Thaipusam

Thaipusam is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February). It is mainly observed in countries where there is a significant presence of Tamil community such as India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore, Thailand and Myanmar

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The word Thaipusam is a combination of the name of the month, Thai, and the name of a star, Pusam. This particular star is at its highest point during the festival. The festival commemorates the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a Vel “spear” so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman. Thaipusam is a celebration of the victory of good over evil.

How Kali became the Neivedyam for Thiruvadirai?

Tomorrow is the festival of Thiruvadirai or Arudra Darshinam.

Did you know How the Sweet offering of Kali became the neivedyam for Lord Shiva??

kali

 

A devotee called Sendanar had the habit of eating only whatever was left of the food offered to the Lord and then distributed among other devotees. On Thiruvadirai day in a Marghazhi, he could offer to the Almighty only some pittu and kali. With much regret that he could get nothing better, he offered these to the Lord. As he stood a little later in Nataraja’s sanctorum, the Lord effected a shower of pittu and kali on Sendanar, in recognition of his deep devotion. Since the day of that miracle, kali is the special offering to Lord Nataraja on Marghazhi Thiruvadirai.

Avani Avittam

Avani Avittam is an important ritual associated with the Brahmin community in the world. The day is of great significance to Rig, Yajur, Sama Vedic Brahmins. On the next day, Gayatri Japa Sankalmpam is observed. In other parts of South India, the observance is known as Upakarma.

On the day of Avani Avittam, the sacred thread worn is changed and it is usually a community observance and takes place on the banks of a pond or river. Avani is the name of the Tamil month and Avittam is one of the 27 nakshatras or stars. On this day, a Mahasankalpam or a vow is taken for atonement of all our sins in the past year. The Brahmins take a holy dip and wear a new holy thread called Yajnopavit or Janeyu.

avani avittam

The first step is a ‘prayashchita’ A prayer to atone the sins. It says, “For the removal of all my sins and thereby to secure a divine blessing and for qualifing myself to perform the essential duties of Brahmanas as prescribed in the vedas and smritis and adopted by the really good in their conduct I put on this Yagnopavita”.

When the thread is worn another mantra is recited which means -”I put on the sacred thread which is highly pure, is inseparable from God, is capable of prolonging life and is the foremost in the accomplishment of a Brahmana. May such pure Yagnopavita bring strength and dignity.

While removing the old thread, the mantra means -”I throw away the broken dirty old thread, may the new one bring on long life and Brahmana’s brilliance.

Avani Avittam Significance

Upakarmam means the beginning. On this day the Yajurvedis begin to read Yajur Veda for next six months. The day is auspicious because as per Indian mythology Lord Vishnu was incarnated as Lord Hayagriva,the lord of knowledge, the one who restored the Vedas to Brahma.

Varalakshmi Pooja

 “Padmaasane Padmakare sarva lokaika poojithe Narayana priyadevi supreethaa bhava sarvada”

Today is Varalakshmi Pooja – The worship of Goddess lakshmi

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The Friday before the Full Moon, or Pournami day, of Tamil Month Aadi is chosen to perform Varalakshmi Puja. The corresponding month in the Kannada, Marathi and Telugu Calendar is the Shravan month. Worshipping Goddess Lakshmi on Varalakshmi Vrata day is equivalent to worshipping Ashtalaksmi – the eight goddesses of Wealth, Earth, Learning, Love, Fame, Peace, Pleasure, and Strength. The importance of Varalakshmi Puja is mentioned in the Skanda Purana. It is believed that importance of Varalakshmi Puja was narrated to Goddess Parvati by Lord Shiva. Goddess Parvati wanted to know about a Vrata that is highly beneficial to a woman, which will help her lead a happy and prosperous life on earth. Lord Shiva then mentioned about the Varamahalakshmi Vratam

 

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Koodaravalli

Andal is the only woman among the Azhwars. Her devotion to Lord Ranganathar gave rise to many pasurams. This bhakthi endeared her to the Lord, who accepted her as his bride.

