Avani Avittam and Gayatri Japam Sankalmpam in 2008



Avani Avittam and Gayatri Gayatri Japam Sankalmpam are two important rituals associated with the Brahmin community in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The day is of great significance to Rig and Yajur Vedi Brahmins. In other parts of South India, the observance is known as Upakarma. In 2008, the date of Avani Avittam is August 16 and the date of Gayathri Japam is August 17. It must be noted here that some communities are postponing the Avani Avittam ceremony as a Chandra Grahanam or Lunar eclipse is taking place on the day.

Legend has it that Lord Hayagriva, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, brought back the Vedas stolen by Asuras on this day. On the Avani Avittam, day the sacred thread worn by the Brahmins is changed and it is usually a community observance and takes place on the banks of a pond.

Gayatri Japam Sankalmpam is noted for the chanting of the Gayatri Mantra for 1008 or 108 times. The sequence and the mode of performing the rituals depend on mutt (Math) affiliation.

Sama Vedi Brahmins perform the ritual on a different date.

August 16 is also observed as Hayagriva Jayanthi.