Rice maavilakku | thambittu | simple Balaji aarti song

    
     Maavilakku is a beautiful tradition followed in many parts of India.  It is offered for Lord Venkateswara ,  Goddess Amman .  There may be different methods of preparing and offering maavilakku ( we call it thambit or thambittu ), as usual I share the method I follow.


  • Take raw rice in a bowl and mix water, soak for 30 to 45 minutes
  • clean , drain the water
  • Spread the rice on a clean dry cloth and allow it to dry in shade
  • We need not dry it too much , some moisture is to retained
  • Dry grind in a mixer into a fine powder.
  • Sieve the rice flour well to get a finer powder or flour
  • For one measure of rice flour add around three fourths measures of jaggery and mix thoroughly
  • Since jaggery is some what deliquescent ( ability to give out water ) it mixes well with rice flour
  • Add a little cardamom powder and ghee also.
  • Some add grated coconut also.
  • A little milk  around one tea spoon can be added to help mixing and binding of the ingredients
  • Finally we get a semisolid shaped thambittu or maavu 
  • Make two big spheres using the maavu and place them on the aarti plate
  • Make two hollows at the centre of the vilakku and place cotton wicks ( phool vati )
  • Add ghee to both wicks so that they get soaked thoroughly
  • Apply tiny kumkum tilak on four sides of the diyas. A little will do because this is offered as prasadam after the aarti ( Take care to remove the kumkum applied portion while offering aarti
  • Light the diyas or vilakku and offer aarti to Lord Venkateswara
  • There is a tradition of offering thambittu aarti or arisi maavilakku aarti during Naga Chaturthi also.
  • The aarti used for Jeevthi Puja that is performed for the welfare of children is made from pooran and hence called pooran aarti.  I have shared information on this also below.


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Akki thambittu / rice maavilakku recipe preparation images

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Simple and easy aarti for Lord Balaji

Jaya Jaya aarti Venkataramana
Venkatramana Sankata harana
Sankata harana Seetha Rama
Seetha Rama Radhe Shayama

Jaya Jaya aarti !


While this aarti can be offered on Wednesday and Saturday , it is very special during Purattasi month Saturday ( Purattasi Sanikizhamai ) and also for Naga Chaturthi and Panchami

Puran aarti for Sravan Sukravar or Friday Jeevthi Pooja

Another type of aarti is prepared with puran or pooran particularly during the month of Sravan
Aarthi is performed with pooran filled with ghee.  Pooran is made with gram dhal, jaggery in the ratio 3:1 (approximately, according to one's taste), Gram dhal is cooked and ground in a mixer . The excess water is drained.. Heat a kadai (a flat vessel ), one teaspoon ghee is added , and then the mashed gram dhal and powdered jaggery are added and cooked on a low flame and stirred till it reaches a stage that it does not stick to the vessel. The pooran is then in the shapes of lamps ( five nos) filled with ghee, wicks are placed in the lamps.

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Lakshmi Aarti song in Telugu Navratri Varalakshmi


Aarti songs are important in the celebration of festivals and on Fridays.  After completion of Puja we offer Aarti to God or Goddess and it is customary to sing a song in praise of the God or Goddess for who we are performing the Puja.

The aarti (aarthi ) song in Telugu, a small and simple song has been sung in our family for decades, I understand that my mother-in-law learnt it from her elder relatives when she lived in a place called Ontimitta near Cudappah. My mother used to sing a different aarti in Telugu ( she lived in Vizianagaram near Vishakappattinam  ) varavakode thaye - translates into mother please grant me a boon.

The song is sung on Fridays, daily during Navratri and for Varalakshmi Puja.  

How to prepare aarti

Take a clean and small plate, add some kumkum and water and shake the plate slightly so that  the kumkum mixes with water.  Then take a twin lamp for aarti and apply sandalwood paste , turmeric powder and kumkum on four sides.  Plate cotton wicks and add ghee as shown in the third image.   Ghee is preferable , or if it is not available oil. Light the lamps,  sing the aarti song and perform aarti. After performing aarti,  I do not keep the plate on the floor because as per our tradition we keep it on a stand. 
This aarti song is a sort of family song in our mother-in-law's maternal side. I have seen all ladies singing together after Varamahalakshmi Vratha festival. This reminds me of poet Bharatiyar's song in which he said , there are many beautiful traditions and customs take the best among them and follow them .

