Celebrate Dussehra and Bathukamma with Darbar

All this month, Sydney’s Darbar Indian Restaurant will be the place to be for dining and celebration. Join us as we celebrate the Indian Festivals of October, whether for our delicious Darbar Weekend Lunch Buffet or for a sumptuous dinner.

A meal here is the finest in dining, but it’s more than that. It’s contact: contact with a culture, a world, that might be your own – or one you might wish to explore. One way to make such contact is by learning about the Festivals of October. We hope your doing so will add to the pleasure of your holiday celebration.


First up on our list of Indian celebrations is the Bathukamma festival, which runs for nine days – this year from October 16 to October 24. The word itself means “Mother Goddess Come Alive” in Telugu. It refers to the Goddess of womanhood, Maha Gauri the Life-Giver, but it also refers to the festival’s familiar flower arrangement: seven concentric circles of flowers, most with a medicinal purpose.

The festival is associated with a particular season: the waning of the monsoon season, just before the beginning of winter. India is an ancient nation with a vast diversity of cultures and various topography. Bathukamma is most intimately associated with Telangana, a southeasern state with Hyderabad as its capitol. It’s a part of India that knows the monsoon well.

As is appropriate to Maha Gauri, women are especially honored during this festival. It begins with their work, cleaning the courtyard in preparation, and it is best known for its flowers, which the Goddess loves and which the men gather. These flowers now bloom in the freshwater ponds left behind by the monsoon. Through the festival, celebrants honor the profound relationship between the Earth, water and human beings; we honor the Unity of all human beings through the Earth and water. It goes without saying that this relationship is most marked during the monsoon, which both gives life and takes life.

The festival is celebrated over nine days, each having its own traditional offering (or naivedyam)to the Goddess:

  • First day (Engili Pula): Sesame seeds and rice flour; wet rice.
  • Second day (Atkula): Lentils, parboiled flat rice, jaggery.
  • Third day (Mundapappu): Lentils, jaggery, milk.
  • Fourth day (Nanabiyaam): Wet rice, jaggery, milk.
  • Fifth day (Atla): Wheat pancakes (dosa)
  • Sixth day (Aligina): No food offered.
  • Seventh day (Vepakayala): Cakes of deep-fried rice flour cakes in the shape of the fruit of the neem tree.
  • Eighth day (Vennamuddala): Sesame seeds, jaggery, ghee (Indian butter).
  • Ninth day (Saddula): Cooked rice in five varieties: curd, tamarind, sesame, coconut, and lemon rice.

Of course, there is a story behind the Bathukamma Festival. Ancient King Dharmangada’s wife gave birth to Goddess Bathukamma. She had many accidents and adventures which demonstrated her divine status. Having completed them, the baby attained a healthy young girlhood.

Such a thing, so attached to a particular season in a particular part of the world, so much the stuff of ancient legend, is a challenge to convey in a restaurant thousands of miles away from Mother India. This is an inevitable issue not just with the Bathukamma Festival, but with Indian festivals generally. At Darbar Indian Restaurant it is our honor to rise to the occasion.


Now we turn to the second of our two great Indian Festivals of October. This festival also lasts nine days, and its final day is the Viajadashami, which takes place this year on Sunday, October 25.

As befits the nationwide significance of the epic tale, the Rāmāyaṇa, Dussehra is better known across the continent as a celebration of the victory of Lord Rama’s victory over the evil king Ravana, who had abducted his (and our!) beloved Princess, Sita. As a celebration of female divinity, especially in Bengal, it also marks the victory of the Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. Returning, briefly, to the southeastern state of Telangana, the festival becomes a celebration of Maha Gauri’s victory over the demon king Mahishasura.

The Gods, Goddesses, and demons may change depending on where you are (or are from) in the Subcontinent, but the theme is the same: Dussehra Festival is the celebration of the triumph of good over evil. Appropriately, it has its own distinct character – and that character is firey The Dussehra Festival is marked by making effigies of the evil-doers and burning them. This gives us strength for our own battles, against our own demons.

For better and for worse, there are fire codes which prohibit too enthusiastic a celebration of Dussehra, but we certainly do our very best. A favored way is to focus attention onto the ninth and final day, which is dedicated to Saraswati, Goddess of wisdom and knowledge. These celebrations take the form of offering handmade dolls to the Goddess or dressing her image in golden or otherwise gleaming objects.

Having purged evil, this ninth day is commonly regarded as a favorable day to embark upon a fresh beginning. What fresh beginning, we ask, would be complete without a Darbar Weekend Lunch Buffet? Perhaps try a bit more hot seasoning than usual to symbolize your own personal burning of Ravana’s effigy.

At Darbar Indian Restaurant the Indian Celebrations of October await you. Come enjoy a delicious meal. Make contact with this marvelous culture and its cuisine.

To book online, go to our reservations page here.

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