Of mythology and modaks

Of mythology and modaks

Ganesha Chaturthi is here and everyone is soaking in the festivities. Bangaloreans talk about celebrating the god who clears all obstacles.

“Ganesha Chaturthi is observed in the Hindu month of Bhaadrapada, starting from shukla chaturthi. The story goes that Parvathi was going to take a bath and couldn’t find anyone to guard her. So she made Ganesha out of sandalwood paste. When Shiva, who was away meditating, came back, he was not allowed in. He was displeased with the young boy and asked his followers to defeat him,” narrates Prema Puttanna, a homemaker from JP Nagar.

She adds that Shiva was unaware that Ganesha was his son and severed his head. “When Parvathi saw this, she was upset and Shiva asked his followers to bring the head of any dead human facing North. But they were only able to find the head of an elephant and that is how Ganesha came into being,” says Prema.

Of the festivities that Prema does at home, haras from 21 threads are made for this day. “I also make 21 kadubus and modaks for the day. The number 21 is special on this occasion and 21 leaves are offered to the lord,” she says.


“Many types of fruits are offered but banana is the main fruit as Ganesha has an elephant head,” says Veena Ananth, a homemaker. “The popular food for the festival are kadabu and modak,” says Veena, adding, “The dough for modaks is made from maida, warm water and a pinch of salt. The stuffing is made out of jaggery, sesame seeds and coconut,” she says. She says that there are different types of kadabu.

“Some people stuffed kadabu with dal. I make kadabu by frying freshly grated coconut and sugar till it is brittle and then fill it into the dough that is made like a poori and fry it out,” details Veena. She adds that shavige payasa, pal payasa, two types of kosambri, dal and chittrana are also made.

People add their own twist to the festival. Chef Rana Gomes of Royal Orchid Hotels has created Ganesha-shaped modaks. “Just like the traditional modaks, one has to make the dough and fill it with tutti-fruiti and raisins to give it a modern twist,” says Rana. He adds that the dough is made into balls with the stuffing and one is placed on the other to make the body. 

Even the expats are enjoying the festivities. Guillaume Gauvery from France says that Ganesha Chaturthi is one of his family’s favourite festivals. “My first experience with the festival was in Goa. It was a silent affair. It became more special after my kids were born. Both Ganesha and Krishna are our favourite gods since both are mischievous. Also a sweet, loving god is always an interesting story for the children,” says Guillaume.

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