‘Navratri’ as the name suggests means ‘Nine Nights’..Nine nights is actually a festival in the honour of Goddess Shakti. It’s a special occasion for all Hindus all over India. The first three nights are dedicated to Goddess Durga, the next three nights are dedicated to Goddess Laxmi and the last three nights are dedicated to Goddess Saraswati. Navratri generally ends with Vijaya dashmi or Dussera.
For us South Indians, Navratri is synonymous to Golus or Bombe mane (Doll House), sundals, Badam Milk and chanting of various Devi sthotras. You’ll generally hear M.S. Subbu’s chantings in every house this time of the year. This season is very dear to me as I actually relive my childhood by collecting and displaying lovely dolls:).. I keep collecting different types of dolls and knick knacks to display for Navratri. Generally the dolls are picked with some theme in mind. The themes could be Dasha avtar of Lord Vishnu, Ashta laxmi, marriage set, cricket set etc.It’s really exciting to plan and assemble these dolls. The Dolls are displayed on steps. The steps could be 5, 7, 9 in number. The ‘Pattada Bombe’ or the husband-wife dolls are the main highlight of this arrangement.These dolls are generally gifted by a mother to her daughter during her wedding.
This year, my friend Gokul and I revamped her old dolls, belonging to her mother. Just like two little girls playing with their dolls,we enjoyed every moment draping saree and dressing them up. I also painted an old ‘Benne Krishna’ idol which my mother in law gifted me.This year the scale and size of my Bombe mane got a little bigger, thanks to my doll collection spree. I enjoyed every bit arranging them and feasting on sundal every day.
The Gujratis in our building also organised a Dandiya nite, which I happened to miss as we had planned our yearly trip to Mysore. Mysore is breathtaking during this time of the year. It’s been 3 consecutive years that we’ve been visiting Mysore for Dussera. I ‘m hoping to make this a constant affair every year.
So, this was how we celebrated Navratri and after the festival, removing all the dolls always makes me feel sad and brings a tear to my eye. On the happier note, the dussera dolls are now available in the market at a throw away price and it’s time to grab few more for next year:)..
As mentioned earlier,women invite other women to their homes and generally serve sundal and badam milk during navratri. So here’s the recipe for sundal which I tried out.
Black Chana, Moong and Peanut Sundal:
Black chana: 1/2 cup
Moong: 1 cup
Peanut: 1/2 cup
Freshly grated coconut: 1/2 cup
Ginger: small piece: 1/2 inch
Green chillies: 2 nos
Corriander : 2 tablespns chopped
Curry leaves: 4-6 leaves
Red chillies dried: 2-3 nos
Oil: 1 tablespn
Mustard: 1/2 teaspn
Jeera: 1/2 teaspn
Hing: a pinch
turmeric powder: 1/2 teaspn
Salt: to taste
Lemon juice: 2 teaspns.
Soak black chana, moong and peanuts overnight separately. Next morning pressure cook moong and peanuts together with a pinch of salt. Take care not to over cook moong and peanuts, about 2 whistles in your pressure cooker would be sufficient. On the contrary for black chana, you’ll need some more time, mine got cooked in 4-5 whistles. Please add salt to blck chana also while cooking. Once cooked, keep aside.
Grind, coconut, ginger, green chillies, some coriander and some curry leaves together. Do not grind them into a fine paste consistency. in a wok, pour some oil, add mustard and cumin(jeera). Let them splutter, add hing, curry leaves and red chillies and let them get fried. Add the ground green chilli mix and keep frying for about 2 minutes. Add the cooked, black chana, moong, peanut, salt, turmeric and mix gently. turn off the gas and sprinkle some coriander and add some lime juice. You can also add some freshly grated coconut and sundal is ready.