Monday, September 16, 2013

mahalaxmi puja

I had been waiting for the mahalaxmi feast puja (ritual) for almost a year now. Last year when this ritual took place during the courtship period, my husband kept me updated with the undertakings at uncle’s place. Waiting for one entire year and dreaming about the feast was a bit tough on my gluttony stomach. Uncle’s wife(if you have read the ganesh chaturthi post you will know who uncle is) could have cooked the same food some other day also but my husband believes that the feel of devouring it all on the special occasion of mahalaxmi brings some unique flavour to the food which could not be experienced at a usual dinner. And after enjoying every bite of the feast yesterday I couldn’t agree more.

The night before the mahalaxmi ritual (11-09-2013)

At around seven in the evening we called up uncle’s wife to ask if she needs any help. With more than hundred people to feed the next day who would say no to a little succour, hence aunty asked us to come over. However my husband didn’t want to go and sit there doing nothing, therefore he agreed to help only on one condition that he will be given some genuine work (like making laddus-an Indian sweet or cutting vegetables). Aunty informed us that she finished making  laddus the day before BUT there is a huge pumpkin to be cut. So, that beautiful yellow peach pumpkin gave my husband the chance to contribute towards the feast preparation.

We reached uncle’s place at 8:45 pm, just in time to participate in the evening puja (ritual). The idols of mahalaxmi were already set up. They looked beautiful. After the ritual, I helped uncle’s family with the dinner. All this while my husband (in his funny way) was asking aunty not to mock about the pumpkin. He told aunty he’ll leave if there are no vegetables to be cut. Once everyone finished the dinner, the floor was mopped clean, as the work for the ritual’s feast has to be done in a fresh and hygienic place. Finally the huge 5 kilo pumpkin arrived bringing the longest smile I have ever seen on my husband’s face. We got ourselves all the equipment required for the task; newspapers, plates, knives and peelers. Everyone was wondering if my husband will be able to cut the pumpkin into two halves and looked at him with anticipation. With a lot of force yet an effortless look on his face my husband cut the pumpkin while everyone else applauded. I helped him peel it while uncle cut the big slices into medium sized chunks. I also helped cutting the cucumber into insanely small pieces for the maharashtrian salad called “koshimbir”.  It was near 12 am when we finally took a leave from uncle’s place.

The day of mahalaxmi ritual (12-09-2013)

On the day of mahalaxmi ritual we reached uncle’s place at nine at night. The cosy drawing room was vacated. The mats replaced the sofas for people to sit and eat. A group of people were already enjoying their feast (the feast had started at twelve in the afternoon). First, we went and presented our offerings to mahalaxmi. There were four idols altogether (excluding lord ganesh), ridhi and sidhi (lord ganesh’s wives) and the other two of their kids. They were all dressed up impeccably with garlands of flowers around their necks. Like us, many people had presented them with saris (ethnic outfit), bangles, rice and fruits. Above them, I noticed a plate which had satori(a traditional Maharashtrian dessert prepared with khoya, coconut and suji stuffed in a poori made with maida) karanji(maharashtrian dessert similar to gujiya, another indian sweet) and modak(maharashtrian dessert) hanging from it. Women accessories like comb and veni(A braid-as of the hair of a woman's head) were made from dough of all purpose flour for them and were placed in the plate. It was a spectacular sight and was meant to capture.
mahalxmi (ridhi-sidhi) and the kids
the plate with hanging desserts

We finally sat down to eat; we had a thali (plate) in front of us. Next to it was a beautiful little rangoli (an Indian folk art form). We were served with bhajiya/pakora(vegetable fritter) and two kinds of chutney (tamarind sweet and sour sauce and crushed coriander sauce). There was sweet banana yoghurt, the cucumber koshimbir, kadhi (a yoghurt based dish), sweet and sour pumpkin, patta bhaji (a dish of spinach, lentils and peanuts), plain rice and roti (Indian flat bread). Everything was served in small quantities so that one gets hot food with every repetition. While we ate everyone teased my husband, passing comments like “kaddu bada swaad bana hai (the pumpkin dish is very tasty)”. I could only pass a pressed laughter. For dessert there was pooran poli (I treated it as main course only: p), laddu  and gujiya. It was all homemade simple food. Every dish brought a distinctive aroma and taste to the plate. It was all delectable. My stomach was full but my heart was not. For the final touch, we were given homemade paan (a preparation of betel leaf combined with sugary rose petals, areca nuts bound with slaked lime).
the plate is not full yet

Once we finished eating, we all sat together; there was a lot of chatter in the air. Then aunty asked me and my mother-in-law (married women of the family) to sit where the idols were set up. She then, put a pinch of each turmeric powder and kumkum (red coloured powder used for religious markings in Hinduism) on our foreheads and filled our laps with a set of clothes and rice. With that last ceremony the evening came to an end.

Bidding goodbye to everyone, our happy stomachs and souls started the drive back home.

P.S.: I have already started counting days for the feast ritual next year :p


  1. you explained about mahalaxmi puja very nicely.for me,this is new and different as we punjabis have no idea about it.the explanation was as such as if i myself was attending the ritual.

    1. i am glad that the post created an experience for you :)