Celebrating Gudipadwa Andhra Style
Yesterday, we had a day off on account of Gudipadwa or Ugadi – as it is celebrated here in Andhra Pradesh. As I understand this is a big festival here, second only to Dussera, marking the beginning of the Hindu lunar year.
Typically, new clothes and jewellery is gifted to family on this day.Everyone, including the service staff was dressed in festive finery. Most folks perform elaborate puja’s at home to seek blessings at the beginning of the new year. Elaborate meals are prepared which mainly feature raw mango as this is the start of the mango season. New business ventures, big purchases like cars or houses are made on this day – as it is one of the 3 auspicious days in Hindu calendar.
In a typical Maharashtrian style, we did small puja at home. And ate neem leaves with sugar to ring in the new year.Then we hoisted the gudi (or totem) – or rather kept it in the puja niche as we lacked the necessary equipment to hoist it ( long pole, string etc).
And in a typical Andhra style, we hung neem and mango leaves toran on the front door. We also made the famous Telugu dish – ugadi pachadi – or neem, kairi (raw mango), tamarind and jaggery chutney: a sweet and sour brown sauce/chutney which I can eat any other time of the year as well!
We bought new clothes for Varun and later on visited Chilkur Balaji temple to seek blessings and to kick-start the new year on the right note! Legend has it that people go this temple and make manaat (oath) – most commonly to get US visa – hence it is also called as Visa Balaji. Our driver insisted we go here rather than the Birla temple on this auspicious day.
It is one of the non commercial temples I have visited lately, with no asks for donations etc. Instead the priest was asking everyone to distribute books, study and focus on exams rather than on TV/Facebook etc.
Getting to celebrate two holidays since we landed in India has been awesome! Next, we have a trip to Mumbai and a wedding to attend! YAY!!!
P.S. Apologies for the poor picture quality. I am yet to find the battery charge for my camera. Hopefully things will be sorted once we get our air shipment next week.