Today The Soul Bistro showcases the beauty of the Indian festival of Gudi Padwa. India is a beautiful land of festivals, tradition and culture. It is a wonderful experience to see the festive celebrations come alive during the year. In fact Indian festivals are all about seasons and their significance, auspicious days and their importance, legends and their relevance.
Gudi Padwa is one such Indian festival which has a lot of significance and tradition attached to it. An important festival in the Indian states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, this is a celebration of New Year and harvest time. Called Ugadi Andhra Pradesh, and Yugadi in Karnataka, the state of Maharashtra celebrates Gudi Padwa with a lot of fervour. They hoist an inverted pot or the Gudi on a stick and cover it with either a red or a green cloth . They also decorate it with neem leaves, mango leaves and sugar crystals, all signifying a combination of bitter sweet experiences of life.
A tradition of taking out a colourful and vibrant procession is symbolic of Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra. This year too in Thane the procession or the Shobha Yatra as it is called was observed. I happened to be witness to it and believe me, one has to see it to believe the extravaganza.
Set with the ambience of almost everyone on the streets, it featured a tableau of events. As I walked past, I observed some women dressed in traditional attire and walking along with a King and a Queen believed to be the legendary Maratha Kings and queens of the past.
A cute child in a beautifully done up traditional princely attire attracted everyone’s attention. The sight of these beautiful scenes filled our life with delightful memories.
As the Shobha Yatra moved on, one saw a group of women clad in yellow Maharashtrian style “nau vari” saree dancing to the beat of a traditional song. It was stupendous and phenomenal. The spirit, the ambience and the agility was infectious.
There was a truck full of people depicting the valour and bravery of Rani Laxmibai also called Jhansi ki Rani. To sound of loud cries of ” Jai Bhavani” “Main apni Jhansi Nahin Doongi” the entire place was filled with tremendous energy.
Then there was a group of women clad in white and orange and showing their skills on self defense. They were carrying swords and daggers and showing their skill in protecting themselves. The need of the hour for sure and one that certainly deserves praise and admiration.
The Shobha Yatra moved on and then came the stupendous sight of the magnificent Indian drums. There were a group of drummers beating to the rhythm of a gong sounded by a person and the sight of the colourful turbans of the drummers bobbing up and down as the sound reached a crescendo is awe inspiring. There were another group of men who were carrying long sticks with flags on top and they were tapping the stick to match the crescendo.
There were trucks carrying tableau of models of saving the environment, saving water and saving trees. It was interesting to see children dressed up as peacocks, trees and parrots and asking people to save Planet Earth.
Then I heard lilting music somewhere. As I progressed further I saw a huge chariot with the Indian God Krishna on it. He was symbolically depicting the Bhagvad Gita.
A gymnastic session by a group of children was followed by a group of women carrying pots of plants on their hand showing the path towards a greener planet.
The finale was with a group of women drummers accompanied by men drumming to a climax which is still reverberating in my memories.
There were food stalls and beverages provided to all and the overall experience was one to be cherished always.
Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra is certainly one of a kind and one not to be missed in a lifetime. Respects!