Varalakshmi Puja (Vratham)

Varalakshmi Puja, or Varamahalaskhmi Pooja, is observed by women in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and by some communities in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh   for the prosperity and welfare of their families. . The observance is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi and falls on the Friday before Shravan Poornima.  Here is a list of essential items that are required for the puja. Once you start this pooja it is better to continue every year without failure

List for  Pooja / Pooja Items:
1. Face of goddess lakshmi
2. Garland (in odd numbers)
4. Turmeric
5. Sandal powder
6. Vibudhi
7. Mirror
8. Comb
9. Mango Leaves
10. Loose flowers
11.  betel leaves, arecanuts (Pakku)
12. Panjamirtham
13. Curd
14. Banana
15. Milk
16. Water with spoon
17. Agarbati
18. 9 yellow thread
19  Sambrani
20. Camphor (Soodam)
21. Small pooja Bell
22. Prasatham (in Odd Numbers)
23. Small oil lamp.
24. Raw rice
25. 1/2 cup Raw rice mixed with turmeric (adchathai)

For making ‘Prasad’ or offering - Usually sweets this depends on the person’s ability. There are a lot of varieties of sweets that are made. The preparation begins on Thursday.
Always remember rituals should not be a trap. It should only be a helping step in realizing the ultimate truth. A simple flower offered with devotion is far better than elaborate showy rituals.

Great-Secret-Of-Life: Nutella vermicelli Kheer (Payasam)
Great-Secret-Of-Life: Oats Ball Sundal
Great-Secret-Of-Life: Soya Bean Sundal
Great-Secret-Of-Life: Channa Salad (Sundal)
Great-Secret-Of-Life: Wild Rice Salad
Great-Secret-Of-Life: Sweet (Sakkarai) Pongal
Great-Secret-Of-Life: Sweet Rice Roti (Sugarcane rice roti)
Great-Secret-Of-Life: Badam (Almond) Halwa
Great-Secret-Of-Life: Kesari
Great-Secret-Of-Life: Papaya Kesari
Great-Secret-Of-Life: Urad Dhal Vada (Medhu Vadai)
Great-Secret-Of-Life: Vella (Urad Dhal and Jaggery) Vadai

Eve of Pooja

  • The previous day, the whole house is cleaned and the mandap /palaga is decorated
  • Various kolams are drawn using rice flour (if possible) I used sticker kolam
  • It is customary to tie banana tree (Vazhaikandru) on both sides of the mandap ( I couldn't get it)
  • Mango leaves thoran are tied at the entrance
  • Clean all the vessels used for pooja (Kalasam, Kuthu vilaku, Panchapathiram, ambal mugam etc)

People wake up early in the morning on Friday and take head bath. Traditionally speaking the waking up time for the puja is the brahma muhurtham. Then the designated puja area and house is cleaned well and a beautiful ‘kolam’ or rangoli is drawn on the intended place of puja.

Kalasa Alangaram

  • Place a wooden plank (palaga) in eastern side of the house and decorate with maakolam
  • Place a banana leaf(Nuni vazha ilai) on top of the plank
  • Spread some rice on the banana leaf
  • Place the kalasam on top of the rice.Decorate the kalasam with turmeric and kumkum on all sides
  • Put Coins, one teaspoon of Rice and water inside. Put bangle,  lemon, betel leaves with paaku, Thread and black beads (Can use gold/silver or brass kalasam)  (This differs from family to family)
  • Then insert some mango leaves (Maavilai kothu)
  • Now wash the coconut, Apply Turmeric on the coconut. Mix Turmeric powder with water and apply on top of the coconut
  • Place this coconut on top of the kalasam
  • Now fit the amman face on this coconut and start decorating with blouse bit (preferably red or maroon)/pavadai and jewels
  • Decorate amman face with turmeric/kumkum and also some kajal for the eyes.
  • After decoration is over Karpoora aarathi needs to be taken with betel leaves paaku and fruit neivedhyam
  • We usually make Ven Pongal for previous day neivedhyam
  • Meanwhile decorate the mandap too where the pooja will take place. The next day morning amman will be brought to this mandap

Pooja Procedures(On the day of nonbu)

  • Take head bath and wear 9 yards saree or any new dress as per the family customs
  • Morning take aarathi (make sure of the timing as well.It should not be yama/rahu kalam) to the amman and bring the amman to the decorated mandap. It is customary to sing songs as well.
  • Once amman is brought to the mandap, decorate with a fresh flower garland and a jewel. Do not make any adjustment to the decorations after this.
  • 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.
  • Start the pooja as per the family customs (There are lot of sources available in internet as well you can get some books) and tie the yellow saradu
  • Finally take aarathi and neivedhyam
  • After the pooja, tamboolam is provided to the sumangalis.They should be invited to the home.
  • In the evening light the lamp and do deeparathani
  • Next day morning do one Neivedhyam and do deeparathanai and remove the kalasam
Typical items in Tamboolam

Betel leaves with paaku
A fruit 
Small mirror
Blouse piece 
And any other gift items one can afford.The gift pack should include a vasthra. Since no one uses the blouse piece this can also be replaced with kitchen towels/napkins etc.