Varalakshmi Vratham recipes and decoration


Varalakshmi Vratham or Varamahalakshmi Pooja will be celebrated on August 12 2016.  This is one of the most important  festivals and requires elaborate preparation and celebrations resulting in  joy and mental satisfaction . This festival  is called Varamahalakshmi Habba in Karnataka.

The information is based on what is followed in  our family for decades.  It can vary across families also.

Varalakshmi Vratham Pooja preparation

The preparation starts the previous day i.e Thursday , when the pooja room is cleaned , all the images of Gods and Goddesses are cleaned and sandalwood, turmeric powder and kumkum are applied on the images.

Varalakshmi Vratham Pooja items requirements - a checklist 

  • Fruits - five types of fruits including apple, guava , grapes , bananas , pomegranate 
  • Flowers - Lotus and talampoo ( fragrant screw pine flower ) and five garlands including jasmine, marigold , roses 
  • Mango leaf thoranam and coconut frond toran
  • Cotton garland or panju thiri  malai , cotton wicks
  • Betelnut leaves , arecanut.
  • plantain leaves for placing the kalasam in the mantap and for lunch 
  • Naivedyam - cooked rice , dhal, poori payasam and dhal poli
  • Dharam or thread for Varalakshmi Nonbu that is tied to the right hand
  • Oil and camphor for Pooja


Varalakshmi Vratham kalasam preparation and decoration

  • In our family we fill the khalasam with samba wheat, some fill with rice , some fill with water and turmeric powder
  • The kalasam is also filled with picholai , karugamani, dry fruits  , badam , kajur , some gold and silver.
  • The kalasam is decorated with different garlands, panju thiri malai and any gold ornaments
  • Two talampoo petals are kept on either side of the kalasam
  • On the top five mango leaves and five talampoo petals  are kept alternately and on the top a coconut smeared with turmeric powder , with kumkum applied between two eyes of the coconut is kept.
  • The mantap in which the kalasam is placed is decorated with Hridaya kamalam kolam, a nuni elai is kept on it , rice is spread on the leaf  and the  khalasam is kept on the top.
  • Lakshmi padam in the form of kolam is drawn from the entrance to the kalasam symbolically representing that Goddess Lakshmi enters  the house.
  • The kalasam is placed on a plank , that is placed  on a simple padi  kolam  .  Aarti is performed to the kalasam, a tall narrow vessel filled with rice with jaggery on the top is kept at the entrance .
  • The kalasam is used to gently tap the rice so that it falls  down ( similar to the tradition in which the daughter in  law taps with her right leg rice and jaggery when she first enters her in-laws  house )

A song welcoming Goddess Lakshmi is sung
a) Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma - in Kannada  or
b) Lakshmi song - in Telugu or 
c)  in Tamil 

The Pooja is performed following our family established procedure or with a CD  that is available in the market.  

Then aarti is performed , fruits and naivedyam are offered.
Again in the evening aarti is performed and thamboolam is offered for five ladies

Punar Pooja is performed the next day.  After some fruits naivedyam , aarti , the kalasam is moved slightly signifying completion of the Pooja. The kalasam is kept in rice facing the east.

The coconut placed in the kalasam is used to make payasam or coconut burfi.

More decoration and recipe ideas for naivedyam are given below


Varalakshmi Vratham recipes ideas for naivedyam

For any festival or function , payasam or kheer is a must .  Varalakshmi Vratham is a special  festival and so a different type of recipe through a payasam is an option.  This is called poori payasam or kheer.  

