Monday, 25 February 2013

Ratha Saptami @Shree Mahalaxmi Temple Panaji

It was sunday 17th Feb 2012. I was very happy because it was Rathasaptami on that day and i could attend it without taking a leave from my office. It is only thrice a year when Goddess Shree Mahalaxmi of Panaji visits the houses of her devotees in the nearby temple vicinity(Dewul-wada, Boca-de-waca, Mushtifund Area), Rathasaptami being one of the occassion other then Chaitrapornima and Dussera. It was a joyous day for all the people in and around panaji. Devotees had nicely decorated the route of Goddess Shree Mahalaxmi's Ratha with orange color flags, rangolis etc.

It has been a tradition that only talgaonkar (people of taleigao) have the honour of carrying Goddess Shree Mahalaxmi's Rath. Rathasaptami is organized by a group of people called as Rathasaptamikar. The Rath was beautifully decorated with triangular flags(gudi) with Goddess Shree Mahalaxmi's name written on it. After installing Goddess Shree Mahalaxmi's idol(a separate idol other than the one present in the temple sanctum) in the rath the priest perfomed Devi's pooja and the procession of Goddess Shree Mahalaxmi in her Rath began sharp at 9.40am. As it was a sunday it was expected to have a big number of devotees lining up to take the darshan of Goddess Shree Mahalaxmi in her Rath. Huge lines of devotees were seen at every place where the Rath halted as per the tradition. Women devotees welcomed Goddess by offering hotis (containing coconut,rice, piece of cloth and flowers).

The Rath reached back in Temple at 6 pm. Later Goddess Shree Mahalaxmi's Idol from the rath was taken back in the temple on a lalkhi(similar to palkhi). Its a tradition that after Goddess Shree Mahalaxmi's idol is taken back in the temple the devotees remove the flags(gudi) from the Rath and take home. After that aartis were perform in all the temples. Every year after the Rath and aartis there is Mahaprasad being organised for the devotees by the Rathsaptamikar Samaj.  I got an opportunity to be a part of group who were voluntarily serving food to devotees. The Mahaprasad went on till 7.30pm 7.45 pm. Large amount of people attended it. Later in the evening there was Palanquin procession of Goddess Shree Mahalaxmi around the temple followed by aartis.

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