 

Sri Andal sang the Thiruppavai containing 30 verses – one verse for each day of Margazhi (December – January) – in praise of Lord Narayana. On the 27th day, while singing “Koodaarai vellum seer Govinda…”, the Lord blessed her with the boon of marriage. This day every year is celebrated at Koodaravalli to commemorate this event.

In the second pasuram, “Vaiyathu vaazhvirgal”, Andal details the procedures involved in observing the fast during the month. Sri Andal exhorts us to chant the name of the Lord for the whole day, avoid ghee, milk, have a bath early in the morning (brahmamuhurtham), avoid any adornments like kohl or flowers, avoid all negative emotions and words, do acts of charity, and do one’s duties while singing praises of the Lord.

Sri Andal and her friends complete their fast on the 27th day, and prepare to enjoy themselves for the last three days of the month.

The 27th pasuram, “koodarai vellum” signifies the conclusion of the fast.

koodaarai vellum seer gOvindhaa undhannai(p)

paadi(p) paRai kondu yaam peRum sammaanam

naadu pugazhum parisinaal nanRaaga(ch)

choodagamE thOL vaLaiyE thOdE sevip poovE

paadagamE enRanaiya palagalanum yaam aNivOm

aadai uduppOm adhan pinnE paaR chORu

mooda ney peydhu muzhangai vazhi vaara(k)

koodi irundhu kuLirndhElOr embaavaay

The friends wear good clothes and ornaments and visit the temple, where they continue to sing praises of Lord Narayana. Akkaravadisal soaked in ghee and milk is offered to the Lord and shared amongst them.

Today, devotees go to the temple, offer Ghee filled Akaravadisal to Lord Govinda and end their fast on this day. Many perform Annadanam on this day.This Year Koodaravalli is celebrated on 11th January 2013

Vinayaka Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi, or Vinayaka Chaturthi, is the birthday of Vinayaka, the embodiment of Wisdom and Prosperity. Though His worship forms the most important aspect of one’s daily puja, His birthday, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated grandly with devotion and delight. This year, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated on Wednesday, September 19, 2012. Ganesha is considered as the most endearing form of all Hindu deities. All Hindus worship Ganesha regardless of their sectarian belief, He is both the beginning of the religion and the meeting ground for all Hindus. In fact, Ganesha is one of the five prime Hindu deities (Surya, Vishnu, Shiva and Devi being the other four) of the panchayatana puja (introduced by Adi Sankara). His benevolence is necessary for removing the obstacles as well as for the success of human pursuits. He is invoked at the commencement of all pujas and functions.

Significance of Ganesha Chaturthi

All Indian festivals, beneath the aspect of delight and celebration, hold the underlying essence or the spirit. The very story of Ganesha’s manifestation holds the essence of Advaita Vedanta. The celebration of Ganesha Chaturti reveals that while we worship the divine with the form, we ought to bear in mind the formless reality. This is depicted in the elaborate worship that is carried out on Ganesha Chaturti and finally dissolving the form that we endear in a water body in remembrance of the divine as the formless reality even beyond the manifested form. This is a reminder that we all are made up of the same, all pervading essence or the spirit though we may vary owing to the disparities in shape and form. He is the Lord who removes all obstacles on the path of the spiritual aspirant, and bestows upon us worldly as well as spiritual success.

Significance of His name

Sage Vyasa worshipped Ganesa by reciting his sixteen names. They are: ‘Sumukhan, Ekadantan, Kapilan, Gajakarnan, Lambodaran, Vikatan, Vighnarajan, Vinayakan, Dhumaketu, Ganadhyakshan, Phalachandran, Gajanan, Vakratundan, Surpakarnan, Heramban, and Skandapurvajan.’

Aum & Muladhara Chakra

Ganesha is identified with the Hindu mantra Aum (Tamil: ஓம், Sanskrit :ॐ) also spelled Om). The term oṃkārasvarūpa (Aum is his form), when identified with Ganesha, refers to the notion that he personifies the primal sound. According to Kundalini yoga, Ganesha resides in the first chakra, called Muladhara (mūlādhāra). Mula means “original, main”; adhara means “base, foundation”. The muladhara chakra is the principle on which the manifestation or outward expansion of primordial Divine Force rests.