  • Take chiroti rava , if it is not available  ordinary rava can be ground in a mixer.
  • Add water and cover with a wet cloth for three to four hours .
  • The rava becomes soft and can be kneaded like dough.  Make poori shapes with the dough
  • Using a knife or cutter cut the poori dough horizontally and vertically to get small pieces
  • Fry them in oil and place them in a container or plate  with tissue paper  on  top to drain oil.
  • It is preferable  to use oil  and  ghee  combination for frying. Of course this is based on one's  health concers.
  • Meanwhile boil milk on  the stove , adding sugar and cardamom as required .  Saffron is optional
  • Add the fried poori pieces  and allow the kheer  to boil for five minutes
  • Fry cashew nuts in ghee and add them to the kheer. 
  • Varamahalakshmi Pooja Naivedyam is ready.
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Varalakshmi Puja recipes - Puran Poli 

Varalakshmi vratam recipes / Varalakshmi Pooja prasadam 

The prasadam list usually includes
A kheer or payasam
Puran poli
Fruits at least five types
cooked rice and dhal
Idli ( if the batter is prepared fresh , using old batter is to be avoided )
So considering the importance attached to this festival instead of idli some include rava idli as naivdeyam and prasadam


Naivedyam for Pooja includes Puran Poli in our house.  Puran poli  is prepared for Varalaxmi Vratam and Ugadi among the many festivals we celebrate

It is quite a popular sweet recipe , traditional recipe of Maharashtra.  Like many recipes that "invade" other states in India , this recipe is quite popular in many southern states. Such invasions are always welcome !

It is called Boli in Tamil , obbattu or holige in Kannada , bobbatlu in Telugu.

Another important sweet recipe for Varalakshmi Puja is Puran Poli .  The method of preparation is as follows

  • Take required quantity of maida , add very little ( a pinch ) of salt  and one tea spoon turmeric powder
  • Add water and mix well to get the dough.  
  • Add generous quantity of oil above the dough so that it is immersed in oil and keep it aside for three hours
  • Cook gram dhal in a cooker and mash well , we can also use a mixer to mash thoroughly
  • For one measure of dhal take one measure of jaggery.
  • Heat the jaggery in a vessel by adding little water and stir well till  it melts completely
  • Add nutmeg powder which gives a fine flavour for poli, the other option is cardamom powder
  • Add a little ghee and stir well till the puran solidifies.
  • For coconut poli the procedure is the same - only thing is we have to add coconut instead of gram dhal
  • Allow the puran to cool and meanwhile the dough also is ready
  • Take a small plantain leaf , spread a little oil and place a ball of dough
  • Spread the dough with your fingers , this is the traditional method of making poli
  • Place a ball of puran , fold the dough and close it , removing excess dough if any
  • Again spread the poli with fingers starting from the centre.
  • Heat a tava , place the poli dough on the tava by inverting the leaf and remove the leaf
  • Apply ghee to cook the poli on both sides
  • This is the traditional poli recipe as compared with prepared using a rolling pin.
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Varalakshmi Vratham 2016 - recipes - Easy ambode or aama vadai and mor kulambu

  • Soak gram dhal and red chillies as required in water for one hour .
  • Drain  the water , add salt according to your taste
  • Grind red chillies in a mixer , then add gram dhal and grind
  • The paste should not be fine and it is all right  if the occasional dhal  is  present without grinding
  • Add asafoetida and curry leaves and mix well
  • We can add grated coconut also but it is optional
  • Heat oil in a kadai or vaanali , make flat pieces using the paste and drop in oil
  • Fry them well till they turn golden brown in colour , drain oil and naivedyam is ready.
  • We can use three types of dhal also to make ambode.



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  • Using the same paste , fry bonda like shapes in the  oil
  • Take thick curd without adding  water.
  • Saute mustard, cumin  seeds, asafoetida , curry leaves  , turmeric powder , red chillies
  • Add the bondas to the curd and add the "saute" to the curd and mix well
  • A quick and  easy morkulambu is ready
  • There is a tradition of making  morkulambu for festivals in some families.
  • This easy recipe will  be useful  to them  because already there are lot of items on the menu for festivals.
  • So this morkuzambu can be made easily and in small  quantity as well

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Payasam using coconut kept in khalasam

What to do with the coconut that  is kept in the khalasam ,  Punar Pooja is performed the next day  after completing the Puja and Vrat.  In our family there is  a tradition of using the coconut used for Varalakshmi Pooja to make a sweet it can be a payasam or  coconut burfi;

