Gadu Ghada: Sesame seed oil ritually extracted for lord Badrinath
Married women extracted sesame seeds oil for the ritual worship of lord Badrinath on Tuesday. The oil was extracted traditionally in the palace of the erstwhile royal family of Tehri at Narendranagar in the presence of family member and Tehri MP Mala Rajya Laxmi Shah. In the evening, the Gadu Ghada containing the oil was taken on its way towards Badrinath after ceremonial prayers. According to tradition, the idol of lord Badrinath will be anointed with this oil for the six months when the shrine remains open to the public.
Unique aspect of Lord’s service
The Gadu Ghada ceremony is considered to be the start of the ritual process of reopening the Badrinath shrine to the public for the winter. The erstwhile royal family of Tehri has been handling this ceremony for some centuries now. However, few know about the unique aspect of this tradition which exemplifies the bonds between the devotees and the lord, the affection and care due to which the devotees also accord some human attributes to lord Badrinath. The sesame seed oil extracted ritually is used to anoint the lord daily at dawn in Badrinath. This is done as the oil is considered warm in nature and provides some warmth to the lord in the cold high altitude Himalayan region of Badrinath. The Dharmadhikari, Pundit Bhuwan Uniyal said that the lord is first anointed in the sesame seed oil daily for protection from cold. Only after this is lord Badrinath ritually bathed and worshipped in the shrine. Traditionally, the erstwhile royal family of Tehri arranges this oil. According to tradition, married women linked to the erstwhile royal family wear yellow saris begin the process of oil extraction in the morning. They undertake a fast and keep their mouths covered with a cloth and spend most of the day extracting enough oil to fill the pot- Gadu Ghada. No machinery is used in the process for extracting the oil which is done using traditional tools and methods. The pot is traditionally taken in a procession through prominent towns in the Garhwal region before reaching Badrinath on the day of the shrine’s reopening for the summer. Vinod Chamoli | New Tehri
Due to the situation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the oil extraction ceremony was held in a simple manner. At 9 AM, the Raj Purohit Krishna Prasad Uniyal and Sampurnanand Joshi first conducted the ritual worship of lord Ganesh and lord Badrinath. After this, the traditional extraction of sesame seed oil was started by Mala Rajya Laxmi Shah. After consecration of the items used in the process, married women dressed in yellow saris first roasted the sesame seeds and then ground them with a pestle to extract the oil. Social distancing was maintained during the rituals.
It is pertinent to mention here that due to conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the date for reopening of Badrinath shrine for the summer was postponed from April 30 to May 15. Due to this, the Gadu Ghada ceremony which was to be held earlier on April 18 was held on May 5.
Wednesday, 06 May 2020 | PNS
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