Sunday, January 31, 2010

Karkala Trip

My last blog-post was of Ratha-Utsav in Katapady, Udupi District.

During that time, we also managed to visit Karkala, a small town ( one hours’ drive from Katapady) famous for Jain Cultural Heritage. Tourists flock to this place to see the Gomateshwara Statue (also called Bahubali) which is about 42ft in height and is carved out of a single stone by the famous sculptor Sri Shilpi Gopal Shenoy who also hailed from Karkala.

Gomateshwara Statue

The statue is located on a rock hill. There are steps leading to reach the top. There is also a motor able road (which we took) for which prior permission need to be taken from the small office located nearby.

On reaching the top, we were awed not only by the gigantic size of the statue but also the fine work of art especially the facial expression.

The view from the top is quite breath-taking especially that of the Ram-samudra Lake. I did manage to photograph this picturesque scene.

Ram-samudar lake - Karkala
View of Ram-Samudra Lake from Top of Rock Hill

Karkala is also known for the famous Sri Venkatramana Temple.

The main door of the temple is made of silver. While the door of the Sanctum Sanctorum (Garbha Gudi)is made out of gold. I managed to take the photograph of this door since we reached early and the doors had not yet opened

Golden Garbha Gudi Dwara of Venkatramana temple - Karkala
Golden "Garbha Gudi" Dwara of Sri Venkatramana Temple

Near the Sanctum Sanctorum are the four pillars. The carvings on these pillars are amazing work of art and worth a visit. I took a picture but sadly my photography was not upto the mark!

Carved Pillars of Venkatramana Temple - Karkala
Carved Pillars of Sri Venkatramana Temple

At 6.00p.m. the doors of the Garbha Gudi opened. We witnessed the puja and took the blessings of the Lord and returned to Katapady.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ratha Utsav (Teru) in Katapdy, Udupi District

We just returned from Katapady (our village in Udupi District) after witnessing the annual Ratha Utsav or "Teru" in Konkani language. This year it was from 19th Jan 2010 to 25th Jan 2010.

"Teru" is a very big event in the village for the GSB (Gowd Saraswath Brahmin) community and everybody looks forward for this festival.

It was a very interesting experience for me and since we were there from start to finish, I managed to take a few photographs (though not very great ! ) and decided to write about it. My husband helped me with the details.

This Utsav is annually held in the month of “Maagha” i.e. in the month of Jan/Feb from “Chavati” to “Dashami” – a total of seven days.

The 1st day is called “Ankuraarpan” which means offering seeds for germination to the God.

The 2nd day is called “Dhwaja-Aarohan” meaning, hoisting of the (Garuda) flag. On this day, all the activities (from morning to evening) in the Venkatramana Temple is performed by the Raikar Kamath Family Trust (our family has formed this trust about 25 years ago) located at Doddamane Katapady.

Dhwaja Sthamba - Katapady

Dhwaja Sthamba


Dhwaja Aarohana

The activities begin in the morning (around 10.00 am) with the puja to the “Garuda Pratima” on the silver plaque which is hoisted on the Dhwaja-Sthambha (located in front of all the temples) accompanied by the beating of drums to variety of musical instruments.

Vegetable cutting in progress

People then gather for community service like cutting of vegetables, coconut scraping etc for preparing the “Annasantharpane” i.e. partaking of meals with the entire community – also called “Mahaprasad”. A light breakfast is served for all the volunteers involved in this activity.

My sister-in-law and I volunteered to cut vegetables. Immediately a huge pile of long beans (Aalsando or chowli) was dumped in front of us !!

We then enjoyed the breakfast consisting of Poha chutney, Sheera, Gulla Bajje and coffee. It was fantastic !!

Around 12.00 noon, Mahapuja and Mangal aarti are performed.

In the evening there is a ceremony called “Balipradan” which starts around 4.00pm. During this time, the silver “Pallaki” is decorated with fresh flowers of various kind and the “Utsava Moorti” is installed in the “Pallaki” and taken around (3 times) the temple courtyard accompanied by beating of drums and various musical instruments.

Decorated Pallaki

Decorated Silver Pallaki

Pallaki taken in procession

In the evening, (around 6.30 – 7.00 pm) the community meals ( Mahaprasad) is arranged on the ground adjacent to the temple. Meals are served on Plantain(Banana) leaves. The whole village people (approx. 1500) assemble for this event. Also called “Gaavn Jevan” in Konkani.

I came to know that during this entire period (7 days) of Ratha Utsav, no cooking is done at home in the whole village !!

Illuminated Venkatramana Temple - Katapady
Illuminated Ratha Beedhi in front of the Venkatramana temple

At around 8.30 – 9.00 pm the “Utsava Moorti” is installed in the “Ratha” (a wooden chariot with four wheels) and is then pulled using two thick ropes and taken out from the temple premises on to the street upto the centre of the village (approx 1 km) and back again to the temple by all the devotees with great pomp and music and bhajans. This is called “Ratha Yatra”. This is followed by puja and mangal aarti in the temple.

This brings us to the end of the days’ activities.

Ratha Yatra, Annasantharpane and all other activites mentioned above takes place everyday for the next five days.

Brahma Ratha

Brahma Ratha just before Ratha Aarohana

Brahma Ratha - just before sunset

On Madhvanavami day a very big Ratha called “Brahma Ratha” is decorated with fresh flowers, fruits, vegetables and electrical lightings for a function called “Ratha Aarohana” which begins around 6.00 pm. This is a very special day as all the devotees from the nearby villages, towns and cities come in huge numbers to witness this great event.

