This past weekend (Feb 28 and Mar 1), a very special and rare seve was offered to Lord Mahaganapati at the Nellitheertha Somanatheshwara Cave Temple. The seve is called as “Moodappa Seve” or “Apoopa Seve”. Just like Laksharchane where thousands of flowers are offered, this seve consisted of offering thousands and thousands of “Appa”, a sweet dish popular in Dakshina Kannada. “Appa” is equivalent to the Modaka offered in other regions.
Since Ganapati is believed to like Modakas a lot, the entire idol of Ganapati is covered (till the nose) with Appas and other dishes. Such a rare seve happens seldom. One famous temple where such a seve happens regularly is the Madhur Ganapati temple in Kasaragod.
In Nellitheertha, the entire ceremony was spread over two days. It started on Day 1 with a prarthana and Punyahavana for purification of the ingredients to be used in preparing the dishes.
Subsequently, during the day, a grand Ganapati Homam and Kalashabhishekas (Panchavimshati – 25) were performed to both Lord Somanatha and Mahaganapati.
Meanwhile, the preparation of the “Appas” started. It was a overwhelming sight to see thousands and thousands of sweets being prepared. The entire team of cooks was taking extreme care and interest in preparing the dishes. Several baskets full of dishes were ready by evening.
At the same time, the Ganapati Gudi was also getting decked up.
In the evening, there was a Bharatanatyam dance program by Kum Megha Kakkillaya, offered as a service to the temple. It was an excellent program and Kum Megha’s performance was stunning.
In preparation for the Moodappa Seve, a special “Ranga Puje” was held for both Mahaganapati and Lord Somanatha in the evening. The Ranga Puje is, once again, a unique offering prevalent in Dakshina Kannada region.
Next, the idol of Mahaganapati was ‘readied’ for the Seve by cleaning, etc and the various dishes were brought in front of the Gudi. The whole ritual was conducted by Sri Baggamajalu Subramanya Tantri and his team.
After that the seve began. It took more than an hour for the team of Archakas to fill the entire Gudi of Mahaganapati with the Appas and other dishes. The offerings were poured in so as to cover the idol, except for the face! It was a beautiful sight to see.
It was getting close to midnight when the entire offerings were put in. The idol was then covered with silk clothes, dry fruits, flowers and other things. Mahaganapati was ‘resting’! and the entire temple was closed. Silence all around as Ganapati was in ‘Shayana’.
The ceremony on day 2 started early – at around 6:45AM. It began with the Kavatodghatana (door opening ceremony). Rituals were conducted to ‘wake’ Mahaganapati up from the sleep and the various offerings were removed one by one.
Finally, a Panchamruta Abhisheka was performed for Mahaganapati. In the afternoon, a Maha Puje was conducted followed by Mantrakshate ceremony signalling the successful end of the Moodappa Seve.
It was a thrilling experience to be part of this seve. Truly, I had never seen anything like this before. More photos of this event can be seen here.
|| Om Sri Mahaganapataye Namaha Om ||