Varalakshmi Pooja


Preparation of the Pooja Mantap
- We have an old mantap made from rose wood that has been used for Varalakshmi Pooja and Ganesh Chathurthi for many decades in our family.  The mantap is washed so that it becomes clean.  It is then decorated with rangoli borders on all four sides and at the centre we draw an auspicious rangoli - Hridaya Kamalam or Aishwarya Kolam with a kaavi border. To the front columns of the mantap are attached plantain plants and a maavilai thoranam.  If they are not easily available replicas made from brass are used. Varalakshmi Habba coocnut face decoration
The fibres of a coconut which is naturally shaped properly are removed.  Water is mixed to turmeric powder and the paste is applied to the coconut thoroughly.  Then kumkum is applied the coocnut as shown in the image between two eyes of the coconut.


Hase rangoli
This rangoli or kolam is one the most favourite rangoli of our family for drawing in the Puja mantap in which the khalasa is placed.  It is called hase  It is similar to the padi kolam of Tamil Nadu.


   The rangoli called hase  by my  mother is also her most favourite rangoli.  I do not know whether it is related to the original hase rangoli of Karnataka.  The actual hase rangolis are very beautiful and have many designs and borders. This rangoli has been used by my mother for decades. She believes it is one of the most auspicious ones for Fridays and is also Goddess Lakshmi's favourites in addition to Hridaya kamalam . It is similar to the padi kolam of Tamil Nadu.  The central square is drawn with parallel lines and the four sides of the square are decorated .with petal like designs. The rangoli is now decorated on the periphery and finished with a kaavi border.  The other favourite rangoli of Goddess Lakshmi is the Hridaya kalam that is drawn with dots.  
We place a plantain leaf  inside the mantap with  rice on it.  Then we place the khalasam on which the face of Goddess Lakshmi is carved facing east.  We fill it with,(sambha) wheat grains,  silver, gold, dry fruits, picholai and karugamani. The mouth of the khalasam is decorated with maavilai and  thazhampoo alternately.  Then we place a coconut on the top smeared with turmeric powder.  Kumkum is also applied on the coconut. This is then decorated with five types of flowers and gold ornaments
 Yellow thread (or dhaaram ) one for each lady member is placed near the Goddess.
A cotton thread is made yellow by applying turmeric paste.  Nine knots are made on the thread or nombu saradu ( compare with karadaiyan nonbu saradu ) - eight are made on the thread and the ninth knot is made with a flower - tazhampoo is preferred but it may be difficult to tie it




 Pooja to  Lord Ganesh (or Ganapathi ) is done to an image made from turmeric mixed with a little water. Then the main Pooja is conducted according our family customs and traditions.  For those starting anew many books are available.  We  fast from the morning till the pooja is completed.
After completion  the yellow thread is tied to our right hand by another lady member of the family.  Kumkum is applied to the knot and on the forehead.  We have a betel leaf , nut and fruit combination placed on the right palm. . We do not fast at night.  We remove the yellow thread only after Vijayadasami.

varalakshmi-vratham-festival-1.jpgThe yellow petals are of thazampoo ( I understand it is called fragrant screw pine in English, kevada in Hindi, kedage or Tale Hoovu in Kannada).  As the name suggests the fragrance of the flower is divine.  We place five petals of thazampoo and five mango leaves alternately in the khalasam rim as shown in the photo.  The coconut is then placed in these leaves.
We use four types of flowers - marigold (saamandhi poo), jasmine (malli), mullai (also from jasmine family), winter jasmine (jaadhi malli). We use roses and kadhambam (a combination of flowers) for decoration
In the evening, aarthi is performed to Lakshmi , ladies nearby and relatives are invited and thamboolam with coconut is given. A glass of milk is also offered to them.  My mother used to place green colour bangles for all members of the family at the feet of the Goddess (i.e khalasam ) and that were distributed the very next day.  Since we were a big joint family, then, it was really a festive atmosphere.