On this day around 5000 people partake the meals (Mahaprasad) in batches of about one thousand persons per batch.

At around mid-night, this Brahma Ratha is pulled in the same path from the temple to the centre of the village and back.

This spectacular scene is worth waiting for and attending in person as the road/street is only as wide as the Ratha itself !

The following morning, the Dhwaja is lowered - this is called Dhwaja Avarohana (lowering of the flag) and that marks the end of the “Ratha Utsav” ceremony.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Potato "Vaag" (Tiger)

“Vaag” literary means tiger in Konkani. This is a mangalorean Konkani dish. It is a dry curry. It is red in color, very spicy and looks very dangerous and hence the name !! But believe me, it is very tasty too and a big hit at parties.

This dish is prepared in different ways. But according to the feedback from my friends and relatives, I have come to the conclusion that this method which I have now perfected (after several attempts) tastes the best.

I still remember sometime back when I had made this dish (along with other dishes), one of our friends came to me and secretly told me that I better keep aside a small quantity of the “Vaag” for myself before it vanishes from the bowl !!

This is my mummy’s recipe. I have tried to make it exactly the way she prepares.

Potato Vaag  (Potato Tiger)

View of the Tiger in Wok !

Potato Vaag (Potato Tiger)

View of the Tiger in the serving dish!


Potatoes (small)





10 pods

Red chilly powder

1 tsp

Turmeric powder

¼ tsp


1 tbsp


to taste

Chopped coriander leaves

1 tbsp

Method :

  • Wash and peel the potatoes. Prick each one of them with a fork. Sprinkle salt over it and keep aside.
  • Wash and chop tomatoes. Peel garlic.
  • Heat a non-stick kadai, (wok) and in it add oil. When hot, add the peeled garlic. when the garlic browns, add the tomatoes.
  • When the tomatoes soften, add the turmeric and red chilly powder. Stir. Always maintain a very low flame.
  • Now add the pricked and salted potatoes. Mix well and cover the wok and cook it for about 30 mins or till done.Stir the potatoes every now and then so as not to get burnt.) If it sticks at the bottom, you may sprinkle a little water.
  • Finally garnish it with chopped coriander leaves.

Note :

Tomato puree or tamarind extract can also be used instead of tomatoes.

Potatoes should be preferably small (1-1½ ”) in diameter). Large potatoes can also be used but you may have to cut into quarters as it may take a long time to cook plus the appearance of the dish will also change.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Palak "Patradau" (Spinach Rolls)

This is a typical Mangalorean (Konkani) dish – something to die for (at least for some)!! It is generally made out of colocasia leaves. Some of these leaves, even after cooking, leave an itchy sensation in the throat after consuming it.

My problem was that no matter how good the leaves were, my husband always felt that it is irritating his throat - with the result, I had almost stopped making this dish. Then one fine day, when he brought fresh Palak (spinach) from the market, (the leaves were huge) and my husband just jokingly said maybe you should try making pathradau out of palak rather than colocasia leaves.

Since then, I have been making this dish out of palak.


Palak (spinach) leaves


Green gram whole

1 cup

Raw rice

¼ cup

Grated Coconut

1 cup

Dry Red chillies


Tamarind pellet

the size of a bean


¼ tsp


to taste

Method :

  • Wash and soak the green gram for about two hours.
  • Pick and wash only the large size leaves (cut off the stem) and dry them on a towel.
  • Grind the soaked green gram along with raw rice, grated coconut, dry red chilies,
  • tamarind pellet, asafoetida and salt using least amount of water to a smooth paste.
  • On the chopping board, place a spinach leaf with its backside up and the stalk end
  • towards you. Smear the ground paste evenly all over the surface. Then place
  • another leaf over it and repeat the smearing process till 7-8 leaves. Then fold the
  • sides inwards and smear the paste on the fold. Then roll gently but firmly from the
  • stalk end to the tip in the form of a cylinder.
  • When the rolls are done, place them on a greased plate and steam them for about 25-30 mins or till done.
  • When cooled, cut it into thick slices and serve immediately.

Note :

From 40 leaves, I made 5 rolls (each containing 8 leaves)

These can be eaten as it is or to make it tastier, it can be rolled in semolina and shallow fried in a pan on both sides till golden brown.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Raw Papaya Salad (Som Tam)

This is a Thai Salad – very colourful easy to prepare, tasty and healthy too. I make this often as raw papayas are available here throughout the year. I have slightly modified the ingredients to suit our Indian taste.

Raw Papaya Salad 2


Raw Papaya (small)

¼ pc



Crushed roasted peanuts

2 tbsps

Chopped long beans (chowli)

1 tbsp

Dry red chilly (Kashmiri)


Jaggery (palm sugar)

2 tbsps

Lime juice

1 tbsp

Chopped corriander leaves

for garnishing


  • Peel and grate the raw papaya & cut tomatoes lengthwise.
  • In a mortar, pound red chilly, long beans and jaggery.
  • Put the above ingredients (papaya, tomatoes and the pounded mixture) in a bowl.
  • Now add to it the crushed roasted peanuts and the lime juice. Mix well
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve.

Note :

While making this salad, long beans was not at hand so I had to omit it. It still tasted good!

This is one salad in which no salt is added.