Monday, October 29, 2012

Durga Puja 2012 in Thane

The Durga Puja organised by Bangiya Parishad is the oldest and most popular in Thane. This year they shifted the venue from Gaondevi Maidan to Highland Garden (Crest) Ground on the Balkum - Dhokali Link Road for their Golden Jubilee (50th year) celebrations.

I along with my wife and in-laws participate in this Durga Puja celebrations every year. This year we decided to visit the Durga Puja venue on 'Saptami' (the first day of the four day celebration) i.e. on 21 October, 2012. We didn't know of the venue shift and got to know of it only after reaching an empty Gaondevi Maidan. When we finally reached the new venue, a beautifully decorated entrance welcomed us.

Beautifully decorated entrance of the Durga Puja venue

As soon as we entered, we saw a huge, decorated temple that housed the idol of Goddess Durga.

Huge, decorated temple that housed the idol of Goddess Durga

We removed our shoes and entered the temple to take the darshan of Goddess Durga. There was a grand chandelier hanging from the roof of the temple.

A grand chandelier hanging from the roof of the temple

The priest was performing the 'Aarti' amidst the enchanting beats of the 'Dhak's (special drums) played by the 'Dhaki's, the sounds of the conches, 'Ulu Dhani' (tongue sounds) of Bengali women and Dhunuchi Naach (dance holding hot earthen bowls emitting camphor and incense smoke) performed by a man.

Goddess Durga with daughters Lakshmi & Saraswati and sons Ganesh
 & Karthik on the right & left hand sides respectively. She stands
 with one foot on her Lion and the other one on the back of Mahishasura.

There were a lot of people at the venue (this Durga Puja gets about 10,000 to 15,000 per day). A local orchestra band was playing beside the temple to entertain the gathered devotees.

Devotees at the Durga Puja

Durga Puja is never complete without food. There were several food stalls around the temple and we shortlisted 'Partho's Fresh Fish' stall to savour Ilish Maach with Rice, Egg-Chicken Rolls, Fish Cutlets and the famed Mishti Doi. In fact, Partho Da has his fish shop at Hiranandani Estate in Thane and we pay him a visit regularly to buy fish from him. I liked the food so much that I returned the next day to buy some more Ilish Mach and Mishti Doi.

'Partho's Fresh Fish' stall at the Durga Puja venue

After relishing the food, it was time to go home. We took the blessings of Goddess Durga again and left the venue. It was a divine experience altogether!

Final shot of the Durga Puja venue

For those who missed on getting Goddess Durga's darshan and blessings this year, here's a video of the Aarti for you:

Useful Links:
1. All about Durga Puja
2. Durga Puja Food
3. Bangiya Parishad, Thane

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Akki Roti for Breakfast

I generally don't cook, but I do try out cooking some recipes once in a while. Last time I cooked, I had tried a Mutton dish and Dal which had come out good. Today, I thought of giving my wife a break from making breakfast and started searching for some easy breakfast recipes on the web. I found a few healthy ones on Out of the 15 odd recipes given on this page, I selected the easiest amongst them all - the Akki Roti recipe -

Akki roti or Rice bread is a rice flour recipe of Karnataka. I used all the ingredients mentioned in the recipe except the grated coconut which is optional. Also, I wanted to make about 5 rotis (instead of the 2-3 rotis mentioned in the recipe) and hence made smaller dollops of the dough that I prepared. I followed the cooking method given in the recipe but since I was using a pan instead of a girdle (tava), I cooked each side of the rotis for 2-3 minutes on low flame. Finally, I served the rotis with Tomato sauce (instead of chutney/curry as mentioned in the recipe).

My beloved wife helped me by providing valuable inputs during my cooking, including using a pan, patting the rotis on a plastic sheet so that they can be easily placed on my palm, cooking the rotis on low flame in a pan, etc. She even clicked the following snaps:

Through to the last dollop of the Akki Roti dough when
my wifey started clicking me in action - there were 5 dollops in all!
Taking the last dollop of the Akki Roti dough
Patting the Akki Roti dollop
Shaping the Akki Roti
Making holes in the Akki Roti
Taking the Akki Roti on my palm
Placing the Akki Roti on my palm
Getting ready to place the Akki Roti on the pan
Getting ready to flip the Akki Roti on the other side
after cooking it for apprx. 2-3 minutes on low flame
Flipping the Akki Roti on the other side
Gently pressing the flipped Akki Roti
on the pan to ensure that it's cooked well
Placing a lid on the Akki Roti
Akki Roti ready! Taking it out from the pan!
Placing the Akki Roti in the casserole
My final presentation - Akki Roti! Master Chef in the making?!
Mouth-watering Akki Rotis ready to be gobbled and savoured!
Whew… mission accomplished (notice the sweat on my t-shirt?)

The tribute to my cooking was that my wife liked the Akki Rotis very much and relished them. It feels great when your efforts are appreciated! You can also try out this easy-to-make dish for breakfast.