One of the readers had inquired about the pooja procedures when I posted about the home made pooja mandap for varalakshmi vratham last year.I have compiled the procedures as per our family customs. This year Varalakshmi pooja falls on 8 Aug 2014.

Eve of Pooja

  • The previous day, the whole house is cleaned and the mandap is decorated
  • Various makolams are drawn using rice flour. Find a corner in the living room facing east and place a plank there. Decorate the plank with maakolam.
  • Decorate the pooja room to welcome the Goddess.It is customary to tie banana tree (Vazhaikandru) on both sides of the mandap in the pooja room (If you dont have mandap, regular stool/small table can be used)
  • Mango leaves thoran are tied at the entrance
  • Clean all the vessels used for pooja (Kalasam, Kuthu vilaku, Panchapathiram, ambal mugam etc)
Decorated mandap

Venn pongal and sambar/Gothsu

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. If banana leaf is not available, use thambalam(plate)
  • 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
  • First put some rice inside the kalasam (Can use gold/silver or brass kalasam)
  • Then put a lemon, betel leaves with paaku,some coins,black beads(karugamani) (This differs from family to family)
  • Then insert some mango leaves around the kalasam(Maavilai kothu)
  • Now wash the coconut and smear some tumeric on it
  • Place this coconut on top of the kalasam
  • Now fit the amman face on this coconut and start decorating with blouse piece(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(arecnut) 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
Decorated Kalasam

Pooja Procedures(On the day of nonbu)

  • The women usually wake up early in the morning (Brahma muhurham).Take head bath and wear 9 yards saree 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. The pooja should not be started during raahu kalam. On fridays the rahu kalam is between 10:30 AM to 12:30 .Start the pooja before 10:30 AM
  • Once amman is brought to the mandap, decorate with a fresh flower garland and a jewel. Do not make any adjustments to the decorations after this.
  • 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 in the right hand.
  • Finally take aarathi and neivedhyam
After the pooja, thamboolam is provided to the sumangalis. They should be invited to the home.
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.

That evening Sundal and milk neivdhyam to be done followed by Aarthi

(For taking aarthi, mix turmeric and kumkum with water)

After the pooja

Varalakshmi vratham Recipes

Venn Pongal (Previous day)
Ellu Kozhukattai
Fruits (Orange, Vilambazham, apple, Berikkai can be used)
Paruppu(dhal) & ghee

The flour for kozhukkattai and vadai can be prepared on Thursday itself.

Other Items in lunch menu

Arachuvita Sambar

Checklist of things required

Flowers (uthiri poo)
Flower malai(garland)
Blouse piece (should not have any thread in black)
Cotton for making vasthiram (garland made with cotton)
Some coins
Karugamani katholai
Betel leaves with paaku
Some jewels
Akshathai (Mix some rice with little turmeric)
Banana leaf
Incense stick
Yellow saradu

Punar Pooja:
Punar pooja is done on the day after the nonbu. Offer maha neivedhyam (cooked rice with dhal and ghee) along with betel leaves, coconut, fruits etc and take mangala aarathi.
Kalasam should be moved to the northern side.

Arthi to be taken in the evening with Moong dhal sundal neivedhyam

The same day night the Kalasam can be removed the next day and stored in rice storage box. The rice used in the Kalasam can be used for regular cooking
Sundal can be prepared and offered as neivedhyam for punar pooja

  1. Do not use betel leaves alone. It should always be accompanied by paaku
  2. Baking powder can used to clean the silver vessels used for pooja
  3. Lotus flower and thazhamboo can be used for ambal which are considered special
  4. This pooja should be performed only by married women.However young girls can also get the saradu tied by elders
  5. If there are more than one married women in a family , single pooja can be performed with all the ambal mugam(face) in the mandap.The elders at home should first tie the thread.

  6. Women do not take breakfast.Also the dinner should be very light. 
  7. I used a silk pavadai material for small toddler girls (unstitched). Just gather the pleats and secure with a safety pin.

Check the post Ambal Kalasam decoration for explanation on how to tie the saree and garland

If you do not have Pooja vidhanam book, please refer the following site  for pooja slokas and procedures in English (It is in pdf format)

For audio instructions in Tamil, refer these sites

Varalakshmi Nonbu

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