day.
Till Dasara or Dusshera or Vijayadasami the celebrations are on

Navratri kolangal

A padi kolam theme - rangoli designs with lines 

A simple lines kolam can be drawn for decorating the kolu for one of the days of Navaratri particularly on a Navarathri Friday.  The images  below show how a simple lines  kolam is drawn.  It is not a classical  padi kolam, because according to my kolam tradition, we start padi kolam with a square base drawn with four or five lines.  I usually draw four lines and for festivals  I use five lines and decorate the kolam with  neli or curved lines also.

This type of kolam uses small squares , placed in various patterns and using lines square grids are drawn and they are connected by curved lines.  Finally we can decorate the kolam with free hand  patterns or motifs to enhance the beauty of the kolam.  The final picture of these kolam usually appear to make them appear complicated, actually they are very easy when viewed as separate  elements.  The pictures should make  the kolam self  explanatory, I hope.

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This post will predominantly have padi kolam  and other kolam with lines ( also called geethaa muggulu In Telugu ) for a change a simple free hand kolam has also been added.

 
This  is a simple free hand kolam with white ,blue and orange combination that can be drawn for the  kolu particularly if there is lack  of space.  Small  is beautiful as some  would agree.  Following the tradition is more important , if we have space we can draw big kolam with lots of colours too.

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Varalakshmi Vratham Pooja kolam for mandapam


Using a simple lines kolam theme that is used in padi kolam we can draw a basic kolam with lines that can be drawn for festivals like  Navratri and Varalakshmi Vratham.  As usual  decorate with a kaavi also called geru or red ochre border to highlight the fact that these  are been drawn for festivals.  This kolam can be drawn for the golu or for as a Varalakshmi  Vratham  Pooja kolam before  the mandapam where we keep the kalasam. 

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The next kolam with lines for the festival season including Varalakshmi Nonbu and Navratri upto Dasara is a different type of kolam.  The pictures below show the step by step procedure for this simple  and beautiful kolam. It is as  if one krishnan dindu pattern has been inserted on placed  on another. Krishnan dindu is the basic pattern with lines both straight and curved drawn on all  four sides, it is called so because it resembles a bolster .

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Geethala muggulu as these rangoli designs with lines are also called can  be drawn for Margazhi ( Dhaurmasam ) as also for New Year or Sankranti ( Pongal festival )

After some padi kolam , a dotted kolam that is different type  and can be drawn for these festivals for the kolu or the Puja mantap.  Though the kolam appears relatively big if we place the dot grid such that the gaps between the dots in any two rows or adjacent dots is less we can accommodate this kolam before the kolu display or Varamahalakshmi Puja Mantap.  

I have drawn the same type of kolam with a square pattern at the centre, this kolam has a hexagon pattern at the centre.  The dot pattern is 10,9,8,7,8,9,10 and 3,2,1 dots on either side ( these dots start from the fourth dot of the row with 10 dots ) .  This is quite a common kolam.  The kolam lines are drawn outside the dot grid in this type of kolam designs / rangoli designs.

Place the dot grid, draw the pattern at the centre, then connect the edges to get a hexagon, outside this draw a bigger hexagon.  The remaining dots in the star shaped dot pattern formed can be used to form patterns so that all the dots are used up.  We can some simple designs at the centre.

The nine pictures below, I think will be sufficient to know the steps and procedures for this kolam. It is not as simple as it appears to be and we need some practice. 

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Varamahalakshmi festival rangoli designs


This kolam , I created when I was trying a simple and different lines kolam.  This can be drawn with four lines or five lines.  Instead of the usual square pattern we start a padi kolam with , I have used a hexagonal pattern to start this rangoli design with lines.  After drawing the hexagon, extend with lines from all the six edges parallel ( as humanly as possible ) to the line below.  Draw two more lines between these lines.  Now draw curved lines from the four straight lines to get a beautiful and simple padi kolam line.  Since it is a relatively small kolam we can draw for the Navarathri golu on Friday or for Varalakshmi Vratham decoration before the mandapam.  Adding free hand decorations around the kolam is according to our imagination.  I have placed dots and pressed them with fingers to make them flat and round to a different type of kolam.  The pics below should help us in knowing the step by step procedure to draw this kolam.


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kolam or muggu for Varamahalakshmi Pooja and Navratri 

Another simple lines kolam design with a star pattern is shown step by step in the pictures below.   The central star pattern can be drawn free hand .   I have used a 5,4,3 dot pattern.  Draw the star shaped pattern and draw one more similar pattern outside .  Connect lines to form parallelogram shapes on six sides.  Draw intersecting lines inside the parallelograms .  Connect the lines in adjacent geometric shapes (  parallelograms ) with curved lines - we get three lines the fourth line is the one connecting adjacent shapes, because it is tradition to use four or five lines for lines kolam designs.
Hope the pictures below give an idea of how to proceed with this easy lines kolam.

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Kaavi or ochre powder mixed in water is used to make a border along the contours of the kolam to signify that it  is drawn for an auspicious festival.


Varalakshmi Vratham muggulu 


One more traditional padi kolam with a square pattern formed with four lines horizontal and vertical as we find in our traditional padi kolam ( of course occasionally we should try some thing different too ).  I have stopped at a stage to make the padi kolam simple, we can have more lines that criss cross to make it more complicated.  Actually these lines rangoli designs are not complicated at all.  The final image may appear so whereas if we know the intermediate steps it should  be as easy as 1,2,3.  I add dots in the gaps where the lines intersect as you would  have seen many of the lines kolam designs in Rangolisansdots .  Also after completing the lines patterns it is customary to draw some pattern in the centre without leaving it empty and we can also draw some floral or other patterns to decorate the periphery of the kolam


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Such padi kolam or lines rangoli can also be tried for Vinayaka Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chavithi

A simple decoration idea for Navratri with kolam / geethala muggulu 

I have added a lot of images because pictures can convey the idea better than words.  These nine rangoli images should give us an idea to draw this easy and not very difficult kolam The dot grid is placed and the lines are drawn outside the dot grid , the lines are then connected with curve lines .  Finally some decorations inside the kolam to get the rangoli ready for the festival decoration. Try for Navratri 2016

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This special and different kolam may be suitable for Karthigai Deepam kolam with deepam placed on the edges for decoration or for New Year kolam free hand designs

Navratri golu decoration ideas for home


My mother used to teach us that Navratri golu ( or kolu ) is to be given the importance we give for Pooja room.  So the place before the golu is cleaned every day and new kolam is drawn for decoration every day .  Invariably a small padi kolam is drawn because the kolu itself occupies lot of space. So one more idea of a simple and small padi kolam for Navratri ( for nine days including Saraswathi Pooja and Ayudha Pooja ).  The step by step procedure for the kolam given through imags

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