Varalakshmi Puja images 
Varalakshmi Kalasam decoration ideas / ammavu decoration 
How to prepare kalasam for Varalakshmi Pooja or how to arrange Varalakshmi kalsam - some ideas that are part of our family tradition are shared here.


The khalasam shown above has the face of the Goddess etched on it.  I am told that this is uncommon.Goddess is adorned with gold jewels to show our gratitude for Her blessings.


The images below give some ideas of the things required for performing this Vratham or Puja i.e fruits, flowers, the yellow thread with a thazhampoo petal.
Varalakshmi Puja Neivedyam images


cotton garland an important part of  Varalakshmi Vratham Puja vidhanam

Apart from  stringing flowers and decorating Mahalakshmi, we use simple cotton garlands made from cotton  available in shops that sell pooja items .  It is useful  in places where it is difficult to get strung flowers.  Take a suitable length of cotton and gently pull it and twist.  Repeat the same process a little below  so that we get a small ball.  We make a garland with 25 cotton ball for Varalakshmi Vratham and Navaratri and Tulasi Pooja with kumkum mixed in water as shown in the image. For Ganesh Chathurthi, Naga Chaturthi and Panchami it is with 21 nos with turmeric powder mixed in water instead of kumkum.
Cotton  garland is commonly used in festivals for decorating the deities. This is a simple, hand made craft that can be used for decoration.  Unlike some  artificial garlands that are available the cotton garland is eco-friendly so were many of the traditional methods of decoration that were followed (and that are being followed ) - like the rangoli with rice flour.

Tradition has it that   a garland of 25 cotton spheres for the festivals  Varalakshmi Puja, Navaratri and Tulasi Pooja with kumkum mixed in water . For Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi  Festival, festivals called Naga Chaturthi and Panchami it is with 21 nos with turmeric paste. So the garland used in the first case has alternate cotton ball and a cotton strand red in colour while the latter has cotton strands yellow in colour due to the turmeric paste. ( I write what I follow or practice). Tradition and customs can vary even among families.  
    The three images  give an idea of how this simple cotton garland (panju  malai in Tamil it is also called gejje vastra or vastram ) is made for some festivals listed above.  First the seeds are removed from the cotton purchased from the market.  The cotton is then made into a long (near! ) cylinder in shape . This is held at the top and gently pulled till it nearly comes apart.  Stop at the stage and using the fingers roll the area of reduced diameter gently to get two small spheres of cotton with a thin but strong strand.  When this process is repeated the result is alternate spheres of cotton as shown in the third image.  Kumkum or turmeric powder is applied between the spheres.
Now that the mala or garland is ready, how to we fix it.   The two ends of the garland are stretched so that we get  thin, strong cotton strands at  both ends.  To these affix two pieces of cotton dipped in turmeric powder or kumkum mixed in water.  They become wet and so it is easy to stick the cotton garland on to them as also on the photo or deity.   We can also have two or three such cotton garland intertwined to form a simple yet more beautiful garland.  In case you would like to see how this is made please view the relevant video on my YouTube Channel Rangolisansdots.                             
While rolling the cotton vibuthi or sacred ash is used to make rolling easy.

The two big pieces of cotton dipped in kumkum solution are at the top.  They are used to fix the garland on the picture of khalasam of the deity. The video for this decoration is below the image.  It is  called panju thiri malai in Tamil. If you want to see how it is made please view the video  from my YouTube Channel.  
kolam at entrance for welcoming Godess Lakshmi on Varalakshmi Puja Day

Varalakshmi-vratham-festival-8.jpgA simple rangoli is also drawn at the doorway on the right hand side, a azhakku ( a vessel used to measure rice) is filled with rice and jaggery is placed on the top.  Above this the khalasam is placed. The azhakku is pushed with the khalasm symbolically representing entry of Lakshmi into our house. Aarthi is performed to the Goddess welcoming her into the house. A song on Lakshmi is played in the background and the Puja is performed placing the khalasam in the mantap.
Varamahalakshmi-vratham-festival-10.jpgyamuna-kalasam.jpgThe image on the left gives an idea how Goddess Lakshmi is welcomed into the house. From the entrance to the mantap two small feet are drawn to depict entry of Goddess into our house. (As we draw for Krishna Jayanthi or Janmashtami )
The actual welcome to Godess Lakshmi khalasam with aarti on the left

