(Juhi Aishwary, Journalist):  Big Tuesday or Bada Mangal is a day to worship Lord Hanuman. It is a unique festival in Lucknow as it happens only in Lucknow and is celebrated for the past 400 years. As it is unique to Lucknow, devotees come over from all over the state and even some other parts of the country to seek blessings from Lord Hanuman. It is believed that worshipping Lord Hanuman on this day protects us from evil and brings wealth and prosperity. The festival may be a symbol of Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb of Lucknow and said to possess originated during the Mughal rule some 400 years ago.

Bada Mangal is celebrated every Tuesday during the Hindu month of Jyestha which usually falls during May and June, as per the Gregorian calendar. The kapaat (doors) of the Sanctum Sanctorum is closed since morning and behind the doors, (bathing), (clothing), and (makeup) ceremonies of Lord Hanuman are done. The doors are thrown open to the devotees a few hours before midnight and are open till the wee hours of Wednesday.

The Hanuman Temple in Aliganj is the main focus for all devotees because all the rituals are said to have started there.

The ”Bada Mangal” has a stimulating story behind it. Aliganj Hanuman temple was constructed by Nawab Saadat Ali Khan in 1798 when his mother Aliya Begum”s prayers were reportedly answered and thus the Nawab was blessed with a son. Aliya Begum insisted on building the temple and therefore the Nawab complied. The last Nawab of Awadh ‘Nawab Wajid Ali Shah’ continued the tradition by holding community feasts for Hanuman devotees.

The Aliganj temple features a star and a crescent on the dome and therefore the ”Bada Mangal” festival may be a perfect example of Hindu-Muslim unity.

There are over 9,000 big and little Hanuman temples in Lucknow who open their doors at the stroke of midnight and devotees still offer prayers for the whole day. People flock to the temples in

 large numbers during early morning and late evening to avoid long queues and heat.

Devotees found out large Bhandaras across the town to distribute prasad and jal to everyone. On the roadside corporate houses, shopkeepers and residents erect campaigns to offer free unlimited chilled sherbet, water, and food to all passer-by from halwa-puri, aloo-kachori, Chola-chawal, kadhi chawal to juice– the Bhandara offer tasty prasad to everyone. Blaring chants dedicated to Lord Hanuman can be heard in all Hanuman temples. Muslims also in large numbers put up stalls to offer water and food to the devotees in the scorching summer heat of Lucknow. This festival that is unique to Lucknow is the biggest example of secularism and cross-religious beliefs of people of Lucknow.

Overall, there are 4-5 Bada Mangal days within the month of Jyestha. Though you’ll be unable to succeed in bent temples on the primary Tuesday thanks to coronavirus lockdown, you’ll still worship Lord Hanuman from your home.

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