Significance of the Ganesha Form

The son of Shiva and Parvati, Ganesha has an elephantine countenance with a curved trunk and big ears, and a huge pot-bellied body of a human being. He has four arms and with two of the hands he holds a noose and a goad. The two other hands display the Varada mudra and Abhaya mudra, which grants boons and dismisses fear from the devotee.

HEAD: Ganesha’s elephant head denotes wisdom and symbolizes the Atman or the soul, which is the ultimate supreme reality of human existence.

EARS: His fan-like ears convey that he is all ears to our prayers.

BODY: His human body signifies Maya or the earthly existence of human beings.

TRUNK: His trunk represents Om, the sound symbol of cosmic reality.

GOAD on his right hand: In his upper right hand Ganesha holds a goad, which helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles from the way.

The NOOSE in Ganesha’s left hand is a gentle implement to capture all difficulties.

The BROKEN TUSK that Ganesha holds like a pen in his lower right hand is a symbol of sacrifice, which he broke for writing the Mahabharata.

The ROSARY in his other hand suggests that the pursuit of knowledge should be continuous.

The KOZHAKATTAI (sweet) he holds in his trunk indicates that one must discover the sweetness of theAtman.

SNAKE: The snake that runs around his waist represents energy in all forms.

The MOUSE symbolizes the darkness of night or tamoguna/desire. Showing Ganesha as master of the rat demonstrates his function as Vigneshvara (Lord of Obstacles)

Legend

There are a few legends attributed to the birth or rather the manifestation of Ganesha. However, there’s a popular story of his origin, found in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana: Shiva asked Parvati to observe the punyaka vrata for a year to appease Vishnu in order to have a son. When a son was born to her, all the gods and goddesses assembled to rejoice on his birth. Lord Shani, the son of Surya (Sun-God), was also present but he refused to look at the infant. Perturbed at this behaviour, Parvati asked him the reason, and Shani replied that his looking at baby would harm the newborn. However, on Parvati’s insistence, when Shani eyed the baby, the child’s head was severed instantly. All the gods started to bemoan, whereupon Vishnu hurried to the bank of river Pushpabhadra and brought back the head of a young elephant, and joined it to the baby’s body, thus reviving it.

The story of the birth of this zoomorphic deity, as depicted in the Shiva Purana, goes like this: He was formed by Parvati from the material of her own body. She asked Ganesha not to allow anyone to enter while she had her bath. It is said that the steadfast Ganesha did not allow entry to Lord Shiva Himself. Shiva became angry and cut off Ganesha’s head as He thought Ganesha was an outsider. When Parvati came to know of this, she was sorely grieved.

Lord Shiva then ordered his Ganas to proceed westward and come with the head of anything that they happened to see first. It so happened, that it was an elephant and its head was fitted to the body of Parvati’s decapitated son. That is how he got the name Gajamukha. The purpose of birth of Lord Ganesh is to destroy the devil “Gajamugasuran”. Lord Shiva made His son worthy of worship at the beginning of all undertakings, marriages, expeditions, studies, etc. He ordained that the annual worship of Ganesha should take place on the 4th day of the bright half of Bhadrapada.

Ganesha Chaturthi Puja

Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated across the country across religion caste and creed. Lord Ganesha is invoked in a Kalash or an idol of the Lord is installed in the house. Clay figures of the Deity are made and after being worshipped for two days, or in some cases ten days, they are thrown into water.

Pooja is carried out with Vedic mantras, Homas, archana and offerings of His favourite Modhak, puffed rice, sweets and jaggery according to each one’s mode of worship. Some wind up the worship in a day or two while others carry it on for a week. On the final day of worship, the Ganesha statue made out of clay is dissolved in a water body or the water from the Kalash is also mixed in a water body.