This is a coconut paysam recipe for Varalakshmi Vratham coconut

  • Take 200 g of raw rice for one whole coconut and soak in water for half an hour
  • Grate the coconut and after half an hour add it to the soaked rice
  • Add cardamom powder and wet grind in a mixer into a fine paste
  • Boil milk and add this paste to milk
  • Add jaggery as required to the payasam

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One of the most common  and beautiful  decorations we can have for Gods and Goddesses is the traditional rose garland that is made with banana stem fibre.  All traditional  Indian garlands have their own  beauty but the rose garland  is quite unique.  The light pink variety called the paneer rose in Tamil Nadu is known for its beauty and fragrance. I invariably use this variety of rose only for Puja and for making garlands.  The local flower vendor from  whom I buy has different types of  roses red, yellow , dark pink  etc. but the insects hover and buzz above the paneer rose only.  

How to make a traditional  Indian flower garland 

Many of us would have observed and noticed flower garlands being made at the entrance of our local temples.  I would like to share the method of making this beautiful floral decoration idea for Varamahalakshmi Pooja .  This garland we can use for decorating the Puja mantap or as a decoration for the Varalakshmi kalasam decorations.

The method is as follows

  • Buy a large quantity of roses depending upon the length of garland  required
  • I have shared only the basics of the method and so the garland is relatively short
  • Take two or three thick  banana stem fibres ( called naaru in Tamil ).  They serve as the support for the garland
  • Take a thin fibre and tie a knot at the top as shown.
  • Place one rose on the thick fibres and hold the flower by taking the thin fibre around the stalk
  • Turn the thick fibre combination by ninety degrees  and  place the next rose and take the fibre around the rose
  • Again turn the thick fibres by 90 degrees and place the third rose.  Similarly turn the fibres again and place the fourth rose
  • After placing the four roses one layer of the garland is formed
  • Continue this to get more layers.  The more the layers  , more the length of the garland
  • After completing all layers required using the thin fibre tie a knot on the thick fibers at the bottom.  This will hold the roses together.
  • We can add sampangi or samandhi ( marigold ) in between  to beautify the garland further
  • Form two such portions and tie them together at the bottom to get the garland
  • We can add a flower decoration at the bottom of the garland also
  • This is the procedure for rose garland making. 
  •  Similarly we can make garlands with, sampangi , marigold , chrysanthemum or other flowers.
  • Where banana stem fibre is not available we can make the garland with artificial wool three or four strands

Rose garland making images - DIY for Varalakshmi Pooja alankaram


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Making such traditional garlands is an important part of hobbies and  crafts done in our country for quite a long time.


Kolam plays an important part in the celebration of Varamahalakshmi Puja .  It is Rangolisansdots and hence flagship theme is rangoli or  kolam .  Of course occasionally I digress from the main  theme  to share some home made  recipes and naivedyam for festivals and some  traditional crafts of India  like  the rose garland above.  

Some images of Varalakshmi Vratham 2016 decoration and preparation


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kolam designs for Varalakshmi Vratham Pooja


The dot pattern used is 5, 4, 3 idukku pulli.  Form the pattern at the centre and outside using the dots.
The other pictures should make the steps self explanatory,I hope.


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The next kolam ( or muggu ) is a basic padi kolam.  I am of the opinion that traditional padi  kolam should start with a square base.  I use four or five lines for a padi kolam or any lines kolam.  There  is a school of thought which feels  that padi kolam should be with 2, 4,6  lines  only ( i.e the number of lines  should be even). This was a point of discussion on my YouTube channel with some subscribers through the comment form .  While  I use 4 or 5 lines my elder sister is very particular that five lines  are used for  padi kolam.   In  fact she called me  from  Nagpur over telephone and discussed my video on my YouTube channel and asked why I was using 4 lines when  our family tradition is using 5 lines.   Though there  are no hard and fast rules in the number  of lines in a traditional padi kolam ,we may have 4 or 5 , the second option is two lines only. Any other number is usually not used.   Traditional  lines kolam may differ from traditional padi kolam in that they need  not start with a square base and so  also the number of lines. 

So far as the kolam designs for Varlakshmi Pooja are concerned  , one more padi  kolam .  The images should be self explanatory I hope.


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