Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Flavors of India
Friends, as I promised you, today I share a special dish of Durga Navami with you. Hope you will enjoy! Share your opinion. Have a good day/ afternoon/evening/night! Namaskar.

Mutton Curry with potato in Indian Style


·         Mutton: -                                                                               500gm.
·         Potato(medium size):-                                                            2 pieces 
·         Onion (slice in fine pieces):-                                                   3 pieces 
·         Ginger paste: -                                                                       2tablespoon
·         Garlic paste :-                                                                        2tablespoon
·         Tomato(slice in four pieces):-                                                 1 piece
·         Curd:-                                                                                   1/2 cup
·         Red Chili Powder (if you want):-                                            1/2teaspoon
·         Kashmiri red Chili Powder:-                                                   1 teaspoon
·         Cumin Powder:-                                                                    1teaspoon
·         Coriander Powder:-                                                               1teaspoon
·         Turmeric Powder:-                                                                 1/2teaspoon
·         Bay leaves:-                                                                            2pieces
·         Cinnamon sticks:-                                                                   2pieces
·         Cloves:-                                                                                 5-6pieces
·         Green cardamoms:-                                                                3-4pieces
·         Mustard / Refined Oil:-                                                           1Cup(150gm)
·         Sugar:-                                                                                   1/5teaspoon
·         Ghee:-                                                                                    1teaspoon
·         Salt:-                                                                                       to taste

1.      Wash the mutton and marinate with curd, all powders, onion, ginger, garlic, ½ of 1cup oil & Salt before cooking for at least 30mins. 
2.      Full heat the rest of oil in a heavy bottom pan& fry the potato till brownish and set aside.
3.      In the same oil pour in the bay leaves and fry till it smell.
4.      Add marinated mutton in it and cook for 5mins.
5.      Add ¼ cup water, tomato and sugar in it & stir well. Cover with a lid and cook on slow heat for few minutes
6.      When the mutton half cooked, add potatoes and about 150ml of water (or as you want the thickness of curry) and mix well.
7.      Cover and let it cook for 10-15 minutes on low flame.
8.      Take it off the flame and add coarsely crushed cinnamon, cloves and green cardamom when the potato well cooked.
9.      Drizzle spoonful ghee just before serving.
10.  Serve hot with Rice or Polao or Indian plain Roti or Garlic Bread.

* For Details about Ingredients, check your nearest Indian Store.
* You may use Pressure Cooker. In that case; wait for 3 whistles before add potato and 2 whistles after adding potato.Rest of the recipe remain same.
* Always use warm water to mutton; it will increase the taste.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Orissa (PART-V)

  Puri (1)


Puri is a city and the district headquarters of puri district, situated on the Bay of Bengal 60 kilometres (37 mi) south of the state capital Bhubaneswar in the Indian state of Orissa. It is also known as Jagannath Puri after the 11th century Jagannath Temple located in the city. Puri is a holy city of the Hindus as a part of the Char Dham pilgrimages. According to Hindu teachings, a pilgrimage of the temples of India is not considered complete without a journey to Puri.
Puri, the holy land of Lord Jagannath, has many names. It is mentioned in Puranas as Srikshetra, Shankhakshetra, Neelachala, Neeladri, Purusottama Dhama, Purusottama Kshetra, Purusottama Puri and Jagannath Puri. The word "Puri" in Sanskrit means 'town', or 'city and is cognate with polis in Greek. It is possible that Puri is a shortened name for Jagannath Puri or Purusottama Puri. In some records pertaining to the British rule, the word 'Jagannath' was used for Puri.
Puri is endowed with one of the best beaches for swimming in India and is therefore also a popular beach resort, especially as it is positioned geographically so that both sunset and sunrise can be viewed from the beach.


