To The New Beginnings: 2023

Nainital Lake, Picture by ©Chitrangadasharan

The new year has already begun, with today being the first working day of 2023.

Times have changed, and the ways to celebrate the New Year has also changed.

During my childhood days, new year eve meant, staying at home with family, lots of yummy food, and the good old Doordarshan.

Since winter season is at it’s peak, we stayed in our cozy homes, wrapped in warm clothes, and watched each and every program of Doordarshan.

Nowadays, no one wants to stay at home. They want to spend this fabulous last week of the year at a beautiful holiday destination, or an organised terrace party, or a community club and so on.

No complaints whatsoever— I have enjoyed it then, and enjoy it now. One must move according to the changing times.

So, we spent our new year eve at Nainital, a beautiful hill station in Uttarakhand state of India.

Nainital is worth visiting, with it’s vast lakes, amazing Mall Road, fascinating restaurants and hotels, and of course the breathtakingly and gorgeous Nature.

Sharing some pictures with the best wishes for a —

Happy, Joyful, and Prosperous New Year 2023 to everyone

🌹🎉🎊🌹

The Himalayan mountains view, Nainital, Picture by ©Chitrangadasharan

Easy Diwali Sweets/ Snacks: Weekend Treats

Coconut Laddoo, ©Chitrangadasharan

You may buy as many sweets and snacks as possible from the market, and even receive sweet boxes from your family and friends. But, it gives immense happiness and satisfaction to make some sweets on your own.

Coconut Laddoo:

This is the easiest sweet to make at home, I believe.

Just cook 100 gm. dried Coconut powder, in 1 litre of milk, on low flame, till the milk reduces completely. Add sugar to taste, around 1-2 tablespoon, and 3-4 green cardamom powder. When slightly cool, make even sized Laddoos.

Methi Mathri ©Chitrangadasharan

Methi Mathri:

Snacks are also important and it’s best to prepare them fresh at home.

2 Cups maida (self raising flour), vegetable oil for the dough, and for frying the Mathris, ajwain, dried methi leaves, salt to taste.

Combine the ingredients and Prepare the dough as you would for namak para. Rest for 15 minutes, roll and fold the mathris, and fry on medium flame.

Have an enjoyable and prosperous festival of Diwali 🪔

It’s That Time of The Year

Diwali decorations ©Chitrangadasharan

Enthusiasm and positive vibes all around,

People busy in decorating their homes,

With renewed hopes and dreams,

Glittering with coloured lights,

Decorated streets and markets,

Busy roads and malls,

Distributing happiness with sweets,

Exchanging positivity with each other,

As The countdown for Diwali,

The Festival of Lights, hopes,

And dreams is close and around.

Diwali decorations ©Chitrangadasharan

What’s the Significance of Celebrating Festivals?

Durga Puja Pandal, Picture by ©Chitrangadasharan

India is known for celebrating many festivals, all with the same enthusiasm.

One might ask— So many festivals throughout the year?

Yes, it’s true— Besides the big festivals, such as Holi, Diwali, Dussehra and others, each day has some significance, and the fact remains that Indians love to celebrate.

The reason is very simple— To be joyful, to spread happiness, and to celebrate life.

Besides all this, festivals are the best ways to maintain our culture, traditions and rich heritage.

Festivals are an amazing way to have social harmony and brotherhood among the citizens of a country.

It’s perhaps the best way to spread positivity, where people forget all their differences, their personal struggles.

Life is not always easy. There are challenges almost everyday. But, we have to carry on, and win our battles— big or small.

Where do we get the inner strength for all this??

Festivals fills us up with hope and belief, to be strong, to start afresh.

The above picture is from a Durga Puja pandal, as the festival of Navratri and Dussehra is being celebrated throughout the length and breath of India.

The whole community works in coordination with each other, to make the festivals enjoyable for everyone.

It’s all a very pleasant sight to watch people together— and Happy!

Happy Navratri and Happy Dussehra!

©Chitrangadasharan

Durga Puja ©Chitrangadasharan

Precious Daughters 🌹🌹

Happy Daughter’s Day

Daughters are most precious, and great gifts of God.

With the presence of a daughter, life is full of happiness.

Having a daughter is vital for the fathers and brothers, and of course for the mothers. She brings a balance in the family.

As she grows up, she is a friend, and always a well wisher. A person, whom you can always trust, in tough times, in happier times, or sad times.

She always stands by you, and never leaves you alone.

The best compliment for a mother, with regard to her daughter is, ‘She is just like you.’

And, a daughter feels happy, when people say, ‘You have grown up into a wonderful woman, just like your mother.’

A daughter is a little girl, who grows up into a closest friend and any girl, who has been a good daughter, is sure to become a good wife.”

©Chitrangada Sharan

Image source: Google

What is The Significance of ‘Pitri Paksha’

“Akshay Vat”, The Banyan Tree at Gaya, Bihar, India ©Chitrangadasharan

Pitri Paksh or Shradh Paksha is a sixteen day period in the Hindu Calendar, when Hindus pay homage to their Pitrs (ancestors.)

According to the Hindu beliefs and traditions, the Ashwin Krishna Paksha in the Hindu calendar is dedicated to those ancestors, who have left for their heavenly abode.

