Tulsi Vivah , Navratri and other festivals

Festival - Tulsi Vivah

Some more photos of Tulsi Vivah celebrations decorations rangoli , aarti , cotton garland

Tulasi kota decoration or Tulasi katte decoration for Tulsi marriage festival









Aishwarya rangoli with kaavi border  with battery operated lamps - a blend of old and new traditions



Auspicious rangoli are drawn for the Tulsi plant or maadam in Tamil  and for Tulsi Vivah .  The videos of these rangoli are in my YouTube channel.  The play list of these kolam/ muggulu  designs is at

Tulsi Vivah or Tulsi plant  rangoli 

Some rangoli vidos from my YouTube rangoli Channel - Rangolisansdots


Apart from auspicious rangoli designs for Tulsi Vivah we can actually have a representation of a Tulsi plant or madam usinga 5 by 5 plus  3 by 1 plus 5 by 1  dot grid some free hand patterns for leaves and branches and cotton buds.  The pictures below should be self explanatory.







The Tulsi Vivah ( marriage of Tulsi withVishnu say the puranas) is also celebrated as Uttwandwadasi.  The image of Tulsi Devi is placed on the Tulsi plant.  Since we celebrate a marriage Tulsi is adorned with a mangalsutra.  Garlands made from cotton and flowers like jasmine are used to adorn the plant.  I have added the pink and red roses that bloomed in the rose plants in flower pots I have. Growing your own floral plants, watering them see the buds bloom into flowers, using the flowers for puja gives me a lot of mental satisfaction. However, flowers and rangoli have a lot in common, both are beautiful, colourful and both last for a very short time.


Amla aarti - an aarthi with amla or wild gooseberry is one of the important features of Tulsi Vivah festival.  The number of amla is usually five. Place a cotton wick on each amla  and aarti is performed. 
  These are the couple of roses (pink and red ) that I have used for Tulsi vivah festival.                                              

The pictures above from the Tulsi Vivah performed by me in November 2013.  
Tulasi-vivah.jpgThe photo above is the Tulsi Vivah celebrated at my eldest sister's house.  The face of the Goddess was purchased in Srirangam, near Trichy in Tamil Nadu.  Pooja is performed to the Tulsi plant, with the face of the Goddess placed on it.  Amla (wild gooseberry) twigs are placed near the plant.  Aarthi is performed with pieces of amla fruit. Offerings include laddus made from ground nuts, roasted gram and puffed rice. Please note carefully the decorations made with flowers from her garden and a vastra made from cotton  I think the whole arrangement radiates holiness.  Doesn't it? ( Thank you Akka,  for the  photo.  I have uploaded the photo as per your request.  She is one of the most wonderful persons you can meet.  She has been my friend, philosopher, guide and my mentor. I owe a lot to her.)

One of the most important rangoli that is drawn for the Tulsi plant is the Hridaya Kamalam - a dot rangoli design showing a lotus design as viewed from the top.  I have added  video to my YouTube channel showing this rangoli drawn with two parallel lines to make the lotus design more intricate.  The parallel lines are of different colours.   How ever if you like to see the basic rangoli design go to Hridaya kamalam - a lotus rangoli.                                                              
   Offerings for Tulsi Vivah Puja include ladoos made from peanuts, roasted gram, rava ladoo, moong dhall and puffed rice (nel pori urundai in Tamil ). One of them puffed rice ladoo is shown here.

How to make puffed rice ladoo or nel pori urundai  ?

Clean the puffed rice off any paddy husk that may be present.  For 100g of puffed rice take 25 g of jaggery.  Add the jaggery  to water and heat it and dissolve  to a stage when a drop of the solution  is placed on water it can be easily rolled into a ball.  Add dry ginger powder and cardamom powder to puffed rice. Coconut sliced into small pieces can be added to the jaggery syrup (it is optional). Gently pour the syrup on pufffed rice (nel pori ) mix thoroughly and roll the combination into ladoos.    


Some photos showing the steps involved in preparation of nel pori urundai or aval pori urundai




The photo below, the  Tulsi plant found in many homes in India.
The Tulsi plant is held in  reverence in  many parts of India.   It is a ubiquitous part of Indian culture and hence many Indian  households.I understand  that many studies have been conducted by experts on the medicinal value of the plant. However it is beyond the scope of this blog to discuss it. 