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Varalakshmi Pooja songs in Telugu - aarti

Mangala aarti song | Telugu Harathi song


Jayamangala Nithya Subhamangala         ( Jaya is victory, mangala is auspicious, nithya is always )

Muthyala Aarti Pagadala Aarti                  ( We perform aarti with pearls, corals )

Manika Aarti                                             ( We perform aarti with rubies )

Mikutambuga meeku                                 ( You are very fond of these aarti )

Ananda kalamalu arisalu palalu                  ( On this joyous occasion we offer sweets )

Deepalu dhoopalu Nivendhichiri                ( Lamps, dhoop are offered )

Deepalu dhoopalu Nivendhikoni                 ( You take all these offferings )

Vishrantha mayane Lakshmi Devi               ( and you relax or take rest Lakshmi )

Since aarti is performed to complete the Puja the words you relax or take rest are used after the description on aarti and offerings.

The video shows how the song is sung .  ( Please note that I am not a qualifed  singer , we learn from our elders / mother .  so it is a humble attempt to popularise this aarti song.   )

            
                         
The order I follow is 
After dhoop aarti,  then offerings or neivedyam is done , then aarti is offered with this song and  puja is completed by offering camphor 

If neivdyam offered is a fruit , usually it is kept on betel leaves and areca nuts.    Please note different families follow different customs and traditions for performing Puja and celebrating festivals.  I have given a brief outline of the Puja procedure done in our family.  Actually there is a  difference in some procedures followed in my mother's house and my mother-in-law's house. 

Jayamangala nithya subhamangala ! ( Victory , fortune , always good fortune )

We can further continue this song with the following lyrics

Mangalam mangalam Madurai Meenakshiki
Kanchi Kamakshi, Vishalakshiki
Mookamba Gnanamba Akilamba Durgamba
Bramarambha maa thalli Jagadambakku ( My mother of the Universe )

This can be roughly translated into, 

Singing the names of all Goddesses of the temples in Madurai, Kancheepuram, Kashi and then referring to the Goddess as the Mother of the World or Universe.

Same aarti is performed for Goddess Jeevthi Puja and then performed to the children of the house , adding their names in the aarti praying that they get the best of everything in life.  It is an excellent tradition performed during Sravan Fridays for the welfare of the children.   

Bhagyadha Lakshmi Baramma in Kannada

Mahakavi Bharathiar once said " go to all eight directions and bring the best from there to our land "

There are beautiful traditions , songs followed in various places in India.  The Telugu aarthi above, my mother-in-law learnt when she lived as a young girl in Ontimitta near Cudappah and I learnt from her .  Sage Purandaradasa's song on Lakshmi Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma is another beautiful song  that we sing during Navratri and Varlakshmi Vratham or Habba .  Of course there are lots of Tamil songs also in our Puja celebrations since we were born and brought up in Tamil Nadu.

The rough translation of the lyrics based on my understanding of Kannada and English |
May not be perfect 

Your anklets make jingling sound
Taking one step at a time ( Lakshmi )
During the puja performed by the pious and saintly
Like butter from butter milk
Come, Giver of happiness , Lakshmi please come
Our Mother , Giver of Supreme Happiness , please come 

Bring rains of gold 
Fulfill the desires in all homes
You are as bright as ten million suns
Daughter of King Janaka , quickly
Come Goddess Lakshmi, Giver of happiness

Give us infinite blessings 
With bangles rolling on Your Hand
You wear kumkum ( on the Forehead )
You are Lotus eyed
Queen of Lord Venkateswara  ( some say Proud Queen of Lord Venkataramana )

Stay permanently in Your devotees homes
Always giving auspicious occasions , fortune
Saints and pious who show the Truth
You reside in their thoughts, Golden Doll

Let sugar and ghee flow ( in our homes )
When Friday Puja is performed
He lives on the other side, Lord Ranganatha
Pure Purandara Vittal You are His Queen

This song ,  I have included in the video below , along with a traditional padi kolam we draw in our family for festivals and Fridays in the Puja room


            





Pooja mandapam decoration Puja mandap


Whether it is Gokulashtami , Vinayaka Chaturthi or Varalakshmi Nombu ( Vratha ) there is a tradition of placing the idols in a mandap and decorating the mandapam ( as we say in Tamil ) .  We can have a blend of traditional and new and unique ideas too for decorating the mantap.  

