Onam celebrates the homecoming of demon king Mahabali who once ruled Kerala. It is said that under his judicious rule, Kerala witnessed a golden era.
Celebrated for a glorious 10 days in the Malayalam calendar month of Chingam, with street parades, pookalam, pulikali dance, snake boat race, and much more, Onam transforms God’s Own Country into a festive riot of colours.
The Myth of Mahabali
Bali, in South Indian languages, is sacrifice or giving. Maha bali translates to ‘great sacrifice’.
The story goes that, like his grandfather Prahlada, Mahabali was a seeker of the benevolent grace of Lord Vishnu. Although he had conquered all of the vast lands and heavens, he was dissatisfied with his earthly life. He, therefore, decided to sacrifice all his possessions for the greater good and well-being of his people. It is at this fateful time that a brahmana called Vamana (dwarf) arrives holding an umbrella made of palm leaves over his head.
The kind and generous Mahabali welcomes Vamana, offering the Brahmin anything he wants. Vamana asks the king for all the land that he can cover in three strides. The wish is granted. But, at this instant, Vamana grows taller and bigger, covering the entire universe with his two feet. Seeing as there is nowhere to place his third feet, he asks the king’s head as the third feet, to which the king obliges willfully.
Mahabali makes the master sacrifice, surrendering his own sense of self beyond everything he owns. The great sacrifice happens on the day of Tiruvonam. Onam is therefore a festival of giving, offering, and listening, to the other.
Although he has transcended the realm of earth, Mahabali is granted his wish of returning once each year to meet his people.
The Onam Affair
Onam marks the yearly visit of king Mahabali to his beloved kingdom. There are folktales - Maaveli Naadu Vannidum Kaalam (When Maveli, our King, ruled the land) - that testify to the popularity of the demon king, even today.
Day one marks the preparation for King Bali’s visit. On this day, people decorate the entrances of their homes with colourful floral carpets or Pookalam, with as many as 10 concentric rings of flowers arranged in beautiful patterns and colours. Fascinatingly, more layers and rings are added on consecutive days. Day five unravels in an uproar of sport, with the famed and spectacular snake boat race. Up to 100 oarsmen row the long and elegantly carved snake boats in Aranmula and other regions of Kerala.
It is believed that Mahabali, having arrived in Kerala, visits the homes of his people, on Thiruvonam. Edging closer to Thiruvonam, people prepare and place clay pyramids that represent Mahabali and Vamana, in the center of the Pookalam. Homes are decorated and the grand Onam feast, Onam Sadya, is prepared to treat the visiting king.
Traditionally the sadhya is a delicious spread of a variety of dishes including upperi (banana chips), maranga curry and naranga curry (sour lemon pickles), erissery (a sweet-spicy vegetable preparation) , parripu curry (thick lentil gravy), inji curry (ginger pickle), sambhar (savoury lentil soup), moru kachiyathu (seasoned buttermilk), chenna mezhkkupuratti (fried yam), avial (mixed vegetable with coconut gravy), payasam (sweet rice pudding). Onam is a feast for both the senses and spirit!
Kozhukattai is a South Indian dumpling made from rice flour, coconut and Indian spices. Though normally made sweet, it can also be prepared for savoury palates. While the dish is prepared during the Indian festival of Vinayaka Chaturthi (celebrating the birth of Lord Vinayaka), it is also a favourite during Janmashtami which marks the birth of Lord Krishna.
For the rice dough
● 1 cup powdered raw rice flour
● 2 cups of water
● A pinch of salt
● One spoon of oil
For the sweet stuffing
● 1½ cups of coconut
● ½ cup of jaggery
● ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
How to Make
1. Add 1 portion of jaggery for every 3 portions of coconut.
2. Mix the coconut and grated jaggery in medium flame.
3. Continue to stir the mixture. You will see the jaggery begin to melt.
4. Cook the mixture until the moisture from the jaggery dries up.
5. Add crushed cardamom and set the mixture aside.
The rice dough:
1. Add 2 cups of water to a cup of raw rice flour in a bowl.
2. Add a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the mix.
3. Stir the mixture on a medium flame for up to 15- 20 mins, until it forms a soft dough.
4. Close the pan with a lid after removing from the stove, and let it sit for about 5 mins.
5. Knead the dough to make soft and smooth balls without any cracks. Rub your palm with water to get them smooth and round.
