BHOPAL: The nation has neared the Unlock 4.0 phase but is still struggling with the pandemic, which has affected almost every sector and livelihood. The festive seasons are no new, which lost all its charm amid the pandemic induced lockdown.
Amid all the pandemic turmoil, citizens are seen embracing reality and find their way in celebrating the festivals.
Maharashtrian families in Bhopal are busy celebrating Mahalaxmi Puja - one of the most important fests for them.
The three-day puja which began from Saptami (Tuesday) is part of 10-day Ganesh Utsav. On the eighth day of the lunar calendar month Mahalakshmi or Goddess Gauri is worshipped. Gauri (also called Mahalakshmi in some households) is an avatar of Parvati, the Shakti Roopa version of the lord Shiva, and also the mother of Lord Ganesh.
Vice-president of Marathi Sanskritik Mandal, Piplani, Mukund Dattatreya Godbole, said the manner of worshipping Mahalakshmi or Gauri, handed over by tradition through generations, is meant for the welfare of family. It began with the arrival of Goddess Gauri (Mahalaxmi) on Saptami. On Ashtami, various types of dishes especially puran poli and Kheer were offered to the goddess after shringar. And the immersion of the idol of the goddess is held on Navami.
President of the Apulki Maharashtra Mandal, Surendra Vaidhya said the three-day puja is performed at the home by Maharashtrian families. It is believed that the goddess Gauri comes to her ‘Mayaka’ with her sister for three days. The face of the idol of the goddess is made either from metal or stone and rest parts are made of wood and clothes, he said.
A homemaker Aarti Bhatware, said on the first day of the three-day fest Gauri Mahalakshmi idols, dressed in sarees and decked up like most married women, are installed and flowers, ornaments, haldi and Kumkum are offered to them. "On the second day of the fest, we prepare mahaprasad including 16 dishes and on the third-day immersion ceremony will be held. We celebrated the fest with family. We couldn’t invite relatives and friends this time due to COVID,” she said.
Similarly, Shrutika Kulkarni said she celebrated it with her family members and didn't invite anyone. According to the rituals, two married women and one Brahmin are invited on Ashtami to have Prasad. “But this year, we invited only two people– one married woman and one Brahmin,” she said.