Can you still find your roots in a city where you were just born but never lived? Here I am, more than three decades after being born in this beautiful city called Jaipur, trying to discover its land & by-lanes , memorize its countless darwazas and make sense of this incredible chaos and colour which is all around me.
As I wonder where do i begin cracking this maze, very aptly and like a divine sign ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’ pops up on the Calendar. After all, every new endeavor in India starts with dear Lord Ganesha. So this was perfect. Almost as soon as I thought perfect, I wondered aloud to all and sundry, why were we actually celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi here in Jaipur, a festival to my knowledge mostly associated with Maharashtra. Maybe this was not a sign, after all ?
As I walk up the ramp to Moti Doongri (small pearl on a hill) temple to find such answers, I see the beautiful Moti Doongri fort almost floating above the temple answering some of those. The section itself is beautiful. Abutting the main Road, the ramps rises up to the temple built across a 2 Kms plane , with the green hill rising up in the background and the fort perched atop. Dating back to the 18th century, this 255 year old temple was constructed by Seth Jai Ram Paliwal and the King of Mewar (idol).This famous temple and its traditions is also why Ganesh Chaturthi is such a revered and famous festival here in Jaipur.
As I reach the temple steps through the complex, I am surprised to find that a stage has been set up right in front of the temple. The explanation – As Lord Ganesh is supremely fond of the fine arts, he will be invoked by Classical Singers from Jaipur and Gwalior in a Dhrupavad Sabha in the evening. This itself was exciting. But first the ‘Aarti’.
As the sun hits its last note of the day and sets, the dusk envelopes the city. From the brightly lit halogen lamps outside to the oil lit lamps inside the temple, the world seemed to have come to some mystical apparent agreement. With the clanging silver bell in the Chief Mahant’s hands in sync with the 6 brass bells at the entrance, the bright orange hue of the brightly lit lamp for the aarti , the nobat on the gallery above with its deep reverberating notes , the fragrant waft of the incense mixed with the marigold flowers and the peaceful faces of those praying inside, I sat mesmerized through the powerful aarti. On cue, as the aarti got over, almost instantly the Dhruvapad Sabha Starts.
A city steeped deep in its culture and roots, this was the distinct flavor to experience and savor. I had heard (or tried not to hear the bhajans and Kirtans) of the usual kind in most temples /cities and not been too impressed ever so far to sit through them. This was something else. Enthralled as the evening progressed Lord Ganesha, the audience and me were treated to a spell binding performance by various talented classical singers in Raag Yaman, Maulkans and Raag Bhairavi in ‘Stuti of Lord Ganesha’. With the Pakhawaj accompanying the singers at such fervor and tempo, in between it seemed almost as if the gods too descended on this earth to be a part of the festivities and celebrations. I was equally spell –bound and surprised to have experienced my first cultural mouthful of this city. This was Jaipur just warming up to usher in Ganesh Chaturthi in a way I hadn’t experienced before.
This is not all, the festivities actually started on 30th august itself and will go on till the 6th of September. The Panchamrit Abhishek and the thousands of ladoos ( of some weighing 251 kgs) were already offered to Lord Ganesha since then. Up ahead are Kathak Performance by Kathak Kala Kendra , the Mehedi/ Shinjhara Jhanki , Janmotsav itself on the 5th followed by the Shobha Yatra which will go through the city and Visarjan in Garh Ganesh on the 6th of September.
Indeed the way Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in Jaipur is Special.
30.08.2016 : Panchamrit Abhishek of Ganeshji
31.08.2016 : Modak Jhanki / Shastriya
01.09.2016 : Dhrupad Gaayan
02.09.2016 : Kathak performance by Kathak Kala Kendra
03.09.2016 : Kathak performance by Kathak Kala Kendra
04.09.2016 : Mehendi Jhaanki / Shinjhara
05.09.2016 : Janmotsav
06. 09.2016 : Jhaankiyan from Moti Doongri Ganesh temple till Garh Ganesh
Artists: Parsram Nehar on Harmonium, Ajay Choudhary on Taanpura, Dr Praveen Arya on Pakhawaj, Bhupendra Singh aggarwal, Khushaal Nanda, Lakshya, Varun Jain, Lalit Dewra, Ashishraj Meghavanshi, Dr Jyotsna, Ajay Choudhary and Shri Abhijeet Sukhdaane.
Blog Courtesy: Tanushree Gulati, Planner,Philosopher, passionate writer, a foodie and a traveler.
(For countless years, Ahmadabad /Bhuj / Gujarat has been her muse followed by Delhi . She understand people and psyches through its art, culture , history , food and it’s flavors. This overlap of the old and the new and it’s paradoxes really fascinates her.)