Putting it All Together
1. Flatten the dough balls and fold inwards with your fingers to form a cup. Start from the circumference and keep the center thick.
2. Fill the flattened dough with the coconut and jaggery stuffing.
3. Bring the sides together to form a tomb in the center, and close the dough around the stuffing.
Set the dumplings in a pan greased with ghee or oil. Steam the dumplings for about 10 mins, and serve warm.
Krishna is the most endearing of Gods. His life, as told in the songs, ballads, and epics of India, speaks of the life-affirming thought that defines Indian spirituality. Is there any other God that embodies the joys of life as gracefully, playfully, and as captivatingly, as Krishna? It must come as no surprise then, that he continues to command the love and imagination of so many people.
Janmashtami, Krishna’s day of birth, is the first of many stories that define his time amongst the mortals. The torrential rains that herald his coming into this world, are reflective of the turmoil the people live with, and the ensuing calm, a reflection of the new dawn soon to follow. Through the course of his childhood, he vanquishes many a demon, ultimately slaying the demon king, Kamsa.
Of Krishna, there are as many stories as there are stars in the sky. What makes them so enchanting and captivating is that we learn the simple lessons of life in these stories. His playful nature tells us to not take life too seriously, even if there are much larger things at play.
To celebrate Krishna is to celebrate love.
From the divine love of his consort Radha, to the spiritual longing of Mirabai (the Rajput queen who renounced royal life for the Lord), Krishna has won many hearts, both within and without his leela (act or play). Mirabai’s poems are a testament to Krishna’s emphasis on bhakti (devotion) as a way to salvation.
Come to my Pavillion
Come to my pavilion, O my King. I have spread a bed made of delicately selected buds and blossoms, And have arrayed myself in bridal garb From head to toe. I have been Thy slave during many births, Thou art the be-all of my existence. Mira's Lord is Hari, the Indestructible. Come, grant me Thy sight at once.Mirabai
Utterly, Butterly, Simple.
It is no secret that butter was Krishna’s mainstay in Gokul. That is why, on Janmashtami, the special offerings (prasadam) include a sumptuous serving of butter with flattened rice and jaggery.
And as we savour the concoction, we reminisce about the story of butter tax which was levied by Krishna. Krishna made sure to collect his dues from the Gopis (cow herds) of the quaint village by any means necessary - persuasion or coercion. Yet he remained dearly loved by all. If that isn’t evidence of how good intentions outweigh actions, what is?
Today, in parts of India, particularly in Gujarat and Maharashtra, the Dahi Handi (Pot of Curd) is yet another imitation of Krishna’s never-ending antics to have butter. Just as Krishna relied on the support and strength of his brother and friends, during the game of Dahi Handi, boys and men find new brethren among strangers, as they give each other a hand or leg up in pursuit of a common goal.
From the confines of high art, to calendar portraits, and Gokul Sandal tins, Krishna truly permeated modern life in all its nooks in the subcontinent. His stories are so popular that the one about butter tax is captured in a beautiful painting titled “Daan- Lila” in the Harvard Art Museum.
This Janmashtami, we urge you to revel in the simplicity of the Lord’s ways and persevere on this journey that is life, as you celebrate both the little things, and the big things.
Best hotels near US Consulate Chennai with mother nature
Endorsed by the Lonely Planet is the Hanu Reddy Residency, pinned on the map alongside the busy road of Anna Salai (Best Hotels Near US Consulate Chennai) in Teynampet, Chennai. This property is nature lovers’ paradise. The 5-decade old trees scattered every side you turn. Providing a cool and laid-back cottage vibe in the metropolitan city of Chennai. This service apartment is in a place one would least expect to witness such greenery.
At just 500 meters from the Anna Salai and the ((Best Hotels Near US Consulate Chennai) US Consulate. This property boasts authentic style rooms and an ambiance so cosy you would want to live here!
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Guest services include luggage storage, locker storage, porter/bell service, laundry and dry cleaning service. The residency acts as a great hotel to host your business meetings, conferences. It is flexible enough to extend its welcome to your guests to give them a great stay at fair and affordable prices.