And, it’s the religious duty of their family— sons, daughters and other close family members , to offer ‘Tarpan’ to the ancestors, so they achieve ‘Moksha’ or Salvation.

Besides ‘Tarpan’, various kinds of ‘daan’ (offerings) is also given, in the form of food, clothes, other essentials, or money.

‘Tarpan’ is performed on the same ‘Tithi’ when the ancestor had passed away, whether it was Krisna Paksha or Shukla Paksha, in any month.

‘Tarpan’ can be performed, by chanting mantras, guided by the pandit (priest) or by self, near river banks, temples, or even at homes.

But, for the final ‘Pind Daan’ there are many religious places assigned for this.

‘Teertha Sthal Gaya’ situated in the state of Bihar, India is considered to be the most revered and auspicious place for ‘Pind daan.’

The above picture is of the ancient and pious Banyan tree at Gaya, which has a deep religious significance.

The mighty Banyan tree is also called, ‘Akshay Vat’, which literally means, which can’t be destroyed.

The devotees believe in tying the sacred red thread, on the vast and widespread branches of the supporting roots, trees, all around the Banyan tree, for the fulfilment of their wishes, and to seek the blessings of the departed elders of the family.

Pitri Paksh ends on ‘Sarv Pitri Amavasya’, and immediately the ‘Matri Paksha’ or ‘Mahalya’ begins, followed by ‘Navratri.’

©Chitrangadasharan

The Auspicious Ganeshotsav

Ganesh Worship at my home ©Chitrangadasharan

Ganeshotsav is celebrated with much enthusiasm and devotion throughout the length and breath of India.

It’s a ten days festival, and idols of Shri Ganesh is installed at homes, and other places as a community celebration.

It is believed that Lord Ganesha wards off all obstacles and difficulties, when we worship him with full devotion.

Ganesha is the God of knowledge and taking his name is considered auspicious for successful completion of all our duties and responsibilities.

It’s not so difficult to perform this 10 days festival at homes.

What is needed is a pure heart, full of love and devotion for Lord Ganesh.

🙏🙏🙏

©Chitrangadasharan

Ganesh Sthapana at my home ©Chitrangadasharan

Rakshabandhan: A Beautiful Indian Festival to Celebrate the Brother-Sister Relationship

Rakhi ki Thali ©Chitrangadasharan

One of the most beautiful Indian festivals is Rakshabandhan.

This festival is about the special and pious bond, to celebrate the brother-sister relationship.

When the siblings are growing up together at their parents home, it is always about fun, sweets, gifts etc.

But, as we grow older, it’s unlikely the brother-sister will remain in the same city, or may be in the same country.

Yes, life takes the siblings to different directions, due to education, work, career, even marriage.

It’s then that the festival of Rakshabandhan becomes an emotional festival.

The sacred thread, which the sisters tie on the wrist of their brothers, to wish them happiness, prosperity, good health and all good wishes, can’t be done in the same way, as it was done in their childhood days.

So, there is a practice to send the colourful and auspicious Rakhis in envelopes, via post, or couriers, or even online.

That little small sacred thread, called Rakhi is symbolic of the pure and true love and the special bond, which the brother and sister share with each other.

If the brother is married, a special and beautiful Rakhi is also included for the sister-in-law.

Perhaps, it’s only in Indian culture and traditions, that the brother-sister relationship is celebrated in this beautiful manner.

Because, this is a relationship, Forever. 🌹🌹

Indian Dessert Chena Murki: Weekend Treats

Indian Dessert, Chena Murki, Picture by ©Chitrangadasharan

There is no end to the dessert options in Indian Cuisine.

Popularly called Mithai, you can have the mouth watering Rasogulla, Gulab Jamun, Burfi, Kalakand, Rajbhog, Peda, Laddoo and the list is endless.

But, there are many festivals in India, in which those who observe vrat or fast, can have phalahaar (comprising of Satvik food).

Milk and milk products are considered to be Satvik food.

Chena Murki (displayed in the picture) is made of Chena (paneer/ cottage cheese), and it can be consumed by those who are observing fast or vrat.

Paneer or Chena can be easily prepared at home.

Just add sugar, grated coconut (fresh or dried), and green cardamom powder.

Combine all ingredients and cook for 5 minutes and it’s ready.

For the detailed recipe, please refer to the link below.

Easy Indian Dessert : Chena Murki for Vrat and Festivals

©Chitrangadasharan

Monsoon Special: Weekend Treats

The Indian Masala Chai ©Chitrangadasharan
The perfect snack for the rainy season, Pyaz ke pakode with masala chai ©Chitrangadasharan

What would you do, if you are confined to your home due to the rainy season, during weekends?

In India, Chai and pakoda is everyone’s favourite, during the rainy season.

Rains do something magical to the senses,

When every living creature is happy, and feels rejuvenated.

And there is a food for every mood, isn’t it?

The chai/ masala chai or tea contains nutritious herbs, and has a rich aroma.

Pakodas can be made of many different ingredients. But, my favourite is onion pakoda/ pyaz pakoda.

Enjoy the rainy season, and of course the weekend.