Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Varalakshmi vratham - 20th August 2010

Few days ago, I had a mail through the comment thread for my Varalakshmi Vratham post of last year. The reader had wanted to know details about the arrangements for performing this vratham. I wanted to mail her, but I did not find her e-mail address there. Then it crossed my mind to make a post on the procedure which might be useful for me as well.

I kept putting this post off for long now and am sorry N, that I am giving details when the pandigai is almost upon you. However, I am sure you have read many other web pages that show up as you search and might be having a clue on 'How to proceed'. Nevertheless, one addition to that will not make a significant difference. My sincere hope is that my post does not confuse you.

The vratham is believed to have been advised by Lord Parameshwara Himself to His consort Parvathi Devi. Also that a very pious and devoted lady, Charumathi was instructed through a dream by Mahalakshmi Herself to perform this pooja. It is said that Charumathi performed the pooja and also spread the practice of the vratham to many more who have all benefited abundantly.

Usually, it is a pooja initiated to a newly wedded bride during the first year of her marriage, by her mother-in-law to carry forth the custom in the family. However, there have been women who have willingly taken up this, even if it were not customary in the family and have done that for years.

For the girls being initiated to this custom, the parents gift the important accessories such as the Kalasa Sombu ( a pot -like utensil, usually made of silver or brass/ copper which are considered best for ritualistic ceremonies) and the 'Amman mukham', again a small sculptured face of Varamahalakshmi. Otherwise they observe along with the elders.

I follow the procedure given in the Vratha pooja vidhanam book issued by Lifco book publishers. The materials that are used may vary from what I use as per tradition in a particular household.

This can be taken as a general guideline though.
The pooja is performed on the Friday prior to the fullmoon day of the Hindu calender month of Shravana, which might shift very slightly to fall in one of the two Tamil months of Aadi or Aavani.

On the Thursday, the day before the pooja, the house is cleaned and preparations are on the onset. Maakolams (or izhaikolams) with finely ground rice paste are drawn at the threshold, a convenient and auspicious corner near the entrance of the house and in the location where you
would be performing the actual pooja.
Find a few mango leaves to decorate the threshold and reserve some to decorate the kalasam.
You will need a slightly large plate to place the kalasam and a manaipalagai (a wooden plank fitted with small legs) to place the above on. The kolam has to be drawn on this plank also.

What goes into the kalasam:
One heaped cup and a quarter more of raw rice.
About a tablespoon of thuvar dhal.
Packets of turmeric and kumkum or two whole turmeric pieces and kumkum in two tiny packets.
A coin of Re.1 ( any coin)
Few raisins, dry dates, one lime fruit and betel leaves and arecanuts (these are not a must)
What goes in the large plate placed underneath the kalasam:
Same quantity of rice, dhal betel leaves, arecanuts, a tiny mirror, a comb and sets of bangles and palm leaf tied together known as picholai karivalai ( or kaadholai karugumani) available in shops selling materials for such poojas.

How to decorate the kalasam and invoke the diety:
Having taken the above mentioned stuff in the kalasam, place some sandal paste and kumkum on the body of the utensil.
Place about 5 to 7 mango leaves into the utensil. Coat a whole coconut yellow with turmeric paste.
Fit the coconut upon the mouth of the utensil between the mango leaves. Ideally place it in such a way that the mango leaves are on the hind side of the utensil.
The figurine of the 'amman mukham' is usually made in such a way to fit it over the coconut, either like a hairpin or with a ring-like hinge.
Place the mukham over the cococnut and fit it to sit over the neck part of the utensil or the coconut.
Use your resources and imagination to deck your idol with jewellery and flowers.
Place the plate on the plank.
Thus done place this whole arranged unit at the point where you have drawn the maakkolam near the entrance. Soon after setting this up, light a lamp next to the idol and offer something as neivedhyam. Some procedures suggest ven pongal, though it is flexile depending on individual liking and ability.
Take care that the kalasam sits well on the plate as you will be required to be lifting the whole with the manai and walking a small distance from near the entrance to the appointed spot.
On Friday, the Vianyaka pooja is performed requesting Him to take care of any hurdles that may come by. Then the amman is carried into the house singing hymns welcoming Her. The entire unit is then placed in the spot where the pooja has to be performed. There are specific mantras to be chanted and a procedure to be followed during the pooja. You may find them in books and cassettes available explaining them.
The neivedhyams related to this festival have been discussed in my last year's post.