The images from this year Varalakshmi vratham and pooja done by me, including Yamuna kalasam, aarti, Pooja and neivedhiyam.
Padi kolam for welcoming Goddess Lakshmi inside house


This kolam that may be categorised as a padi kolam because it has a square pattern ( there are no further extensions).  The main features of this kolam is that there are five lines drawn horizontally and vertically instead of the usual four.  Neli or curved lines - single or double are drawn along the perimeter of the square pattern and also inside as shown in the images that take us through the steps.  Finally the kolam is decorated with a kaavi border.

Aarthi plate for Varlakshmi Vratham decoration - a part of Puja vidhanam
A simple puja plate decoration method


This is a home made aarti plate decoration.  Use a clean plate.  Draw the rangoli designs with cotton bud dipped in honey.  Sprinkle rangoli powder on the plate.  Tap it to remove excess powder to get the aarti decoration.  A simple easy yet beautiful way of performing a pooja and aarti.  A simple aarti plate decoration like the one above can also be used for Navaratri or Diwali thali decoration.
Neivedhiyam for this pooja includes, five types of fruits, idli, kozhukattai, amavadai and payasam etc.
Kheer or payasam is also important in celebrating this festival.  The following two items (paruppu urundai morkozhambu and aamaivadai) are also important in the celebration of Varalakshmi Pooja                                  

What to do the next day after Varalakshmi Pooja or How to do Varalakshmi Vratham Punar Puja 
The next day a brief pooja is  performed (called Punar Pooja), the khalasam is moved a little from its original position.  We pray that Goddess should bless us to perform the Pooja every year.  We place the khalasam inside a rice container (any container where we usually store rice).  The coconut is removed the kernel is used to make a sweet - coconut burfi on any other sweet and is distributed to the family along with the dry fruits that we place inside the khalasam.   The jewels that adorn the Goddess are removed and worn by the lady members of the family
Sweet - coconut burfi
The coconut kernel is grated and ground fine in a mixer in a few seconds.  One measure of grated kernel needs one measure of sugar.  Take some water (50ml approx)  in a vanali ( a flat vessel) and add sugar.  Wait till the sugar dissolves and then add the grated coconut.  Keep stirring.  Add two teaspoons ghee and cardamom (elakkai) powder. Cashew nuts are optional.  Almonds have been shown above only for plating.  They are not needed.  Continue stirring upto the stage the burfi does not stick to the vessel.  Medium flame is recommended.  Take a plate and grease it with ghee, pour the semi-solid burfi on the plate and tap gently.  Cut when it is hot to get the rhombus shaped (or any other shape) burfi.

Varamahalakshmi Pooja and Vratham (Varalakshmi nonbu in Tamil) Varamahalakshmi habba is one of the most important festivals celebrated on a Friday of Sravan month. It is considered more auspicious if there is a full moon also on that day.  We have different customs  traditions and dialects in India and so naturally women in various parts of India (  Andhra Pradesh , Tamil Nadu or Karnataka )  may celebrate this festival in different methods or according to their family customs through different languaages ( Tamil , Telugu or Kannada or Hindi ) .  This is also important because this is one of the few festivals where mother-in-law and daughter-in-law perform the pooja together.  How I celebrate this festival, Varamahalakshmi decoration ideas will be covered in this small article.
This post may have answers to - How to perform Varalakshmi Vratham or Puja at home,  to make a cotton garland,   to make an aarti plate decoration,  to draw some rangoli designs,  to perform punar pooja,i,  For the mantras we may refer to any book of our choice.

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