Lamps are lit at the base of the Tulasi maadam or Vrindavan daily in the evening.  In the morning water is offered and puja is performed with haldi and kumkum. On Fridays and other festivals it is decorated with cotton garland and Hridaya Kamalam is drawn . The photos below give an idea.

My kolam videos

Rangoli / kolam for Tulsi Plant 
Navratri decoration ideas

Navratri festival

Navratri is celebrated for nine days after Mahalaya Amavasaya.  How  I celebrate this festival -

The first day after Amavasaya  called Padava arrangement is made for display of dolls called kolu.  The number of steps should be in odd numbers i.e 3,5,7 or 9. For those who are not aware 'kolu' is the arrangement of dolls during the festival of Navaratri that is celebrated for nine days.  The tenth day is celebrated as Vijayadasami (Vijay means victory and dasami means the tenth day - after new moon day in case of Navaratri).   It is thought that Vijayadasami is very auspicious and hence many new ventures particularly education from Aksharabhyas to admission in play schools is done on this day.  The usual practice is to have odd number of steps for kolu starting from 3 to usually 7 or 9.  The area around the kolu is decorated with miniature parks, zoo etc.  It depends upon one's imagination .  It is customary to draw beautiful rangolis for the kolu and  I have drawn some  in Rangolisansdots

Navaratri is a festival celebrated for nine days.  Three days are dedicated to Goddess Durga,  three days for Goddess Lakshmi and the last three days for Goddess Saraswathi.  Our family tradition is preparation of sweets in the morning and sundal in the evening. Each day we prepare a different sundal and  hence nine different types for nine days.  This is the tradition in many South Indian homes.   Sundal is distributed to  neighbours and children who come to have a look  at  the kolu.

Navartri is an important season for celebration particularly in Tamil Nadu.  It is considered one of the most important festivals for women.  Since it is celebrated for nine days talent of women in art, music, decorations, cooking and many other areas are brought out.  There is competition among neighbours for display of kolus.  There is competition for displaying talent in cooking sundal etc.   and for course for drawing rangolis before the kolu.  Obviously, I should confine myself to rangolis in Rangoli-sans-dots.

How to decorate khalasam for Navratri

Limestone mixed in water is applied around the neck of the kalasam.  Then sandal paste, kumkum are applied on the four sides. The kalasam filled with water in which a little kumkum is mixedMango leaves or betel leaves are placed and at the centre any fruit like mosambi, pomegranate. Some families place coconut in the khalasam.   It is not moved for nine days.



kundan-rangoli-design.jpgAmong the decorations that can be done for the kolu, the special variety of rangoli, kundan rangoli is one of them that can be tried.  It is an important type of rangoli craft, I would say.  So, the kundan rangoli design in the image below for Navratri celebrations.  Kundan stones are usually mounted on OHP sheet.  We have make motifs with OHP sheet according to our imagination.  Decorate them with kundan or glass beads and colourful tape or metallic chains to get the required design. Apart from regular and kundan rangoli design, a rangoli on water also called floating rangoli (! ).  It is a design drawn on water. Once such idea is in rangoli with 5 dots . Since it is difficult to draw a rangoli on water add rice flour to it and mix thoroughly.  The transparency of water reduces and the density increases. Now with regular rangoli  it is possible to draw a rangoli on water.     
The kalasam is decorated with flowers and a cotton garland.

Aarti is performed to the kolu every day.  There are many methods of designing aarti plates.

How to light Akhanda deepam during Navratri

Some families have the tradition of lighting Akhanda Deepam or Nanda vilakku as it is called in Tamil during Navratri.  It is lit on the first day of Navratri and should continue to glow for 24 hours every day for nine days.  Pure gingelly oil is used by many.  Some use ghee ( nei deepam ) some use Mahua oil ( illuppai ennai ). The lamp is periodically filled up with oil or ghee so that it continues to glow. The lamp is lit on the first day of Navratri after performing puja with haldi (manjal ) kumkum, flowers, neivedhiyam (fruits) and completing with dhoopam and camphor aarthi with songs or mantras according to our family customs.   The lamp has a single wick. The lamp or deepam is lit with a nei dheepam and not with a match stick.
There is a tradition of lighting a lamp for Navratri kolu on all nine days both in the morning and in the evening.  To ensure that the lamp does not flicker due to the wind or breeze, ready made lamp shades made from clay as the one below are available.  I have painted it with different colours to get the effect shown in the image. This is a simple decoration more intricate designs and patterns are possible.

