When the night comes alive to the sound of music and paeans to Brahma, its Kartik Poornima.
A nip in the mid-November air. Udaipur, the city of lakes in western India, was at its best this time of the year. The mesmerising palatial palaces of Maharana of Mewar, built in and around Lake Pichola, like a time machine, drag you in to a history that is more than 450 years old.
Now converted into a heritage hotel by Arvind Singh Mewar (the 76th custodian of the dynasty established in 566 AD) I stayed at the palace at the invitation of the Maharana of Mewar on the occasion of Kartik Poornima. Constructed in the middle of a huge waterbody, this 400-year-old palace stands in front of City Palace.
Established in the sixth century, the dynasty is known for several great warriors including
It’s time to set out for the Kartik Poornima programme, organised at Jagmandir Palace on an island in Lake Pichola. On a full-moon night, as the sun sets, tourists and dignitaries gather at the City Palace jetty. “It’s a great feeling to be at the place which represents the longest serving dynasty in the world,” says Martina, a Spanish lady. The jetty is beautifully decorated with flowers and lights and the City Palace has a new avatar. A royal band welcomes the guests. The five-minute water-journey from City Palace to Jagmandir Palace is definitely not enough to take in the splendor of the two historical icons at sunset with the rising moon in the backdrop.
Beautifully decorated with white jasmine flowers and electric lamps, Jagmandir palace is stunning. From a special chaat corner to chhole kulche and from imarti-rabri to cocktails, the aroma of a wide range of Indian cuisine wafts towards us. Amazed foreigners ask their fellow guests the names of the different dishes they are
After dinner, people are directed towards the stage, set under the moonlight for Brahmanjali-the Bhartnatyam presentation of stories of Lord Brahma who is worshiped on Kartik Poornima. Designed in the shape of a palace and decorated with white flowers, the huge stage and live orchestra of Mridandum, Nattuvangam, lute and vocal swayed everyone into the historical period of kings. Rama Vaidyanathan , the star of the night and the noted exponent of Bharatnatyam explains the significance of the festival before presenting the Brahmanajali-Ode to the ultimate creator.
“The Hindu mythology mentions the trinity of Gods-Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva; the creator, the preserver and the destroyer. While the latter two have various festivals, the only day in the year when Lord Brahma is worshiped is Kartik Poornima.” The Lord Brahma wished to perform a yajna for which he selected a hill on earth. He followed his penance on that hill for 1,000 years prior to that yajna. He then dropped a lotus flower from the hill which created holy Lake of Pushkar where the sacred Brahma Temple is situated.
Just before the yajna, his wife Saraswati was nowhere to be seen so Lord Brahma married a milkmaid Gayatri and started the yajna which angered Saraswati so much that she cursed Brahma saying no one would worship him ever. Later, when she calmed down, she said he would be worshiped only on one particular day of the year and that would be Kartik Poornima.
The mother daughter duo then proceeded to perform a wonderfully choreographed composition depicting the story of Lord Brahma who symbolizes the supreme consciousness, bringing forth all creation.
With extreme dedication and devotion, Rama and Dakshina change the stage and the surroundings into a mystique of life leaving the audience mesmerised forever. As it comes to an end, the Brahmanjali concludes with the Brahma Gayatri Mantra.
Kartik Poornima is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs (As Guru Nanak Jayanti). It is also known as Dev-Deepavali and Tripurari Poornima. It is believed that on this day the Gods come down on earth and make their homes in the sacred rivers. People take bath on this day in the river Ganga and other sacred rivers to eliminate negative forces and to yield positive results. According to another legend, Shiva celebrates this day for his success over Tripuri demon.It is also believed that on this day Vishnu incarnated himself like a fish (Matsyavtaar).