He is very fond of sweet pudding or balls of rice flour with a sweet core. It’s called “Modhakas” or “Kozhakattais” in Tamil. While celebrated all over India, it is most elaborate in Maharashtra (Mumbai). Huge statues of Ganesha are made, decorated and worshipped for 10 days and finally given to the Ocean. The Ganapati Festival ends with the immersion (Visarjan) of the idol on Ananda Chaturdasi day – September 29, 2012.

Lord Ganesha

Thiruvalanchuzhi

Although this is a temple for Lord Shiva, Swetha Vinayakar is the important deity of Thiruvalanchuzhi. Legend has it that the Devas, forgot to worship Lord Ganesha before starting to churn the “Paarkadal” (Ksheera Saagaram). Hence, they were only able to get the Alakala Poison out of it. Indra, king of Devas, later realized that they were only able to get the poison because they had not worshipped Ganesha prior to starting their mission.

Lord Indra created this idol out of the foam (Kadal Nurai) generated from the milky ocean (Ksheera Saagaram) they had churned in their quest for the celestial nectar Amrudham. After they worshipped this idol made of foam (Nurai in Tamil), they were able to obtain the Amrudham from the Ocean. As the deity is made of the foam, there is no Abhishegam etc., performed here.

Sri Vellai Pillaiyar (Swetha Vinayakar or Nuraippillaiyaar) Temple is located in Thiruvalanchuzhi, a village located just 6 kilometers near Kumbakonam, Tamilnadu in India. Swetha Vinayakar, a white colored statue of Ganesha, is the deity of worship in this temple.

Shri Karpaga Vinayagar (Pillayarpatti)

Pillaiyar patti Pillaiyar temple is an ancient rock-cut cave shrine dedicated to Ganesha . The Agama texts found on stones in the temple help date the temple between the years 1091 and 1238.

This temple is the only one in Tamil Nadu which contains a 6 feet rock-cut Pillaiyar idol. The Vinayagar sannidhi (Sanctom Sanctorum) is a cave where the 6 feet of Karpaga Vinayagar has been carved inside. Lord Karpaga Vinayagar is seated facing northern side.

Scholars say that Lord Vinayaga is the Lord of wisdom, which is confirmed by the head of elephant in the shape of sacred mantram “OM”. When we draw a line from the broken left tusk, starting upward, then turning left towards right ear and after passing through the bended left tusk up to the tip of trunk, Tamil alphabet “O” appears. The Lingam in the hand indicates the alphabet “M”. Together they form “OM”. This is confirmed by the lord here “Valamburi Pillayar”. As Vinayagar satisfies the wishes of his devotees like Karpagam tree, he is also known “Karpaga Vinayagar”.

Here Lord Vinayaga appears with 2 hands unlike in other places where he is seen with 4 hands. Also he is seen seated without Angusapasam, with his legs folded and stomach not touching the Asanam in the form of “Artha Padma” Asanam.

Vinayagar Chathurthi is the very important festival in this temple. It is 10 days festival. Kappaukkattutual and hoisting temple flag begin before 9 days. At the 9 th day car festival and much celebrated decoration of sandal covering ( Santha-na-kkappu) to Pillaiyar takes place

Meenakshi Amman Temple

In Meenakshi Amman Temple, this festival is devoted to “Mukkuruni Vinayagar”. Mukkuruni means three times of six. This idol was recovered while the King Tirumalai Nayacker digged the land for constructing a tank which is popularly known as “Mariamman Tank” now. On the day of Ganesh Chathurthi, the Meenakshi Amman Temple devotees offer a huge kozhukattai to Mukkuruni Vinayagar.

As its name implies, the kozhukattai is prepared with the 3*6 times i.e. 18kg of rice.

