Ugadi celebration at the Raju’s home. Yes, mango pachadi was made first

At Raju’s residence on Karneeswarar Koil Street, the carefully-drawn kolams adorning the entrance of the house and the aroma from the kitchen indicated that this Tuesday was indeed special.

The family, like hundreds and thousands, was celebrating Ugadi festival.

Well before noon, Raju’s wife Usha Rani was busy preparing an elaborate lunch spread with some nine dishes including sambar, dal, curry, vada and payasam.   

“We celebrate Ugadi year-on-year. This year is called krodhi, Raju told us.

“We get up early, have an oil bath and then get ready for the puja. Panchangam is read and it tells us how the year will be.  There will be details about when it will be too hot, when it will rain, how the year will be for each rashi and what are the precautions to be taken. We fast till the puja is done and the prasadam is given,” said Raju, an accountant in a private firm. He hails from Tirupati.

“Usually I decorate the puja room with flowers. Being a new year, I have added extra flowers,” he said. He also kept two diyas along with mango leaves at the entrance.

Mango pachadi, key to this celebration, had been using neem leaves, mango, tamarind and jaggery and was offered to god.  “Mango pachadi indicates the different flavours of life,” said Usha Rani, a homemaker.

For Raju, shopping for the festival got down in a jiffy. “Earlier it was difficult to get all the items we need in one place, but this year I got everything at shops on Bazaar Road!”