Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Iyengars are known for their Krishna Janmashtami celebrations which is celebrated on a grand scale. As a kid I was waiting for this festival as the first thing about the festival is the decorations and the second most loved part is the food.....Well...let me make the food part first honestly....we kids used to wait as to when the elders would give us all that Paniyara (sweets and savouries prepared for lord Krishna).

There are two groups within Srivaishnava community called as Tholappar and Mannar. There are some few changes in the way they celebrate the festival. Tholappar community wait for Rohini Nakshatra(star) to appear by referring to the Hindu Almanac (Panchaanga) whereas Mannar celebrate it as Sri Krishna Jayanthi or Gokulashtami, birthday of Lord Krishna. People fast during the day and offer prayers to the lord in the evening and either have a light snack or have a heavy dinner along with paniyara.

Decorations vary from home to home. A general way to follow is by placing an idol of baby krishna in A CRADLE decorated with flowers SINCE ITS THE BIRTH OF LORD KRISHNA. My grand ma's place had a huge checkered board hung from a certain height. Fruits and snacks were tied around the cradle of lord krishna WHICH IS CALLED PALA VASTRA. Many photos here show you a small preview about how the decorations are done .These are photos I have got from my sister, cousins celebrating at their home outside India and some from aunt's and my home in India.

Prayers are offered in the evening which starts with Saaligrama Aradhane, Panchamrutha abishekha(meaning cleansing the god with milk, curd, tender coconut, sugar, ghee..any combination of dry fruits, banana, followed by Purusha sooktha wherein we dress the lord and put him in the cradle. We recite krishna ashtothara namavali, followed by Mukundha mala shloka and Vishnu Sahasranama. After this we offer Naivedya, perform Maha mangalaarti and Shaathumorai(sing in the praise of the Lord) and Prasada vineyoga (holy water).

The next day we invite relatives, neighbours and friends who eagerly wait for the invitation. They are sent home with lots of snacks and sweets. We end the celebration with Rocking the cradle and Aarti for the lord!

The food that is prepared at our home on this day starts with prasada (sweet poha, a mixture of butter and sugar, and Rasayana (banana with jaggery)

The main dinner would be Anna(Rice), Saaru (Rasam) , Kosambari (Salads), Palya (vegetable), two sweets in the form of Payasam (kheer) and one dry sweet, Rice variety, Sambhar, Mor kolambu, Ambode along with paniyara prepared. Food is prepared almost whole day with so much zeal, excitement and enthusiasm.

The festival is long gone and the reason i am writing about it now is because with the write up its always nice to get a glimpse how we celebrate it with food and decor. It took some time to collect all these photos from all in the family. So here are a few for you to enjoy!

Paniyara photos:




Kadlekayi Burfi (Groundnut)

Godhimavina Unde (Wheat flour ladoo)

Kobbari Mitayi (Coconut)

Rave Unde (Semolina laddoo)

Photos of the Paniyaram (Sweets and Savouries) sent by Mythili Srinivasan (Bangalore), Pramod and Shubha (California)

Photo courtesy: Shashi Raghuram, Bangalore

Photo Courtesy: Mythili Srinivasan, Bangalore

Our Celebration In Pune!

Our Celebration in Bangalore!

My first ever celebration in Denmark!

Photo courtesy: Bharthi Sriram, Chicago

Photo Courtesy: Sharada Ramadas, Fremont, California

Photo Courtesy: Vidya Jagannath, San jose, California

Photo Courtesy: Arjun, Bangalore

Thank you all for sending your celebration pictures!


LG said...

Janmasthami reminds me of our Iyengar neighbor! We would wait for the evening aarti and much awaited than that was chakli kodbale snacks :D All the paniyaram pics reminded me of those memories Veda. Nice pics of celebration too..

Veda Murthy said...

Thanks LG!

Swati said...

Thats a lovely post on Janmashtami with beautiful pictures..

Sujyothi said...

Sakkat aagi ide!!Good collection!!
Keep up the fab work!!!
Wish i cud send u my Penang pics as well!Wish u luck!

Sheshadri said...

My Dear Veda,
Nice Idea Where did you get it. It not only depicts your Cooking Talent but also showcases the Iyengar Culture and Tradition.
Very Good Work
Keep it up
your Father-in-Law

Veda Murthy said...

Thanks Swathi, Jo, Appa

Krishna said...

The birth of Krishna is in itself a transcendental phenomenon that generates awe among the Hindus and overwhelms one and all with its supra mundane happenings. Mother Earth, unable to bear the burden of sins committed by evil kings and rulers, appealed to Brahma, the Creator for help. Brahma prayed to the Supreme Lord Vishnu, who assured him that he would soon be born on earth to annihilate tyrannical forces.

Lord Vishnu Photo, Sri Vishnu Picture, God Vishnu

kad said...

Jagan is my nephew- is it the same vidya whos married to usha and narasimhans son jagannath, just saw some of ur pics-pretty good

Ranz said...

Hi Veda,

Its a real good write up on Janmashtami. Kudos lady.. Keep up the good work !! :)