Places to see:

Jagannath Temple

The Jagannath Temple in Puri is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Jagannath and located in the coastal town of Puri in the state of Orissa. The name Jagannath (Lord of the Universe) is a combination of the Sanskrit words Jagat (Universe) and Nath (Lord of). The temple is an important pilgrimage destination for many Hindu traditions, particularly worshippers of Krishna and Vishnu, and part of the Char Dham pilgrimages that a Hindu is expected to make in one's lifetime.
The temple was built in the 11th century atop its ruins by the progenitor of the Eastern Ganga dynasty, King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva. The temple is famous for its annual Rath Yatra, or chariot festival, in which the three main temple deities are hauled on huge and elaborately decorated temple cars. Since medieval times, it is also associated with intense religious fervour.
The huge temple complex covers an area of over 400,000 square feet (37,000 m2), and is surrounded by a high fortified wall. This 20 feet (6.1 m) high wall is known as Meghanada Pacheri. Another wall known as kurma bedha surrounds the main temple. It contains at least 120 temples and shrines. With its sculptural richness and fluidity of the Oriya style of temple architecture, it is one of the most magnificent monuments of India.

'Lion' of the 'Lion Gate'

The temple has four gates in it. The Singahdwara, which in Sanskrit means The Lion Gate, is one of the four gates to the temple and forms the Main entrance. The Singhadwara is so named because two huge statues of crouching lions exist on either side of the entrance. The gate faces east opening on to the Bada Danda or the Grand Road. The Baisi Pahacha or the flight of twenty two steps leads into the temple complex. An idol of Jagannath known as Patitapavana, which in Sanskrit, means the "Saviour of the downtrodden and the fallen" is painted on the right side of the entrance. In ancient times when untouchables were not allowed inside the temple, they could pray to Patita Pavana. The statues of the two guards to the temple Jaya and Vijaya stand on either side of the doorway. The temple has four distinct sectional structures, namely -
  1. Deula, Vimana or Garba griha (Sanctum sanctorum) where the triad deities are lodged on the ratnavedi (Throne of Pearls). In Rekha Deula style;
  2. Mukhashala (Frontal porch);
  3. Nata mandir /Natamandapa, which is also known as the Jagamohana, (Audience Hall/Dancing Hall), and
  4. Bhoga Mandapa (Offerings Hall).

The temple's kitchen is considered as the largest kitchen in the world. Tradition maintains that all food cooked in the temple kitchens are supervised by the Goddess Mahalakshmi, the empress of Srimandir herself. It is said that if the food prepared has any fault in it a shadow dog appears near the temple kitchen. The temple cooks or Mahasuaras take this as a sign of displeasure of Mahalakshmi with the food which is promptly buried and a new batch cooked. All food is cooked following rules as prescribed by Hindu religious texts, the food cooked is pure vegetarian without using onions and garlic. Cooking is done only in earthen pots with water drawn from two special wells near the kitchen called Ganges and Yamuna. There are total 56 varieties of naivedhyas offered to the deities, near ratnavedi as well as in bhoga mandap on five particular muhurtas.The most awaited prasad is kotho bhoga or abadha, offered at mid-day at around 1 pm, depending upon temple rituals. The food after being offered to Jagannath is distributed at reasonable amount as Mahaprasad, which considered as divine to devotees in the Ananda Bazar located to the North-east of the Singhadwara inside the temple complex.

Sakshigopal Temple

Sakshigopal Temple is a medieval temple dedicated to Lord Gopal located in the town of Sakshigopal on the Puri Bhubaneshwar highway in Orissa. The temple is built in the Kalinga style of temple architecture.
It is said that a poor young man of the village, which was named as Sakhigopal later, fell in love with the daughter of the village headman. However being of a higher economical status the headman opposed marriage between this young man and his daughter. The villagers went on a pilgrimage to Kashi including the headman and the young man. The village headman fell ill and was abandoned by fellow villagers. The young man tended to him so well that he soon got well and in gratitude promised his daughter in marriage to the young man. As soon as they returned to the village the headman went back on his promise asking the young man to produce a witness in support of his claim.
Lord Gopal impressed by the young man's devotion agreed to come and bear witness to the promise on one condition that the young man lead the way and he would follow, but the young man must never look back. He led the way to the Lord but near the village was a mound of sand on which as they passed, the man could not hear the Lord's footsteps and turned back. Immediately the Lord turned into a statue of stone rooted to the spot. The villagers were however so impressed that God himself came to back the young man's claim that the youngsters were married off and appointed as the first priests of the temple built in honor of Lord Gopal who came to bear witness known in Sanskrit as Sakshi.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Festivals of India in the month of October

