The history of Hayagreeva Maddi, a delectable Udupi sweet made from bengal gram (chana dal), locally sourced jaggery, freshly prepared homemade ghee, grated coconut, dried fruits and spices can be traced back to the time of the great saint and philosopher, Sri Vadirajatirtharu of Sode Matha.
According to the locals, in the early 1500s, a goldsmith was trying to create the face of Lord Ganesha in gold. Curiously, every time he tried to carve the face of Lord Ganesha and his trunk, the figure would change to that of Lord Hayagreeva. The goldsmith melted the gold and restarted the process only to arrive at the same result.
Frustrated and disappointed at failing repeatedly, the goldsmith kept the figure of Lord Hayagreeva aside and went to sleep. That same night, Lord Hayagreeva came in the dream of Sri Vadirajatirtharu and asked him to take the carved figure from the workshop of the goldsmith which he jokingly said had received several beatings and offer prayers to it daily. Meanwhile, Lord Hayagreeva came in the dream of the goldsmith and asked him to surrender the figure carved to Sri Vadirajatirtharu.
The next morning, the goldsmith handed over the figure of Lord Hayagreeva to Sri Vadirajatirtharu as instructed. Sri Vadirajatirtharu lovingly took the figure of his beloved Lord and placed it in the shrine. He used to make a daily offering of a sweet dish prepared from chana dal.
Swamiji used to cook the chana dal with just the right amount of water till it became soft. Jaggery, ghee, spices like cardamom and dried fruits like cashew and raisins were added. This delicious preparation would be offered by Swamiji to Lord Hayagreeva behind closed doors. Such was his devotion, that a horse would emerge from the idol and partake the prasada daily. Swamiji would return the empty vessel to his disciples only after the Lord had eaten.
This divine sweet came to be called Hayagreeva Maddi because of its association with the sacrosanct town of Udupi. Even today, this sweet is offered along with the renowned Mattu Gulla brinjal in Sodhe Math as well as in the Udupi Sri Krishna Temple during Paryaya held at every alternate year.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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