Onam

Onam (Malayalam: ഓണം) is a harvest festival celebrated by Malayalees (people from the Indian state of Kerala ) all around the world. The festival commemorates the Vamana avatar of Vishnu and the subsequent annual homecoming of the legendary King Mahabali from the underworld (Patala). He is affectionately called as Maveli or Bali /Onathappan by Keralites. Onam is celebrated during the first Malayalam month of Chingam(August–September) and lasts for ten days starting on Atham and ending on Thiruvonam. This year Onam is celebrated on the 29th of August 2012. The word Onam or Thiruvonam is derived from the Sanskrit word Shravanam. Thiruonam is one among the 27 nakshatras/constellations and is believed to be the avatara nakshatra of Vishnu. The rich cultural heritage of Kerala comes out in its best form and spirit during the ten-day festival. Women indulge in various cultural activities. They make intricately designed flower mats called, Pookalam in the front courtyard of the house to welcome King Mahabali. The central feature of Onam is the grand feast called Onasadya, prepared on the 10th day i.e. Thiruonam. It is a nine-course meal consisting of 11 to 13 essential dishes. Onasadya is served on banana leaves and people sit on a mat laid on the floor to have the meal. Another popular feature of Onam is Vallamkali, the Snake Boat Race, held on the Pamba River, in which decorative boats oared by hundreds of boatmen, race amidst chanting of songs and cheering, by spectators.

THE LEGEND

Mahabali or Bali was the son of Devamba and Virochana and grandson of Prahlad, the devout son of the demon King Hiranyakashipu. Though he belonged to the Asura (demon) dynasty he was an ardent worshipper of Lord Vishnu. He grew up under the tutelage of his grandfather, Prahlad, who instilled in him a strong sense of righteousness and devotion. Bali eventually succeeded his grandfather as the king of the Asuras, and his reign was characterized by peace and prosperity. He expanded his realm by fighting the great Indra thus bringing the three worlds under his benevolent rule (Earth, Underworld and Heaven). The Devas, after their defeat at the hands of Bali, approached their patron Vishnu and entreated him to restore their lordship over Heaven. In Heaven, Bali, on the advice of his guru and advisor, Sukracharya, had begun the Ashwamedha Yaga so as to maintain his rule over the three worlds. He had already completed 99 yagnas. He was about to perform the 100th Ashwamedha Yagna.

VAMANA VISITS MAHABALI

Mahabali was performing the sacrificial rite of the 100th Aswamedha Yagna on the banks of the Narmada River. Bali, very much known for his kind nature made a declaration that he would offer anything that anyone sought during this Yagna. If he completes the 100th yagna he would be eligible for the post of Devendra – he can now throw out Indra. Indra approached Vishnu and asked him to restore his position. Vishnu, assured that Indra’s pride has been contained, promised to help Indra. Taking advantage of the Yagna and Mahabali’s declaration, Vishnu disguised himself as a dwarf Brahman carrying a wooden umbrella and kamandalam, came to the Yaga-Shala. As he approached the Yaga-shala, the sages perceived the extraordinary effulgence from the young lad. A learned advisor of the King, Shukracharya sensed that Vamana was not an ordinary Brahmin but Lord Vishnu himself and warned the King against making any promise. But Mahabali ignoring Shukracharya’s warning went forth to receive the Brahmin boy with all traditional honours and gave him an eminent seat befitting the status of a holy person. The Brahmin said that he just wanted as much land as could be covered by his three steps. The King was surprised to hear this, but knowing that it is none other than the Lord Himself, felt most fortunate to honor His wish against his guru’s warning.

MAHABALI’S REIGN ENDS

Just as King Mahabali agreed to grant the land, Vamana, took a form to stride over the three worlds. His form was so huge that he could step from heaven to earth, and earth to the lower worlds in two simple steps. King Mahabali unable to fulfill the promise of three paces of land to the Supreme God offered his head for the third step. And, Vamana placed his foot on King Mahabali’s head and sent him down to the Netherworld. There the King requested the Brahmin to reveal his true identity. Lord Vishnu then appeared before the King in his true form. Mahabali was overwhelmed and he prayed to the Lord.

