India Celebrates Harvest Festivals, Three Chariot Festival in Udupi

January 16, 2007 at 11:46 am Leave a comment

Jan 15, DELHI, INDIA (HPI) — As Suryanarayan (the Sun God) is set to sail into Uttaryana (movement of the Sun towards north on the celestial sphere) and winter is on its climax, people across India have been geared up to celebrate the occasion in myriad cultural forms, with great devotion, fervor & gaiety writes Ashok K. Sah. Uttaryana is the six-month period between Makar Sankranti around (14th January) and Karka Sankranti around (14th July) while the period from 14th July to 14th January is known as Dakshinyana. Following is a description of the regional festivals celebrated in India on this day.

LOHRI: Festival to worship fire, Lohri, celebrations of traditional songs, dances, new dress, family get-togethers and lavish dinners with sarson ka saag and makki ki roti, is celebrated every year on 13th of January. Lohri is celebrated in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, parts of Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi. This day is considered as the coldest day of the year and is marked by lighting bonfires. It marks the end of the long and arduous winter. Traditional folk dances of Gidda and Bhangra form an integral part of Lohri celebrations. Families get together to celebrate the first Lohri of newly-wed couple and new-born babies. People throw a handful of ‘revri’ and popcorns in the holy fire and sing traditional Lohri songs.

MAKAR SANKRANTI: The starting of Uttarayana is celebrated as Makara Sankranti throughout India as it is one of the most auspicious days for the Hindus. Hundreds of thousands of people take a dip in places like Ganga Sagar and Prayag (Allahabad) and pray to Sun God. Makara Sankranti (a sanskrit word) is the harvest festival of India. Sankranti means transmigration of Sun from one Rashi (something akin to the zodiac) to the other. Hence there are 12 such Sankrantis in all. But the transition of Sun from Dhanu Rasi to Makara Rasi marks the starting of Uttarayana which means northern movement of Sun. Since Uttarayana is considered as auspicious time, Makara Sankranti is celebrated as the beginning of that period. It is celebrated with pomp in southern parts of the country as Pongal, in Punjab as Lohri and Maghi, and in West Bengal and Assam – Bhogali Bihu.

PONGAL: Pongal is celebrated by all people in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, to give thanks for the winter harvest. Pongal in Tamil means “boiling over. ” It is traditionally celebrated at the time of harvest of crops and hence is a celebration of the prosperity associated with the event. The festival is celebrated for four days from the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi (December/January) to the third day of Thai (January/February). Pongal day is celebrated by boiling rice with fresh milk and jaggery early in the morning and allowing it to boil over the vessel — this is the tradition that gives the festival of Pongal its name. The moment the rice boils over and bubbles out of the vessel, it is offered to the chief Hindu solar deity Surya, a gesture which symbolises thanksgiving to the sun for providing prosperity. People also prepare savories and sweets, visit each others’ homes, and exchange greetings.

BHOGALI BIHU: In Assam, people celebrate this day as Bhogali Bihu. Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu (derived from the word ‘Bhoga’ meaning eating or enjoyment) is celebrated when the harvesting is over. It is a harve st festival. On the eve of Bihu day, called “Uruka,” women prepare rice cakes and other refreshments. The most significant part of this day is the building of ‘Meji’ and feasting at night. The whole night is spent in feasting, merry-making dancing and singing.

Beside the above forms of celebrations, people specially in Gujarat not only look reverentially up to the sun, but also offer thousands of their colorful oblations in the form of beautiful kites all over the skyline.

Udupi: `Three Chariot Festival’ Held with Traditional Pomp

The event is held on `Makara Sankranti’ as part of the `Sapthotsava’

The “Three Chariot Festival”, as part of the “Sapthotsava”, was held with traditional pomp and gaiety at Car Street here on Sunday January 14. A large number of devotees participated in the event.

It was on the day of “Makara Sankranti” that the exponent of the Dwaita philosophy Acharya Madhwa installed a beautiful idol of Lord Krishna in Udupi nearly 800 years ago. To commemorate this, the “Sapthotsava” is held every year.

The festival began this year on January 9 and the “Three Chariot Festival” is held on “Makara Sankranti”.

The “utsava murtis” of Lord Krishna and Lord Mukhyaprana were brought to the “Madhwa Sarovara” (holy pond in the Sri Krishna Temple premises) in a golden palanquin at 7.30 p.m. They were then placed in a decorated boat in the shape of a chariot, which took three rounds in the sarovara. The idol of Lord Krishna was then taken out and placed in the “Brahmaratha”, the idol of Lord Mukhyaprana in the “Garuduratha” and the “utsava murtis” of Lord Ananteshwara and Lord Chandramouleshwara were placed in the “Mahapuja Ratha” in front of the Sri Krishna Temple. Hundreds of devotees drew the three chariots chanting the name of the Lord. Sri Vidyasagara Tirtha Swamiji of Paryaya Krishnapur Math; Vishwesha Tirtha and Vishwaprasanna Tirtha (junior seer) of Pejawar Math; Vishwothama Tirtha of Sode Math; Vidyavallabha Tirtha of Kaniyur Math; Vishwapriya Tirtha of Admar Math; Vidyadheesha Tirtha of Palimar Math; and Lakshmivara Tirtha of Shiroor Math; walked in front of the “Brahma Ratha”.

The “rathas” moved in a clockwise direction and came to a halt in front of the Sri Krishna Temple. The deities were placed in the golden palanquin and carried to the Vasanth Mahal for the puja.

After the puja, the Vidyasagara Tirtha offered “mantrakshata” to the devotees. Later, the “utsava murtis” were carried to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple and the “Mangalarati” was performed. Vidyasagara Tirtha then offered sandal oil, paste and flowers to the other seers. The devotees were then given “kashaya tirtha”.

The “Suvarnotsava” or “Churnotsava” will be held here on Monday, marking the culmination of the “Sapthotsava”.

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