No Smoking and no pet zone
The property is extremely mindful about those who might be sensitive to smoking and pets. It is thus a no-smoking and a no-pet zone, for a home away from home experience. This is the one location that all travellers, especially older travellers, find to be their ideal location to unwind in a city. This hotel/apartment provides complimentary breakfast. The terrace gardens are one of the visibly striking features that add allure to the entire vibe of this green location in the middle of the bustling city.
With big rooms to cozy ones, from valued complimentary services to paid services. This serviced apartment stands a class apart with its enduring legacy of holding on to providing it’s family’s warmth and comfort to all the guests, unconditionally. Giving off a rustic vibe to the guests. This site is positioned right within one of the quietest neighbourhoods of Chennai.
Major tourist attractions
Just 3 km away from the Marina Beach, at a walking distance to the Music Academy and the Naradha Ghana Sabha. This hotel is one option that previous guests come back to, time and again. The friendly staff, the refreshing environment, the delectable buffet and the home-made food catered with love and dedication by the kitchen staff, the availability of a kitchenette if you would prefer to make your own food, and the lovely ambiance that the property offers are all that make this residency a great place to make your next visit to Chennai a unique experience.
The word vacation, in the context of our current lifestyles, evokes an image of a place that is far away from a city. A place that is filled with trees and waterfalls, animals and birds that are blissfully unaware of the sound of a horn. Not everyone can take a vacation of this sort. Work takes you to cities and the most populated locations of the cities at that (Hotels Near Gemini Flyover). Finding a place to stay here might seem like a humdrum task that you don’t give so much thought to. But, stop. What if I were to tell you that you could get a taste of a vacation this work trip? What if you could stay cocooned away from the pollution inside a lush and green home-like space. Because when work takes you all over the world, home is a vacation!
Hotels Near Gemini Flyover Chennai
Staying at a Hotels Near Gemini Flyover or a service apartment can be boring and dull, especially after a hard day of work. With the Hanu Reddy Residences, at Poes Garden and Wallace Garden in Chennai, you can come back to a home-like boutique stay. You can now unwind from technology and connect with nature, right in the middle of a bustling city like Chennai, at the Hanu Reddy Residence. At the Hanu Reddy Residences, you can have the best of both worlds indeed.
If you’re still wondering why you should explore a boutique home-stay that you think is not as safe a bet as that Hotels Near Gemini Flyover that you always crash at, be prepared to be convinced of why a service apartment is a better suit for someone like you.
Point number one. Lighting. When the room is not well-lit, when the bedside lamp is dull, there is very less you can do. Especially if you’re looking to cut down on some screen time and do some reading. At the Hanu Reddy Residences, the lighting in the room is not only aesthetically pleasing but is also practically beneficial. These rooms were decorated and designed keeping in mind the wants and needs of someone like you.
Spacious stay at Home Stay
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At hotels, asking for something you need is not only a task. What with all the floors between you and the reception, but is also subject to a time-constraint. One of the most important things that the staff and employees at the Hanu Reddy Residences keep in mind is the particular demands and wants of the guests. Whatever you need will be given to you, just the way you want it. At Hanu Reddy Residences, the staff and employees are devoted to the idea of hospitality. They aim to make meaningful connections with the guests to make them feel received as if they were at their own home. So when you arrive at the Hanu Reddy Residences and are asked to make yourself at home. Well know that it is more than just a welcome phrase.
Tucked away in the quiet corner of Poes Garden, Chennai is one of Hanu Reddy Residencies’ properties. It extends warm hospitality and welcomes guests who seek authentic comfort at affordable prices. The Hanu Reddy Residency acts as a fair choice for service apartments providing more than what an actual apartment would provide their guests (Hotels Near Anna Salai US Consulate Chennai).
Hotels near Anna Salai US Consulate Chennai – Heart of the City
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Few of the major hotspots nearby include the US embassy (Hotels Near Anna Salai US Consulate Chennai), Spencer Plaza. Others are Apollo Hospital, the Chennai Central Train Station and the Marina Beach.
Located on the ever-busy Anna Salai (Hotels Near Anna Salai US Consulate Chennai). This hotel hosts 30 rooms, 3 bungalows, a banquet hall, 2 terrace gardens and a large courtyard.
Exquisite Place for Social Gatherings
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Being with the Nature
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