VISHNU’S BLESSINGS

To honor the devotion of Mahabali, Lord Vishnu granted his wish to hold the position of Indra for one Manvantra. He orders him to rule over the underworld till tehday he could be the next Indra. Vishnu himself served Mahabali as a gatekeeper in Patala.

KING MAHABALI REQUESTS TO VISIT KERALA

The King was so much attached to his Kingdom and people that he requests that he be allowed to visit Kerala every year. Lord Vishnu was moved by the Kings nobility and granted him the wish. Mahabali visiting his subjects is celebrated as Onam every year. The festival is celebrated as a tribute to the sacrifice of King Mahabali. Every year people make elaborate preparations to welcome their King whom they affectionately call Onathappan to impress upon their dear King that they are happy and wish him well. The tenth day, Thiruvonam is the biggest and the most important day of this festival. It is believed that King Mahabali visits his people on the day. Onam in Trikkakara, a place 10 km from Kochi (Cochin) on the Edapally- Pookattupadi road is considered to be the centre of Onam celebrations over the world, as Thrikkakara is considered to have been the abode of the King Mahabali. The temple houses the main deity Lord Vamana. During the Onam celebration period, a pyramidal statue symbolizing Lord Vamana is installed as a symbol of honour, and named Onathappan or Thrikkakara-appan. The temple is the site at which the king Mahabali is said to have been sent to the underworld Patala by Lord Vamana . The etymology of the name Thrikkakara (‘place of the holy foot’) is also derived this way.

Why Aadi is special?

The Tamil month Aadi is the fourth month of the Tamil Calendar and begins on July 16th, 2012. The start of this month is the Dakshinayana punyakalam or the night time of Devas.


Aadi is a month of fervour and observances in Godess related to Water-forces and Natural forces (e.g. Maria Amman temples, Mundakanni amman temples etc.) where prayers and pujas are offered to propitiate the powerful goddesses and seek their protection from the inauspicious aspects that are often associated with the month. The month of Aadi is considered very auspicious to connect oneself to this Divine power.  No weddings or other similar functions are celebrated during Aadi as is considered inauspicious.


Also, starting this month the heat of the sun reduces and the rains start. It is during this time that the monsoon peaks on the west coast and the rivers of Tamil Nadu, shrunken in the summer heat, get replenished, often to near full levels. Usually the tamil months are named based on the nakshatra that prevails during the full moon day or Pournami. In Chithirai month, full moon day happens during chithirai nakshathiram, in Vaikasi month  during Visaka Nakshathiram and similarly in Aadi full moon day happens during Aashada Nakshathiram and thus this month got the name Aash Aadi(in north) / Aadi(in the south).

Aadi auspicious days are

Aadi Sundays, Aadi Tuesdays (Aadi Chevvai) and Aadi Fridays ( Aadi Velli) are auspicious.

The Aadi Velli and Aadi Chevvai are of great significance to women as numerous rituals are performed. Women of the neighborhood and friends meet on the Fridays and do pujas and exchange Thamboolam.

Varalakshmi Puja an important ritual dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi is performed on a Friday in the month of Aadi.

Some important festivals celebrated in this month are as follows:

1. Aadi Pirappu: The first day of this month, usually falling on July 16 is celebrated as Aadi Pandigai or Aadi Pirappu, which is an important festival to most Tamils, especially newly-weds. The first of the month is marked with a special puja, followed by a feast with ‘payasam’ prepared with coconut milk, ‘puran poli’ and vadai. Traditionally, the family of a ‘pudhu maappillai’ (new son-in-law) is invited to the girl’s house, where the couple is gifted new clothes and other presents.

2.  Aadi Amavasai (July 18) – No moon day in Aadi month dedicated to offering Shradh and Tarpan to dead ancestors.

3. Aadi Pooram (July 23) – This month is the birth (Avathara) month of Sri Andal (one among 12 great Alwars of Sri Vaishnavism).

