Gudi Padwa the festival to celebrate the month of Chaitra is prevalent in Maharashtra, but the state took the occasion to an all-new level by sculpting a towering 18,000 square feet long Rangoli in Thane. It took all of 9 hours apparently. The monumental task was made by 70 artists using a whopping 900 kgs of rangoli powder at Thane’s Gaondevi Maidan. Going by Hindu Lunisolar, this auspicious festival is acceptedwestern  as the new year across the regions of India (especially Konkan and Maharashtra). These are places situated in the western belt of India. Konkani community refers to this as Samvatsara. This same festival is celebrated as Ugadi in the southern regions of India. This year Gudi Padwa will be celebrated on March 18 (Sunday). The preparations are on in full swing in Maharashtra already.

According to the legend, the day marks the outset of 60 years of cycle or 60 Samvatsaras. The unique feature is that every single Samvatsaras has a different name. A wooden stick with a red and yellow flag is hung outside the door or window for everybody else to see, it is called ‘Gudi’. The army’s victory is symbolised by the flag.The end of the stick is covered with a copper vessel.

For then devotees, the holy bath is followed by the performing of the puja and then by rituals on the auspicious day. The best part is that all devotees must have neem leaves as it is strictly a part of the age-old custom. This is when Chaitra Navami starts and leads to Ram Navami, that is celebrated to commemorate Lord Ram’s birth on the ninth day. Devotees start their day by cleaning their homes and decorating their doorsteps with Rangoli. It is only at the end of the Rabi season that Gudi Padwa is celebrated, not until then.

The festival is also renowned for the celebration of local cuisines mainly Sakkar Bhaat (sweet rice), Puran Poli, and Shrikhand and Puri. The Konkanis make their signature Kanangachi Kheer, a sweet dish made of sweet potato, coconut milk, jaggery and rice.