Tradition is not just a word in certain parts of the country. It intertwines not just with everyday activities like food, customs and behavior patterns, but also with the more spiritual pursuits. Worshipping certain deities in all parts of the country and in Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu and Karnataka in particular, has been associated with certain boons, and prominent amongst them is the Mahavratam of Lakshmi-also called as Varalakshmi or the Giver of Boons.
This auspicious date, usually falls a day before the full moon in the month of August and when it comes to the methodology of conducting the puja, there is plenty that is available at numerous sources. However, an essential element in this puja happens to be the offering of the saree. Goddess Lakshmi is offered several types of offerings on the occasion and prime amongst them is the kalasam filled with several articles and then comes the most important part which is the drape. Goddess Laksmi is not worshipped in some kind of ready-made idol form, but rather is created from several articles that symbolize her and the most important being-the kalasam or the reservoir of wealth, whose capacity is boundless. Though the size of the deity is small, one has to find ways and means of ensuring that the entire saree sits on the kalasam in such a manner that one can add other embellishments, like jewelry, the ‘Ammam mukham’ or the silver or clay face of the Goddess, and a braid that is decorated with flowers etc.
While you may still be racking your head over. how can a simple kalasam help you do this-here are some simple tips:
Now comes the offering of saree and blouse piece to the deity. It is often called ‘oti bharane’ in Telugu.
Usually, a red saree with zari preferable in soft silk is chosen as it will allow one to fold and drape rather well on the Goddess. Buy a silk saree with a medium to the thin border in deep pink or red for this occasion. The border allows one to create gorgeous rich pleating for the kalasam.
Once the kalasam has been filled with the needed ingredients, you can now begin the saree pleating. But you also need to now ensure that the kalasam is ready for the saree too! Here is what you do next.
As you can see in the picture above, the arms like stick needs to be placed at the back of the mouth of the kalasam so that it can now be ready for the saree. Use lots of wire and masking tape to ensure the stick is strongly glued and does not slip.
If you place the deity on a Chowki with banana leaf, it will automatically get more elevation and the saree will be able to get a lovely fall to make the entire structure of the deity look even larger and grander.
There are plenty of ideas available on how to make wire and fabric made arms and that could then be placed at the base of the kalasam.
Time to get the ‘neivedyam’ ready-after all your saree draping for Varalakshmi is quite under control now. Right?!
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