Bakr-id (Eid ul Zuha)

Jama Masjid, New Delhi


Eid-ul-Zuha is also known as Eid-ul-Adha in Arabic and Bakra-Id or Bakrid in the Indian subcontinent . It is also called the Major Festival, the Greater Eid and Bakrid. It is an important 4-day religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to honour the willingness of the prophet Abraham to sacrifice his young first-born son Ishmael as an act of submission to God's command and his son's acceptance to being sacrificed, before God intervened to provide Abraham with a ram to sacrifice instead.

Bakri (Goat)

Muslims around the world believe that Allah (God) commanded Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ishmael. Ibrahim followed God's orders, but his son was replaced by a sheep at the last moment. Muslims celebrate this at Eid al-Adha. Eid al-Adha is called Id-ul-Adha in Arabic and Bakr-Id in the Indian subcontinent, because of the tradition of sacrificing a goat or "bakr" in Urdu. The word "id" derived from the Arabic "iwd" means "festival" and "zuha" comes from "uzhaiyya" which translates to "sacrifice".

On Id-ul-Zuha, special `Dua` (prayer) is recited by thousands of Muslims for peace and prosperity. The wealthy families are expected to sacrifice one animal per family and distribute two-thirds of the meat among poor. Those who cannot afford it, seven or seventy families together offer one animal. A full-grown camel, cow, goat or sheep free from disease, is considered the best offering. The sacrifice, popularly called as 'qurbani' can be offered at any time before the afternoon of the third day. In India, too, goats and sheep are sacrificed all over the country and prayers are offered.

Mehendi-work on hands in Id-Ul-Zuha

Id-ul-Zuha is a festival that is celebrated with traditional fervor and gaiety in India and the world. The Festival of Id-ul-Zuha or Bakrid is celebrated with great enthusiasm among Muslims all over the world. The day normally starts with men and women dressing in the best outfits and proceeding towards Mosque.

Greetings of two friends

Followed with the food sacrifice and charity to poor, Muslims greet each other “Eid Mubarak” and visit the houses of relatives and friends. Special delicacies are prepared and served among family and friends on the occasion. Gifts are also exchanged on this auspicious day.
This festival coincides with the Haj pilgrimage in Mecca. Prayers are offered in the mosques and the sacrificial meat is then distributed after the Id prayers.
Special delicacies are prepared and served among family and friends on the occasion.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Festivals of India in the month of October

Bijoya Dashami and Dashera

Friends, Yesterday (26.10.2012) was Bijoya Dashami; the curtains were finally drawn on the five-day long Durga Puja festival, millions of Bengalis across India will brave the crowds and go to nearby ghats (bank of river) to immerse idols of goddess Durga with her four children Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesha. Devotees irrespective of men, women and children are joining long processions to bid their farewell to Ma Durga as the water beckons her. In the recent years however, most of the community pujas have started postponing the farewell as long as possible to arrange a grand send-off later.

Visarjan or immersion

Vijayadashami is one of the most important Hindu festivals celebrated in various forms, across India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Visarjan or immersion of the Goddess marks the official end of Puja, with the priest removing the ghot (clay pot) on which the pranpratistha was done. The mirror ceremony across the country takes place in the morning with a mirror being floated in a pot of water and a glimpse of the Devi’s reflection is seen as she departs. The mirror is then upturned and the thread around the four sticks surrounding the ghot broken.

Some revellers carry a symbolic clay Neel Kontho Pakhi - a bird with a blue neck - with them during the immersion ceremony. It is the carryover of a practice in the times of the zamindars, or big landowners, who used to set free these birds before immersion.

