Hyderabad switches gear to traditional mode for Ugadi
Deccan Chronicle.| P. TULASI and SANJAY SAMUEL PAUL
Women shop for Ugadi, the Telugu New Year in Secunderabad on Tuesday. (Photo: S. Surender Reddy)
Hyderabad: Ugadi, the Telugu New Year, that marks the start of the ‘Shobhakrut Nama Samvatsara’ will be a favourable one that brings luck and happiness, religious experts and priests said on Tuesday.
The day is set to be marked with festivities across the Telugu states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Besides Ugadi, many others across the country will also be celebrating the onset of the new year — 'Gudi Padwa' by Marathi speakers and 'Cheti Chand' by Sindhis. The festival is celebrated on the day after the first new moon that follows the March equinox, also called astronomical spring, when the duration of day and night is approximately equal.
According to Vedic scriptures, Hindus believe that Lord Brahma started creating the universe on Ugadi.
This year is also unique in the sense that it marks the beginning of the 60-year cycle followed by the Telugu and Kannadiga people. This Ugadi marks the beginning of the Shobhakrut (harbinger of prosperity) and is set to be celebrated with more pomp and vigour on the occasion of ‘Shashti Poorthi (completion of 60 years).’
It is also the first day of the month of 'Chaitra' — the first month of the Indian lunar calendar.
Given that there are no Covid-19-related restrictions after three long and difficult years, people are ready to celebrate it elaborately.
Temples are already being decked up since the past week for the festivities, with devotees expected to start visiting from the early morning to kick off the new year on a pious note.
Shoppers have been thronging marketplaces to buy traditional items, with shops and seasonal petty vendors making good sales. According to them, sales of earthen pots were high, as the ‘Ugadi pachadi’, a concoction made of eight different ingredients, which comprise raw mangoes and tender neem, among others, is served in earthen pots.
The 'pachadi' is made from sliced banana, mango, sugarcane, jaggery, tamarind juice and neem flowers. It tastes sweet, bitter and sour, indicating that life is a mix of different experiences.
Venugopala Dikshitulu, the chief priest at Lord Venkateswara Temple of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, said, "The ‘Shobhakrut Nama Samvatsaram’ is more favourable and has more good in store for people, compared to past few years, as people struggled with illnesses and disease-related hardships. This year will bring prosperity and heath."
He said, "On the day of Ugadi, people wake up early in the morning, take a bath, decorate house with mango leaves and consume the 'panakam (pachadi)', made of raw mangoes, jaggery and neem. Then, people wear new clothes and visit the nearest temple and listen to the 'panchangam', the yearly calendar, which will bring blessings, luck and prosperity."
Numerologists also predicted increased prosperity in the new year.
Jayashankarr Sistlaa, a renowned numerologist, said, "Compared to 2020, 2021,2022, this Ugadi is will be good, especially for those dealing in metals and real estate. It is a good year for people who are looking for buy a new house, flat or construct one."
Just like any other festival, Ugadi is also celebrated by cooking and sharing special dishes with neighbours. Though the festival was celebrated privately at one's home decades back, of late, it has become a community celebration marked by several events.
People said they have not only planned to meet their relatives and friends, but will also organise get-togethers in apartments and gated communities to celebrate the new year with cultural programmes.
Many also said that the rains preceding the festival created a pleasant climate, with some going to the extent of calling them ‘divine blessings’.
The state governments of Telangana state and Andhra Pradesh also officially celebrate Ugadi by arranging 'Panchanga Sravanam', where Vedic pandits forecast the events in the year, going by astrological calculations. Predictions of an individual, country or any entity are made based on the ‘nakshatras (stars)’.
A few pandits also exhibit their literary knowledge through the ‘Avadhana Prakriya’, in which they solve literary puzzles given by the audience or their colleagues. ‘Kavi Sammelan’ is also arranged on the day, wherein literary figures recite poems about how life could be a mixed bag in the coming year.