Upākarma “Beginning” (Sanskrit: उपाकर्म) and also called Āvaṇi Aviṭṭam (Tamil: ஆவணி அவிட்டம்), is a Vedic ritual still practiced by modern Hindus of the Brahmin caste. ~ wikipedia

This is the most important ritual observed by the men in the Brahmin Community. Avani Avittam is also known as Upakarma or Yaghnopaveetha Dharana, is the ceremony of changing the scared thread (Poonal). Every year, the festival of Avani Avittam falls on the full moon day of the month of Hindu calendar month of Sravan (August-September). The next day is Gayathri Jappam, where the Gayathri Mantra is chanted 1008 times.

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I enjoy observing these rituals. I woke up early before sunriseContinue reading

ARR (577)

In the above photo you can see my husband ready to go to Kashi yathrai and my anna (elder brother) holding the umbrella for him and trying to change his mind. With extra effects of flowers falling from the umbrella.

Kashi yathrai refers to an age-old Brahmin ritual where the groom “decides” to take up ‘sanyaasam’ (i.e. asceticism, monkhood) for spiritual pursuit. He would ultimately be ‘convinced’ by the Continue reading

Whenever I go on holidays to India with parents, there is always a temple trip. India trip wont be a fulfilling one without visiting some ancient temples and getting to know  its  history and specialities. Either visiting the kulam deivam or on the way to relative’s house, we drop by a temple.

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Most of the huge and popular temples draw devotees who do Angapradhakshanam. I thought it to be a silly deed till I found the significance behind it. People rollingContinue reading

I was at the salon the other day for a hair cut. I was listening to a girl’s (who was sitting next to me for a haircut) conversation with her hairdresser. She was talking English with a Russian accent. She was saying: “All of our Russian girls’ hairs are so thin, advice me on growing thick hair”. Well as usual the hairdresser was selling her products: “You should try our volume shampoo, which is about four hundred bucks and the conditioner is 200 bucks….” She kept ‘bla blaing’ a lot more. Well I mumbled too myself and to my surprise that girl heard me. Usually people don’t really hear my mumbles.

She asked me: “How come you Indians have beautiful thick velvet hair?”. I said something along these lines :Continue reading

Mohan and I celebrated our wedding anniversary yesterday.

Traditionally, payaasam and vadai is made for special events such as these. We offer some food to our deities before consuming them. This is called Naivedhyam. In any auspicious menu ‘Vadai payaasam’ is included.

Payaasam is made up of cooked rice as rice is the staple diet of India and boiled milk with sugar. Offering something sweet to God.

Vadai is a savoury dish and a traditional South Indian food known from antiquity. There are two types of vadai – Paruppu vadai made from chana dal (split de-husked black chickpeas), and Ulundu vadai made from urad dhal (de-husked black lentils.) Sliced green chillies, curry leaves and onion are also mixed into the batter, and ulundu vadai batter contains rice in addition to these.  These are fried in hot oil like doughnuts. While paruppu vadai is circular and slightly flat, ulundu vadai is wheel-shaped with a hole in the middle. Ulundu vadai is bland and usually enjoyed with chutney or sambar.

They are more than 2 types of vadai. The above mentioned are mostly used for auspicious functions.

NeivedhiyamContinue reading

I will be writing about Inter-family marriage. While I was studying at school, many people were awed by my traditions and culture. Getting married within family especially such person as cousins or uncles, were some what normal in my culture but for others it was awkward. Getting married to cousins were ridiculed and were questioned and frowned upon. I would like to put out the term “Dravidian Kinship”, which is a book as well, written by Thomas Trautmann .

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