Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Dasara

Navaratri and Dasara are festivals celebrated over a period of ten days. The first nine days represent Navaratri festival. As the names itself explains – Nava means nine and ratri means night. Dasara, which is the last day and the tenth day, is also celebrated as Vijayadashami (Vijaya in Sanskrit means Victory). The celebrations begin on the first day of the month of Ashvin month or Ashvayuja masa according to the Hindu calendar.

Navaratri generally falls in the month of October; though the exact date differs from year to year. This is the time when we as kids waited for Dasara holidays ;). Though our holiday would be loaded with home works but still enjoyed the freedom.

Just thinking back why we celebrate Navaratri habba/bombe habba/ Dasara/ Durga Pooja/ Garbha etc. So here are a few, that I have come to know from my elders, books, articles…I hope I will be able to give the same cultural heritage and upbringing to my son as well J

The festival of Dasara is celebrated to worship the goddess Durga who is known in various forms i.e chamundeshwari, kali etc. It is celebrated in various versions as Durga Pooja in Bengal and Orissa and as Dasara and Navaratri in other parts of India, celebrating the victory of good over evil.

In Northern India Ramalila ceremony is observed on the dasara day commemorating the victory of Rama over the demon-king Ravana and the rescue of Sita. Gujarat states celebrates it with Garbha.

In southern India, usually Goddess Durga pooje, Saraswathi pooje, Maranavami or aayudha pooje and Vijayadashami is important. Celebrations include display of godess in various forms and toys for the nine days; hence it’s also called as ‘bombe habba’. I remember as a kid, I along with my mom and grandma’s help used to make playground, zoo, cricket field etc for the bombe habba. This used to be a huge step wise arrangement in our drawing room so the sofas, dining table etc would be moved for a couple of days. People who came to see bombe i.e the toy arrangement were given some sweets or candies called 'bombe baagana'.

During Saraswathi pooje, we worship books to symbolize the goddess of knowledge, on aayudha pooje we worship tools like scissors, knives, vehicles or machinery etc and the celebrations conclude with Vijayadashami on the tenth day of the month. Aarthi is performed daily in the evenings along with devotional songs.

On Vijayadashami day it is said that the Goddess Durga also known as Chamundeshwari killed the demon Mahishasura and got the name as Mahishasuramardhini, this event is said to have taken place near Mysore, city of Karnataka state. So event on this day Mysore dasara is very famous and people from all over the world come to see the celebrations. When the city was a princely state, celebrations on this day would include a gran procession of the king of Mysore in a golden ambari (elephant mounted throne) to banni mantapa (a playground) where he would symbolically cut a shami tree. Now with the integration of the princely states into the union of India, the maharaja is replaced by the idol of Godess Chamundeshwari. Variou artists from different fields like classical music, dance, flute, veena etc display their talent in the mysore palace grounds area. People thong to appreciate these performers.

The story of the Shami tree goes like this – The Pandavas had hid their weapons in a Shami tree when they underwent a period of exile. At the end, they returned to that spot and found their weapons intact and so they worshipped with prayers both the shami tree as well as the Godess Durga, deity of strength.

Meanwhile the kauravas got the news of Pandavas arrival and had invaded that area. Hence Pandavas fought the battle and won the fight. The day that all these events took place has been known as “Vijayadashami”. That’s why even to this day, people exchange shami leaves and wish each other victory in their own projects.

Overall, the main idea of Navaratri is the triumph of good over evil.

Wishing you all victorious in all your endeavors with my Shavige payasa/ Vermicelli pudding.


Shavige/ cut vermicelli – 1/3cup

Few cashews and raisins roasted in 1tbsp ghee

Water – 1/2cup

Sugar – 3tsp

Whole milk – 1cup

Cardamom powder/elachi powder – 1/4tsp


  • Heat 1tbsp of ghee in a pan. Add vermicelli and roast till light brown in color.
  • Then add water and cook till soft.
  • To this add sugar and mix well.
  • Then add milk and bring it to boil. Keep stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t catch the bottom.
  • Lastly add the dry fruits and elachi powder and mix well.

Shavige Payasa is ready to be served.

Wishing you all a Happy Dasara!!!


  1. Wish u also a v. happy Dasara!!! Will surely try it out too:)...........and thnx for all the festival details......will read them out to molly........u helped a lot in my homework...hahha

  2. Wow, very good & detailed description of Dasara celebrations. The "bombe habba" is on the verge of extinction. :-(

  3. Dear Rashmi.PAYASA Wow, Good to relish in chill condition also we enjoy to have it every day but i con't However HAPPY to see this on BLOG.KEEP IT UP GEETHAPRIYA.

  4. Thank you Mrs.Garima for your wishes :)

    @Vikram - Very true vikram, we have plans of arraging bombe here sometime down the line i.e when P becomes slightly big..lets see how it goes :). Anyways thanks for your cheering note!

    @Mahadevapura - yeah tastes good when served chilled. Am glad you liked it, thanks.

  5. Wow!! Evenly raosted cashewnuts:).. You do it sooo prefessionally, Rashmi! Hats off to u:)

  6. Thanks Archana :)

    Hi Sonal,
    Nice to know that you loved my blog, thanks very much :)

  7. looks like we are treated with a dessert in a palace :) and that too with 1 of my favorites :)..


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