I have shown my suggestions in the pictures taken over the past few years.
There have been circumstances that I have not been able to procure one or few of the essential materials, living in countries where they are unheard of. I have managed just about contiuing the procedure to the best of my ability. So, please do not be upset if you are not able to stick to the guidelines, count the blessings and conduct the pooja.
Perform the pooja with reverence and devotion. That pleases the Gods most.


  1. Absolutely Lataji!!! Its the Bhakthi that is counted!!!! Happy Varalakshmi Vratham!!!! Enjoy the Goddess as well as the Kozhukatai's!!!!

  2. Thank you for the information madam...last year i did this for the first year planning to make it bigger and grand this year....nice post

  3. Nice post Lataji. Luv the decoration.

  4. Beautiful beautiful... everything looks gorgeous and wonderful.

  5. Thank you Girls!
    Priya, I think living outside India, we have come to realise that:) Sometimes we cannot even perform any worship openly!
    Shama, all the very best:)
    Priti, thanks again
    Pavithra, I know you do it very beautifully too.

  6. Lataji,

    Nice post, I haven't done any varalakshmivratham. Thanks for info.

  7. I am feeling very nostalgic after i read this post. I wish I was home during this festival. You have explained each and every thing in detail. Thank you so much for putting them together and sharing it with us.

  8. Nice decoration......... Nice post for readers like me who has no knowledge of this pooja.

  9. Such a lovely post. I am a newlywed and this Friday, will do the Varalakshmi Vratham for the first time. :D


  10. Very nice decoration...loved your celebration as much as you did..

  11. Wow Lataji, that is such a wonderful explanation. My mom does it every year and I remember seeing her decorate the coconut like mahalakshmi. And hmmm...hmmm... hmmm... on all the neivedyams :)

  12. Excellent decorations. Happy Festival.

  13. Very informative for beginners and lovely post.

  14. Pictures look divine... Beautifully written post. True, its the devotion that counts and the efforts to do the pooja has to be appreciated. Happy Varalakshmi vratham to you akka.

    Could spot Anna in the first pic. He seems to be busy clicking.

  15. Happy varalakshmi vratham, though we dont have this function, i have always enjoyed the smae in all my friend's houses. Missing this typical one in hyd and ur photographs bring me back my school day memories

  16. hi
    the first photograph is very divine...
    looking forward for tomorrows pictures..
    i just thought that i shall give the mahalakshmi ashtakam with meanings...

    Lyrics with Meanings :

    Namosthesthu Maha Maye,Sree peede, sura poojithe!!
    Sanka, chakra, Gadha hasthe,Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe. 1

    ( Salutations and salutations to Goddess Mahalakshmi*,Who is the great enchantress,Who lives in riches,Who is worshipped by Gods,And who has conch, wheel and mace in her hands.)

    Namasthe garudarude,Kolasura bhayam kari,
    Sarva papa hare, devi,Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe. 2

    Salutations and salutations to Goddess Mahalakshmi.Who rides on an eagle,Who created fear to Kolasura,And is the goddess who can destroy all sins.)

    Sarvagne Sarva varadhe,Sarva dushta Bhayam karee!!
    Sarva dukha hare, devi,Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe. 3

    (Salutations and salutations to Goddess Mahalakshmi.Who knows everything,Who can grant any thing,Who appears fearsome to bad people,And is the goddess who can destroy all sorrows.)

    Sidhi budhi pradhe devi,Bhukthi mukthi pradayinee!!
    Manthra moorthe, sada devi,Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe. 4

    (Salutations and salutations to Goddess Mahalakshmi,Who grants intelligence and occult powers,Who grants devotion to God and salvation,Who can be personified by holy chants,And who is Goddess for ever.)

    Adhyantha rahithe, devi,Adhi Shakthi maheswari!!
    Yogaje yoga sambhoothe,Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe. 5

    (Salutations and salutations to Goddess Mahalakshmi.Who neither has an end nor beginning,Who is the primeval power,Who is the greates Goddess,Who is born out of hard penance,And who can be personified by meditation.)