First the modern methods of decoration.  I have made a Hridaya kamalam or Lakshmi Hrudaya rangoli and a rangoli border using OHP sheet , glass colours, 3D glitter and decorative trinkets.  These two can be placed before the mantap for decoration.

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A close of the Pooja in progress


We can use OHP to decorate the top of the mandapam also.  I have an old mandapam made from rose that is being used in our family for various festivals.  Old is gold , as they say , so we are using this mantap for Krishna Jayanthi, Pillaiyar Chaturthi and Varalakshmi Nombu.

I use a combination of kaavi or geru and lime stone giving alternate white and kaavi colours to the mantap , this probably because of the influence of Tamil Nadu culture where we have temple walls decorated with white and geru colours.

On both sides we have vazhai kannu and mango leaves and the traditional thoranam  made from coconut fronds.

After all the natural decoration we can have some serial lights made from LEDs for some artificial decoration too.

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On the base of the mantap , we draw the Hridaya kamalam or Aishwarya kolam  and then place a nuni ilai ( banana leaf ) and have rice on it.  On this is seated the idol or kalash depending upon the festival.

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We can have some simple kolam also for the manai or for the base of the mantap as shown in the picture below.  However kaavi is a must and is included in all festival decoration

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The video shows the three most common kolam for Puja room and Puja mandap for auspicious festivals.

      
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Kaavi powder is available in many shops .  We take some in a spoon and mix a little water.  Few decades back we used the coconut fibres to draw the kaavi and it was art to get thin lines with coconut fibres and that also needed some practice.  Nowadays we use cotton buds to draw lines of kaavi.
The image below shows Aishwarya kolam being drawn on the mantap base before placing the leaf.


If we live in countries where we do not get mango leaves and banana plant we can have replicas instead.  I have shown very old ones made from brass .

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The same decoration idea can be used for Gowri Puja or Gowri Ganesh festival also.  Some call it Swarna Gowri Vratha or Gowri Theej.  My mother-in-law used called Hartalika Puja
If we

Kuthuvilakku decoration images Navratri Friday Pooja

For Navaratri and Friday Pooja more emphasis is given to kuthu vilakku .  The decoration of the vilakku varies from family to family.  I share how it is being done in our family for the past many decades.

On Thursday, the kuthu vilakku is cleaned and washed thoroughly ( along with other lamps ).
It is tradition to place the kuthu vilakku on a plate so that excess oil if any is collected in it and the Pooja mandapam is not affected by oil.

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Sandal wood paste is mixed with rose water and applied on the five faces of the kuthu vilakku and also on the top.    Then turmeric powder and kumkum are applied over the sandal wood paste.

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Five wicks are placed on the five faces and then oil is filled.  Some have the tradition of filling oil and then placing the wicks.  What I follow is better because oil may stick to our fingers when we place the wicks after filling the oil.  The wicks are then dipped in the oil so that it easier for the oil to rise through the wick to the tip.

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Tie a small flower garland to the kuthuvilakku as shown in the picture.
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The kuthu vilakku is placed in the Pooja room or mandapam so that the top where kumkum is applied as shown in the photo below  faces east or west and there are two faces on its either side.

While on Fridays and for festivals like Navartri and Varalakshmi Vratham it is practice to light all  the five faces on other days we can light all the five sides or we should light minimum of two wicks that face east .  This is the tradition I follow
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When I light the lamps,  I recite the sloka 

Subham karothi kalyanam 
Aragoyam Dhana Sampadham
Shatru Buddhi Vinayasaya
Deepa Jyothir Namosthuthe

This roughly translates into I bow to the light from the lamp which gives all blessings, health, wealth, which destroys negative thoughts.

Karthigai Deepam rangoli kolam recipes

Deepam kolam with dots for Karthigai Deepam festival kolam 

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First things first .  Deepam kolam or diya rangoli designs are very popular during Karthigai Deepam which is also the festival of lights, one more Diwali for Tamil Nadu. 

The kolam is 11 to 1 ner pulli kolam .  The images should clearly explain the steps needed to draw this kolam for the festival ,  I think so.




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Simple deepam kolam | 7 dots kolam with deepam designs


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Karthigai Deepam kolam videos from my YouTube Channel


         


Karthigai Deepam kolam | Karthigai Deepam Puja procedure | naivedyam

In the morning , we should prepare festival related recipes or kalyana samayal.  The previous day we can clean the puja room ,  draw an ezhai kolam with kaavi border .  