Sindur-khela (Sindir-play)

Before visarjan, women bid adieu to Ma, her children and their mounts with sweets, betel leaf and sindur. This is called boron. After putting sindur (symbol of marred, some red powder) on the goddesses, married women smear each other with it. They pray for the well-being of their families and the long lives of their husbands before the deity. The tradition comes from the Bengali custom where married women would apply sindur on each other when one of them was leaving home. Indian mythology says that Durga Puja celebrates the annual descent of the goddess and her four children to her parental abode on earth. The goddess stays for four days to eradicate all evil from earth and on the fifth day of Dashami begins her return journey to her husband Lord Shiva's abode at Mount Kailash in the Himalayas.


Schoolgoers were seen at the pandals with their books and pens in the belief that the goddess would bless them with a good academic record. After the immersion begins a period when Bengalis wish each other 'Shubho Bijoya' and visit each other's places with sweets.

 Sweets of Bijaya Dashami:

Naru of sugar



The name Dussehra is derived from Sanskrit Dasha-hara literally means remover of ten referring to Lord Rama's victory over the ten-headed demon king Ravana. The day also marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the demons Mahishasur. The name Vijayadashami is also derived from the Sanskrit words "Vijaya-dashmi" literally meaning the victory on the dashmi (Dashmi being the tenth lunar day of the Hindu calendar month).


Local customs inevitably colour the forms and interpretation that the festival receives regionally, but Rama's victory is always the centrepiece of the celebrations.
On this day, the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakaran and Meghanad are burnt; which are stuffed with crackers. In burning these effigies the people are asked to burn the evil within them, and thus follow the path of virtue and goodness. Especially children enjoy seeing this because of the beautiful fireworks on the ground. The festival which is thought as the 'Victory of Good over Evil' & "Return of God from Exile'.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Festivals of India in the month of October

Friends, yesterday (23.10.2012) we celebrated the Navami of Durga Puja in West Bengal. It is the 9th or last day of Navaratri too.Here is some informations about it for you.  

Mahanavami is celebrated on Ashwin Shukla Paksha Navami,the ninth and the final day of Durga  Navratri.On this day,the goddess Durga is worshipped in the form of Aparajita,by offering her sugarcane stalks.Mahishasura Mardhini Puja is also observed on Mahanavami,when the Goddess Durga is decorated and worshipped in the form of Mahishasuramardhini alankaram.

Matangi Dasamahavidya too, is worshipped on Mahanavami as a part of Dasamahavidya pooja in Navratri. Mukteshwari is the Goddess to be worshipped on ninth day of Navratri as part of Saptamatrika and Ashtamatrika puja.As per Hindu beliefs,Durga pooja on Maha Navami is equivalent to the Durga pooja performed on all nine days of Durga Navaratri. Goddess Siddhidatri puja is also performed on Mahanavami day,by the Navadurga Shakteya sampradaaya people. 

Kanya Puja at Navaratri

During Navratri, some devotees of Durga observe a fast and prayers are offered for the protection of health and prosperity. Devotees avoid meat, alcoholic drinks, grains, wheat and onion during this fast. Grains are usually avoided since it is believed that during the period of Navratri and seasonal change, grains attract and absorb lots of negative energies from the surrounding and therefore there is a need to avoid eating anything which are produced from grains for the purification of Navratri to be successful. Navratri is also a period of introspection and purification, and is traditionally an auspicious and religious time for starting new ventures.

Navratri is celebrated in a large number of Indian communities. The mother goddess is said to appear in 9 forms, and each one is worshiped for a day. These nine forms signify various traits that the goddess influences us with. The Devi Mahatmya and other texts invoking the Goddess who vanquished demons are cited. In Bihar, Kashmir, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Bihar; Kanya Puja is performed, when nine young virgin girls(kumarika),are worshipped,who symbolically represent the nine forms of the goddess Durga.Their feet are washed, kumkumis applied on the forehead and they are feasted and given gifts and new clothes by the worshippers.

Bengali menu of Navami

We, Bengali are celebrated Navami with various foods. In the day of Asthami, we eat vegetarian meal; but, in Navami, thre are many options of non-veg for all. You know, we Bengali are so much foodie! So, we turn any festival to food festival! Mutton, fish, polao, fried rice and various sweets was in our manu of Navami. I will share with you the recipes of special dishes within 2-3 days!

Good bye for now! Have a good day/afternoon/Good evening/night! Namaskar.