Jai Ganesha Deva

Dodda Ganesha Gudi
Buttering up Lord Ganesha

I guess Pavitra Rishta is to thank for my mom’s devotion to Lord Ganesha. It’s not that she was unpious earlier, but her religious tendencies were skewed more toward the traditional Bengali gods and goddesses- Kali, Shiva, Vishnu, Durga. But after watching the show and all its Maharashtrian fervor for the pot-bellied god, she has joined his legion of fans, and now, wherever we go, she will try to find a Ganesha temple to offer puja.

The Bull Temple in Basavangudi is a place I have been meaning to go for a long time, but never managed to due to many reasons (laziness, distance, traffic, laziness). But one day, a couple of months ago, I threw my basket of excuses away and made the trip to the other end of the city. And it was a good occasion to go. There was some puja going on, and though the temple was very crowded, I got to see the entire abhishekha.

The stone idol was first washed with water and then with milk. Curd was poured over him and then his forehead was anointed with ghee. And then began the process of covering him with butter. About a hundred kilograms of butter was used, covering every inch of the idol, and endowing him with the brilliant yellow color you see in the above photograph. Unfortunately, cameras weren’t allowed inside (this photo was taken from outside), so I don’t have a snap of the idol before all the butter was applied, but if you see the Nandi photo below, that was the color of the idol before the abhisheka.

Nandi at Bull temple
The bull who loved groundnuts

The Nandi, seated on a small hillock, is said to be one of the largest monolithic Nandis in the world. Lending its name to the temple, it was built by Kempegowda and carved out of a single granite block. There is a very interesting story behind the Nandi. Legend has it that a bull was grazing the groundnut fields of a farmer. Enraged, the farmer hit the bull with a club, and the stunned bull was transformed into stone. Soon after, farmers saw that the stone bull was growing taller of its own accord! Worried, they prayed to Lord Shiva, who advised them to dig up a trident buried some distance away and place it on the forehead of the bull. On doing so, the bull stopped growing. The thankful farmers built a temple to the bull and also donated their first crop of groundnut to him. This is the origin of the Kadalekayi Parishe or Groundnut Fair that is held in the temple premises every year.

I’m off to eat some laddoos now, and go see the Ganpathi celebrations near my house. Wishing all readers a happy Ganesh Chaturthi! Ganpathi Bappa Morya!

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