    Sthoola Sukshma maha roudhre,Maha Shakthi Maho dhare!!
    Maha papa hare devi,Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe. 6

    (Salutations and salutations to Goddess Mahalakshmi,Who is micro and also gross,Who is most fearsome,Who is the greatest strength,Who within her holds the worlds,And is the Goddess who can destroy sins.)

    Padmasana sthithe, devi,Para brahma swaroopini!!
    Para mesi, jagan matha,Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe. 7

    (Salutations and salutations to Goddess Mahalakshmi,Who is the goddess who has the seat of Lotus,Who is the personification of the ultimate truth,Who is Goddess of all,And who is the mother of all the worlds.)

    Swethambara dhare, devi,Nanalankara bhooshithe!!
    Jagat sthithe, jagan matha,Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe. 8

    Salutations and salutations to Goddess Mahalakshmi,Who wears white cloth,Who wears variety of ornaments,Who is everywhere in the world,And who is the mother of all the worlds.)

    Phala SruthiMaha lakmyashtakam stotram,
    Ya padeth Bhakthiman nara,
    Sarva sidhi mavapnothi,
    Rajyam prapnothi sarvadha.

    (Those men who read this octet praising Mahalakshmi,With devotion and discipline,Would make all powers as his own,And also would attain the kingdom for ever.)

    Yeka kale paden nithyam, maha papa vinasanam,
    Dwi kale paden nithyam Dana dhanya samanvitha,
    Tri kalam paden nithyam Maha shathru vinasanam,
    Maha Lakshmir Bhaven nithyam Prasanna, varada Shubha.

    (If this is read daily once, great sins committed would be destroyed,If this is read twice daily, you would be blessed with wealth and grains,If this is read thrice daily, your great enemies would be destroyed,And the goddess Maha Lakshmi would be with you,With happiness, with blessings and with good tidings.

    Whoever with devotion recite this hymn to SriMahaa Laxmi, composed in eight stanzas, attains all success through the Grace of Mahaa Laxmi Devi.

    Alamelumangapuram anjaneyar kovil Kumbhabhishekam is on the fifth of september....

  17. Lovely decoration of Maa Varalakshmi,accompanied with a informative post, for beginners..

  18. There is a lot of sanctity while seeing the puja pictures.The way u have explained in detail about the varalakshmi vradam is really useful to all the beginners.Its a really divine and beautiful post.

  19. Hello Ms Lata, like ur post, especially the fotographs.please do visit my blog when time permits, wud b nice to hear from u :)

  20. Lovely and informative post! Loved the pictures too.

  21. Wonderful post !! Awesome pictures and a great guide for the new generation :-)

  22. divine Post. Nice decorations, nice explanations.

  23. Such a divine post Lata and you have given details. The photos are stunning and I am happy that I didn't miss this post. Thanks for your wishes. Viji

  24. Wonderful Wonderful pics...Varalakshmi Amman is looking absolutely excellent. Amazing work of decorating Lata mam..Beautiful diyas all side casting a golden reflection of the amman..I truly felt like seeing them again and again..

  25. hii lata garu,,,, thanks for the nice divine snap,,,,,can u let me know wer we find those face of devi on cocnut in benguluru,,,as am new to this place i hav idea abt this,,,,luking frwd fr ur reply

  26. Hello Tripura, I am not from Bengaluru either. However any silver jeweller will be selling these, I guess. At least that is the case in Tamilnadu.

  27. This pooja canbe performed on first friday in the sravanamaasam.....

  28. Varalakshmi pooja can be performed onfirst friday? Because I
    Know that second friday is not possible.....or its compulsory that must be done
    Second friday? please reply immediately....

  29. Decorations is lovely!!!.I am doing the pooja for the first time and your blog gives me an idea for decorations. Could you please tell me where did you buy the "small amman face which you kept on top of the diya".And I am also curious in knowing about the customs behind "placing the amman face in diya".


    1. You can buy those small Amman face in most silver shops in Chennai. I have had them for many years and I remember having received as a gift from someone.
      There is no tradition that I know of in placing these in the diyas. It is just that they add to the decor.


Welcome and thank you for taking time to drop by.
I appreciate your valuable comments and tips.
I sincerely hope to improve with them.
Hope we shall interact often.
Thanks once again,
Lata Raja.