Ganesh Chaturthi 2022: Why Ganesha Loves Modaks
Image Credit: Only modak could satiate Lord Ganesha

No Ganesh Chaturthi story is complete without the tale about modaks, his favourite sweet that now has more variants than Loki.

The story goes that when Lord Shiva visited the wife of an ancient rishi, he asked for food. However, the host Anusuya, wife of Atri, refused to serve Lord Shiva till Bal Ganesha was full. Of course, Ganesha was never full and worried that there’s be no grub left for Lord Shiva, Anusuya served Ganesha a single piece of sweet that elicited a loud burp, indicating that he was full. Even Lord Shiva was satiated and gave out 21 burps. When Goddess Parvati learned that it was the modak that signalled the end of Ganesha’s meal, she deemed that all devotees offer the sweet to her son.

Another modak origin story involves Bal Krishna. Devaki was a Ganesha devotee who made them using rice flour dumplings stuffed with jaggery and coconut shavings. However, Lord K treated modaks the way he treated butter, and his mother would tie him up to prevent him from eating the modaks. 

Ganesha, on the other hand, didn’t like to see his fellow mischief-maker tied up and would come to life from the idol and feed the baby Krishna modaks. In fact, modaks have become so tied with Ganesha that he even earned the moniker modakapriya (the one who loves modaks). The word modak literally means ‘small parts of bliss’.

Ukadiche Modak | Picture credits - Unsplash

Interestingly, versions of modaks (which to be fair have the same structural integrity as dumplings), are popular across the world. In Japan, they are called kangidan and offered to Kangiten, a Japanese iteration of Lord Ganesha. In fact, Ganesha’s Japanese avatar is quite big in Mantra Buddhism, which travelled to Japan from Odisha via China.

In fact, modaks exist wherever Ganesha does as a deity. They are popular in Indonesia (kue modak), Malay world (kuih modak), Thailand (khanom tum), Myanmar (mont lone yay baw).

Of course, closer home, the most popular version associated with Ganesha Chaturthi is the Ukadiche Modak (ukadiche meaning steamed).

Either way, it’s time to bid adieu. Hopefully, Ganesha will remove all your obstacles. Ganpati Bappa Morya!