Tag Archives: Modak

In a country having many cultures, cuisines and over 1000 varieties of sweets, Ganesha’s love for modakam is noteworthy. A sweet dumpling made of rice floor and filled with jaggery (or molasses) is Lord Ganesha’s favourite. On “Ganesh Chaturthi” (Lord Ganesha’s Birthday) the celebration is incomplete if the deity is not served these sweet dumplings made of rice flour and coconut. It is not just an important offerings to Lord Ganesha but also serves as a reward given by him to his devotees. Lord Ganesha holds the modakam in his left hand.

There is a fascinating anecdote about how Ganesha fell in love with the modakam. Once some “Devas” went to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati with the modakam. The Devas claimed that the divine modak, when consumed by anyone, will give immense knowledge and wisdom. Parvati went to her sons, Lord Kartikeyan and Lord Ganesh. Goddess Parvati was in a fix when it came to deciding who to give it to. Hence she asked her sons to compete in a race, wherein each one had to encircle the world three times. Lord Kartikeyan (also known as Skanda) immediately mounted on his peacock (his vehicle) and began to encircle the earth but Lord Ganesha kept loitering around. Sure of his win, when Kartikeyan was encircling the earth the third time Lord Ganesha got up and went around his parents three times. When asked by his parents why he had done that Lord Ganesha answered that to him, the world meant his parents and hence he encircled them and accordingly won the race. On this display of sincerity and wisdom Lord Shiva and Lord Parvati presented their son Lord Ganesha with the modak. The modak hence represents not just Lord Ganesha’s win but also wisdom and dedication that he exhibited during the time of the race.

We also learn that a simple sweet dumpling made of rice flour holds significance in everyone’s life. Lord Ganesha’s obsession with this sweet is depicted in his idols as well. He is shown with a plateful of modaks in pictures. Legend has it that on his birthday Ganesha was devouring on the modaks made by his mother Parvati. The overeating made his belly swell. Seeing this, the moon started mocking and laughing at him. On hearing the laughter, Lord Ganesha cursed the moon saying that its beauty will never be constant. Also on Ganesha’s birthday (Ganesh Chatturthi) anyone who would look at the moon shall have bad luck for a long time. Perhaps this story is also a reminder of Indian culture’s passion for food.

The passion represents Lord Ganesha’s constant quest for wisdom. The modaka, though a sweet is believed to be divine not just by the deity but all the Hindus in general. What was given by the Devas as a gift to the Lord of wisdom is believed to be a blessing from Lord Ganesha to his devotees.

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Lord Ganesha has always been considered the ‘happy go lucky’ God. His ever smiling and effervescent face reflects positivity. He was happy with his elephant head and a huge pot belly which he became popular for. Although he happily accepts whatever his followers and devotees offer him, he, like we all do, has his favorite dishes. His all-time favourite food is ‘Modak’. Modak is a form of a ladoo which is made up of flour,stuffed with jaggeryand grated coconut which can either be deep fried or steamed.The steamed version is served hot with ghee and is popularly known as ‘ukdiche modak’.It is the most popular sweet during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival and is often given as the Prasad after it has been offered to the lord. Lord Ganesha’s name ‘Modakpriya’ which actually means the one who loves modaks was coined after seeing his great fondness for modaks.According to Indian tradition and mythology it is believed that the food should first be offered to God and then that particular food item becomes divine and is considered as ‘Prasad’. During Ganesh Chaturthi, devotees make different kinds of sweets and offer then to Idols of  Lord Ganesha. These sweets are then distributed as Prasad among the loved ones.

These days the traditional modaks are served with a modern touch. Initially they were made at home, but with the fast paced world everything is available in ready to eat format. Some of the sweet shops in Mumbai sell sugar free modaks. The other variants that are seen include – strawberry, kesar (saffron), khajoor (dates), cashew nut, boondi. Although the traditional ones are still the most common and most popular but these new variants seem to be knocking onto the hearts of people slowly. The one variety which children seem to be completely in love with is –Chocolate Modak.

The other foods that Lord Ganesha lovedare – Boondi Ladoos and Peda.

Boondi Ladoos are considered to be an all-time favourite sweet of Lord Ganesha and thousands of his devotees. Boondis are very small deep fried balls that have been soaked in sugar syrup. After the boondis have been soaked in the syrup for some time, they are drained and made into small bite size balls which are known as Ladoos.

Peda is a traditional sweet of the Indian subcontinent and is extremely popular in the northern part of the country. It is a soft chewy sweet made up of khoya, sugar and dry fruits. The sweet is believed to have originated in the state of Uttar Pradesh but now its popularity seems to have crossed the boundaries of the state to reach far and wide. Peda is one of Lord Ganesha’s favourite sweets and is thus made during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.

The next in the list is – Puran Poli. Puran Poli is a sweet flat chapatti which is common in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. The main ingredients are – split yellow gram (chana dal), flour, jiggery or sugar and ghee. The stuffing is known as the puran whereas the outer coating is called the poli. Although it resembles a chapati, it is not actually a chapatti. The puran poli is made on auspicious occasions and festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi and Holi. It is usually served hot with milk or ghee. With the time the traditional recipes are also going through an evolution to suit the taste of today’s masses. Some ingredients are being replaced by their healthier counterparts but the love and affection of the recipe remains the same.

It is said that everyday can be an occasion and when you are together with your family and loved ones it surely is an occasion. So make these special dishes and share them with your entire family.

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