Legend has it that Vishnu Chitha (called as Periazhwar) was a sincere devotee of Lord Ranganatha of Srivilliputhur. He was childless for a very long time. His prayers were answered and on Aadi Pooram day, when the devotee was collecting flowers for his puja in his garden, he found a girl child. The child was named Kothai who grew up with devotion to Lord.
Everyday, Vishnu Chitha made a garland of Thulasi leaves to offer to the deity at the temple. Kothai used to wear that before offering to the Lord. One day, the devotee happened to see her wearing this garland and so he replaced with another one. However, the Lord refused to accept the new one and said that He would only wear the garland worn by Kothai. Vishnu Chitha realized that his daughter is Goddess Maha Lakshmi herself. Andal then came to be known as Choodi Kodutha Sudarkodi, meaning ‘garland offered after being worn’.
The Aadi Pooram ten-day festival is celebrated in all Lord Vishnu Temples in Tamil Nadu. Aadi Pooram festival is most famous in Srivilliputhur Andal Koil in Srivilliputhur, the birthplace of Andal, Sri Parthasarathy Swamy Temple at Chennai and at the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam.

The 10th day is celebrated as Aadi Pooram day where Thirukalyanam (divine marriage of the God and the Goddess) is conducted. Special pujas are also conducted on this day. It is believed that if unmarried girls worship Goddess Andal on the 10th day of Adi Pooram festvial, they will get married soon.

In the Saiva temples, this day is celebrated as the Valaikappu festival for Ambal, when glass bangles are offered to Ambal & then distributed to the devotees. These bangles are said to provide offsprings and generally protect us from all evils. (Valaikaappu is a festival when a pregnant woman wears glass bangles, the sound of which is said to protect her and the child from evil forces).

4. Varalakshmi Puja (July 27) – Worship of Goddess Lakshmi.

The Friday before the Full Moon, or Pournami day, of Tamil Month Aadi is chosen to perform Varalakshmi Puja. The corresponding month in the Kannada, Marathi and Telugu Calendar is the Shravan month. Worshipping Goddess Lakshmi on Varalakshmi Vrata day is equivalent to worshipping Ashtalaksmi – the eight goddesses of Wealth, Earth, Learning, Love, Fame, Peace, Pleasure, and Strength. The importance of Varalakshmi Puja is mentioned in the Skanda Purana. It is believed that importance of Varalakshmi Puja was narrated to Goddess Parvati by Lord Shiva. Goddess Parvati wanted to know about a Vrata that is highly beneficial to a woman, which will help her lead a happy and prosperous life on earth. Lord Shiva then mentioned about the Varamahalakshmi Vratam.

5.Aadi Perukku (August 3) – Aadi Perukku or Padinettam Perukku is celebrated on the eighteenth day of this tamil month Aadi.

The people of Tamil Nadu celebrate monsoon through this festival. People worship the rivers (water bodies) for the rains in abundance. Aadi is the month for sowing, rooting, planting of seeds and vegetation since it is peak monsoon time.
Aadiperukku is very special in the Kaveri delta. This festival is peculiar to the all the perennial river basins of Tamil Nadu and major lakes water source areas and is intended to celebrate the water rising levels due to the onset of monsoon, which is expected to occur invariably on the 18th day of the solar month, Aadi corresponding to the 2nd or 3 August every year. Hence “Padinettam perukku” – Padinettu signifies eighteen, and Perukku denotes rising.
On this auspicious day, Goddess Parvathi Devi is worshipped by offering different rice dishes. People celebrate this occasion by offering chitrannam or rice cooked in different flavors, colors and ingredients to the river-goddess. Usually mixed rice dishes like Sweet Pongal, Coconut rice, Lemon rice, Tamarind rice and Bahala bath or curd rice are prepared. Offerings of flowers, Akshata and rice offerings are done into sacred rivers like Cauveri. As per Purana, Parvathi devi meditated upon Lord Siva to see the divine vision and Lord Siva appeared as Shanka-Naraya swami. Aadiperukku is a festival of fertility and people of Tamil Nadu especially women offer prayers. They wear new clothes and perform abhishekham for Kaveri amman.

