As someone born and brought up in Bombay, now Mumbai, Ganesh Chaturthi wins hands down as my favourite festival. This 10-day festival starts on the fourth day of the Hindu lunar-solar calendar month Bhadrapad, which typically falls in the months of August or September. I eagerly await the annual arrival of the chubby, elephant-headed Lord Ganpati, the harbinger of prosperity, new beginnings and the remover of obstacles.
The preparations of bringing Bappa, as he is fondly referred to in Maharashtra, home start with gusto. Choosing and booking the idol, months in advance, is the first step. From cleaning homes, to even painting them afresh, to thinking of the various delicacies that would be cooked during Bappa’s stay, everyone who gets Bappa home is involved in a whirlwind of activities.
When Bappa visits and stays everyone wants to give him their best as hosts. Click To Tweet Odd numbered days, like 3,5,7,9,11, are the duration which you could choose from to get Bappa home to stay. The number of days you start with is what you follow each year. In my parent’s home, we bring Lord Ganpati home for 3 days. In our home, he visits for a day and a half.
Lord Ganpati is supposed to be fond of good food, and a variety of dishes are planned. The Modak is his favourite. You could see him holding it in all his pictures and idols. With time Modaks have evolved, with Chocolate Modak’s being favourites for the last few years, but Ukdiche Modak always tops the list.
These steamed Modaks may look and seem complicated to make but are super easy to whip up. Made by cooking Rice Flour in water and then kneading it into a dough. Jaggery, fresh Coconut and Cardamom Powder are cooked together to make up the filling.
The dough is rolled out into a small circle, and a spoonful of the cooled filling is placed in the centre, covered with the dough and twisted deftly. The Modak is then steamed till it is cooked.
We looked forward to getting our annual taste of Ukdiche Modak as much as Bappa probably does:)
Puranpoli was another delicacy that was on the menu, hot off the griddle with Ghee melting on it.
In the unlikely event of having too many sweets, there was always the savoury Poha Chivda to give relief to our palate.
When it comes to saying goodbye we bid Bappa a tearful farewell, asking him to return again the following year. After he leaves the house seems empty and we miss his presence.
Ganpati Bappa Morya! Phudcha Varshi Lavkar Ya!