Saturday, October 17, 2009

The colours of Deepavali - the festival of lights

the peacock kolam

Happy Deepavali everyone! Such a riot of colours for the festival of lights. Every mall, hotel and office seem to have outdone their artistic skills this year with all the kolam displays.

the super "bling-bling" kolam at Pavilion KL

Made from coloured rice grains, the kolam is multi-functional, it decorates and is also said to purify the entrance of the building inviting the godness of Wealth to enter. Kinda I guess like us asking Choy Sun or the Chinese god of prosperity to bless the house/office/mall with wealth. One the decadent ones I saw this year is located at Pavilion KL - studded with Swarovski crystals. Literally a bling bling fest, I reckon.

nope it ain't mango milk but saffron tinged madras masala milk

Every year, I often hit the Deepavali bazaars to soak up the atmosphere. This time round, instead of the more commercial Brickfields, it was the quieter Little India at Klang, with its old world charm. I love how the streets are lined with colourful sweet stalls, fortune tellers with birdies to pick cards that give a peek into your life, incense smells and people enjoying the festivities.

crunchy delights

The town is flooded with people coming from neighbouring small towns to shop for new clothes, decorations and sweets. As the streets are packed with people, a number of volunteers are distributing free drinks to quench their thirst in the heat.

1. apple shaped sweets that hide crushed pistachios, 2. giant ladoos for prayers

Amid the hustle, we managed to do two stops, one for lunch at the 46-year old Jai Hind - a dose of banana leaf rice and ragi. One fascinating stop was at Ashoka Curry House, a modern place that serves the unique looking Madras Masala Milk.

1. kuih ros moulds, 2. decorate your home, 3. "it's going to be a great year for you", says the fortune teller, 4. henna patterns are popular decorations

Tinged yellow from saffron threads, this milk is prepared in a cast iron wok and includes aromatic ingredients like hazelnuts, raisins, pistachios or pista, cardamom pods, dry ginger and herbal nuts. The frothy concoction is tummy comforting and reminds me of payasam, a dessert I love with sago pearls.

1. technicolour jelebi, 2. coconut candy studded with peanuts

Sweets are piled high and in every rainbow colour imaginable. These are essential for the celebrations, as they are used for prayers and served to guests, when they drop by. My favourite is still the gulab jamun - these balls soaked in syrup flavoured with cardamoms and rosewater. There are also an assortment of ladoos - multi-coloured ones and super size ones that are used for prayers. Don't forget the crunchy bits we know as muruku, they're addictive - one scoop in your hand is never enough as you keep digging into the tin to grab more of the crispy batter bits. For more colours of deepavali, see my Flickr set.


Poncho Wearer said...

Great bold colors!

Borneoboy said...

Great photos ! You can't beat the Indian community when it comes to colours !

J2Kfm said...

i love payasam as well. perfect to soothe the throat after a fiery banana leaf meal.
glad you braced the traffic and came out with such vivid images.

Unknown said...

Happy Deepavali to you all the way from India! Have been quietly reading your blog for over 2 years now. And just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate the effort you take to photograph and blog different kinds of food, festivals and experiences. Keep up the wonderful work:)

Julian Si said...

Incredible sights ... and sounds (I can imagine), love your post! Thanks for sharing :-)

Happy Deepavali to all from the desert of the Middle-east...

qwazymonkey said...

What eye candies! Lovely lovely.

The Kolam in Pavilion's so cool right? I love how the peacock looks like a pheonix.

Anonymous said...

really my mouth get wet with this picture

curbside prophet said...

Omg..I can't believe this blog has such deelicious indian food...!!!! Love it

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