6. Aadi Karthigai (August 10, 2012) – Festival dedicated to Lord Muruga.

7. Puthukku Paal: Majority of the people also worship snakes during the tamil months of of Aadi and Thai. They visit a Snake bill and offer cow milk, as offerings to the Snake God. They also bring sacred mud from the snake bill and apply the same on their body with a belief that it will help in getting rid of health aberrations. They offer milk to snake idols and perform pooja to remove the naga dosha for wealth and prosperity.

Akshaya Tritiya

Akshaya Tritiya also referred as Akha Teej is considered the most auspicious days of all by Hindus in India. The pious day of Akshay Trithiya falls on the third day (Tithi) of Bright phase of moon (Shukla Paksha) of Hindu month of Vaishakha. The name Akshay Trithiya describes the special planetary positions of Moon, Sun and Jupiter, as on this day all three unanimously come under Mrigshira Nakshatra. Moon and Sun both glow at their brightest level, indicating the auspiciousness of the day.
The day of Akshay Trithiya is considered highly auspicious by Hindus as the day is thought to bring good fortune and prosperity for every one. The literal meaning of Akshay in Sanskrit means imperishable or “never diminishing” and thus the day is believed to be the best time for beginning new ventures or investing money in precious metals and land.

Legend of Akshaya Tritiya


Several legends have been associated with the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya. According to Hindu mythology, the day of Akshaya Tritiya marks the commencement of ‘Satya Yug’ or ‘Golden Age’. Another story suggests that on Akshaya Tritiya, both Veda Vyasa and Lord Ganesha started writing the epic ‘Mahabharata’. Mother Ganges, the sacred river imagined as the holy Goddess also descended on earth on the day of Akshaya Tritiya. According to the scriptures of Mahabharata, Lord Krishna presented the Pandavas with an ‘Akshaya Patra’, a container that supplies unlimited food on this propitious occasion. Krishna’s poor friend Sudama received his boon on Akshaya Tritiya. It is also considered the birth date of Lord Parashurama who happens to be one of the ten ‘Avatars’ of Lord Vishnu.

Celebrations and Rituals of Akshaya Tritiya


Akshaya Tritiya is considered one of the most momentous days in Hindu calendar. The day is chosen as the best time to perform religious activities like ‘Yagya’ and ‘Puja’. People start new ventures and businesses on the day of Akshaya Tritiya hoping that this will bring in sheer fortune and opulence to their lives. Hindus take sacred dip in the river Ganges and worship Devi Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu. In Bengal, shop owners perform Puja on Akshaya Tritiya and start their new account book or ‘Haal Khata’ as they call it. All their customers are invited to the shop on this day and are treated with sweetmeats. People purchase Gold coins, lands and jewelry on Akshaya Tritiya to retain fortune and wealth forever.

Significance of Akshaya Tritiya


Akshaya Tritiya is the festival that initiates good luck and prosperity. Every year, the sacred day sparks rays of new hope in Hindus from all over India and thus the day is celebrated by people irrespective of caste, creed and cultural diversities. The word Akshaya means that which never diminishes – hence beginnings made or valuables bought on this day are considered certain to bring luck and success

Why do we do Namaste?

Most traditional Indians greet each other with a namaste. This greeting is used whenever we meet and greet anyone – irrespective of age or relationship – family or strangers. The two palms are joined together in front of the chest and the head bowed whilst saying the word Namaste or Namaskaram.

Namaste could be a casual or formal greeting, depending on the cultural milieu. Namaste could also be part of the act of worship. In Sanskrit the words namah (I bow) and te(to you) come together to form the word Namaste. It conveys a greeting, salutations or prostration to you. The joined palms also symbolise a hope that the meeting with another will be a meeting of minds and in friendship too – a deeper and more meaningful gesture than just a superficial meeting. Our understanding of this will make us more aware of our commitment to make each meeting a communion of minds with love and respect, rather than just a fleeting ephemeral meeting.

NAMASTE TO ALL OUR VISITORS. May we meet as friends and develop a longstanding relationship which is mutually enriching.