In the evening prepare puffed rice ball ( nel pori and aval pori urundai ) any sweet ( kesari or payasam ) with appam .  We can also offer coconut , fruits , betel nut and betel leaves.  

All the lamps that we use regularly for Puja particularly kutthu vilakku is to be cleaned , apply sandal paste , haldi and kumkum , offer flowers and light after placing five cotton wicks and filling the lamp with oil.

Perform Puja to the kuthu vilakku and to the deities also and offer naivedyam.  Pray in the direction of Thiruannamalai Deepam and light the agal vilakku or earthen lamps .  It is in our tradition to buy a few new agal vilakku every year.    All the agal vilakku are filled with oil , cotton wicks are placed and apply kumkum on all four sides.  Place the lamps in the Puja room , around the kolam at the entrance and in other places inside the house that we wish to decorate.

It is our tradition to draw a beautiful padi kolam or any other kolam at the entrance.  We can fill with colours as we do for some festivals like Pongal.

Wheat appam or godhumai appam for Karthigai Deepam naivedyam

Dissolve one part jaggery in water.  To this add one part wheat flour and 1/4 part rice flour.  Add cardamom powder and chopped coconut.  Fry in oil.  Wheat appam is ready for festival recipe.

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Let me show Karthigai Deepam new kolam ideas
   
A different and unique rangoli for Karthigai Deepam which is similar to Diwali festival , the theme being diyas or deepam .  This rangoli drawn by placing 4 CDs so that they touch each other.
Then following the steps given in the images , the upper deepam patterns and the lower semi circular patterns are formed.  A dot with white rangoli powder is placed in each of the holes at the centre of the CDs around which we place orange dots to get the floral design at the centre.  For additional decoration a floral design is formed between the second and third patterns using the cotton bud rangoli making technique.      

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Karthigai Deepam kolangal | padi kolam 

A traditional line rangoli design for Karthigai Deepam festival . We usually use 2,4 or 5 lines in padi kolam designs ( There is a school of thought that feels that the number of line should be even , however in our family we use 4 or 5 lines and rarely 2 lines ).  So using 4 lines form the basic square pattern that is invariably found in padi kolam designs .  Next draw four sets of lines inclined as shown in the second image and touching the edges of the square.

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Next draw 4 lines on either side so that small squares are formed as shown in the image below
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Now connect the adjacent lines with curved lines at the top and bottom.  We can touch the square with these curved lines , we can intersect or we can draw such that the outermost line is outside the square.  What ever we do we have to maintain uniformity on all four sides.
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The process explained above is continued on all four sides
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Now complete the kolam with four near elliptical lines as shown in the next image.
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We should decorate the central space with decorations.  Usually I draw two diagonals and place dots inside.
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Further decorations are according to our imagination.  Draw a kaavi border or fill with some colourful lines here and there to complete the padi kolam for Karthigai Deepam festival.

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The next kolam after a different rangoli and padi kolam is a kolam with 9 by 5 dots pattern.  Instead of the usual deepam theme , I have tried a simple kolam that can be drawn for this festival.  The images should help.


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One more lines kolam for the festival of lights of Tamil Nadu 
This is slightly different from the classical and traditional padi kolam .  I have given lot of images for this kolam so that it will be easy to learn.  The idea is we should practice to get lines as thin as possible , the thinner the lines the more beautiful the kolam will look.  Instead of starting with square base as we do for most padi kolam , this kolam has two sets of four lines on four sides. Then they are connected.  This leaves the gaps at the centre and between the arms.  The centre is decorated with a small square and that is connected to arms.  The gaps can be filled with patterns of our choice.


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Karthigai Deepam decoration with kolam and deepam 

The video below shows the decoration at the entrance of my home for Karthigai Deepam 2015 with colourful  double line kolam with deepam placed on the kolam for making it more beautiful.  Karthigai Deepam is for Tamil Nadu what Diwali is for some parts of India and that includes crackers too

Karthigai Deepam kolam designs with dots | rangoli kolangal

This is a simple kolam with 9 to 5 dot pattern.  We get deepam or lamp patterns in the periphery with the jyothi pointing tangentially , the dots at the centre are used to connect all the lamps so we get a circular deepam design that resembles the wheel of bicycle !

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