Of course, Navratri in Tamil Nadu and the different types of sundal, one for each day is also unique to Navratri celebrations (in southern part of India).

Navratri festival with kolu or display of dolls is popular in southern part of India. Dolls of deities, saints, leaders are displayed.  Dolls may also be displayed adopting various themes like a wedding, market and any other theme suitable.   This year I used  an artifical thoranam or toran representing mango leaves made from an OHP sheet and painted so that they resemble mango leaves.  This toran or festoon is fixed to the bottom of the kolu display.  Of course we use a natural thoran made from mango leaves at the entrance of the house.  Actually I make these simple craft or art items when ever I get time, store them and use them on suitable occasions.  Kolu for Navratri is one such occasion. 
This image below is from one of the sections of the kolu showing display of stock of food supplies by a provision merchant.  Though ready made dolls are available, I have tried this.  I used paper cups, cut them to reduce the size, then using a pair of scissors cut the rim of the cups and decorate them as shown and fill them with food items like rice, salt, dhall and spices.

Ananta Vratha festival

Ananta Vrata is celebrated on the fourteenth day before the full moon day in the month of Bhadrapada ( usually falls between 15th of August and 15th of September ).  While Jeevthi Pooja is celebrated by a mother for the welfare of her children, Ananta Vrata is celebrated for the welfare of the couple for fourteen years from the year of the marriage .  

It performed using a khalasa as we do for Varalakshmi Vratham.  A vessel is filled with water and a red cloth tied around it. In some families a snake like shape is made from darba grass and placed inside the vessel.  Two red strings with fourteen knots are placed in pooja.   After the Pooja  the strings are tied to the the right shoulder.  This ananta as it is called is preserved till the Puja for the next year.  This ritual is continued for fourteen years after which it is completed  for that particular couple.  

Kheer made from wheat and dosa without fermentation is offered to Ananta Padmanabha.  My mother prepared what is called guloni a side dish for the dosa. Guloni is made from rice and grated coconut.
Rice is fried in ghee and soaked in water. After half an hour grated coconut is added to this rice. Cardamom. powder is also added.  Grind the mixture in a mixer. Boil on a stove for a few minutes.  Add sugar according to your taste.
Dosa without fermentation is by using the flour immediately after grinding without allowing it to ferment.

 Another important offering is sweet dosa.
Maida and wheat flour are taken in the ratio 1:1. For one measure of  maida or wheat flour add three-fourth measure of jaggery. Jaggery is grated and added to water till it soaks well. Filter it to remove stones if present !.

In this solution add the maida and wheat flour mixture , cardamom powder and stir well.  This wet flour is used to make sweet dosa.


Festival - Mangala Gowri Vratham

It is performed for first five years after marriage.  The idol of Mangala Gowri is handed over to the married lady.  She performs this puja every year after marriage for five years on Sravana Tuesday (Mangala vaar) i.e on all Tuesdays of the month.  This is done for a happy married life.  Betel leaves and nuts ( eight numbers) are offered to Goddess (Gowri or Parvathi) and eaten by the husband and wife.  Offerings include wheat flour modhakam and a kheer with wheat flour ball in milk.  Sixteen wicks are made from cotton, dipped in ghee and aarti is performed with these wicks.

Festival - Savitri Vratha

This festival falls during June (Jyeshta month full moon day).  Legend has it that Savitri after penance could get back the life of her husband on this day.  So this vratha or puja is performed on this day for the welfare of the spouse.  After the puja five married women are invited to the house and offered haldi-kumkum with mangoes. After fasting from morning a feast is arranged in the afternoon with kheer (sweet porridge ). A portrait of Savitri is decorated with turmeric, kumkum, cotton garland (called vastra ) and flowers It is also called Vata Savitri Vratha (probably because Vata refers to fig tree )

1 comment:

  1. Thanks.It is a great honour to me. Rangoli is also very nice.