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Ashtamangalyam Items in Kerala



Ashtamangalyam is a set of eight items widely found in Hindu homes in Kerala. It symbolically represents auspiciousness and prosperity. Ashta means ‘eight’ and Mangalyam means ‘that which gives happiness’. Ashtamangalyam is not the eight miniature vessels but it can be any eight auspicious items.

Ashtamangalyam was earlier associated with marriage. However, today miniature set of it is kept in homes as a decorative item.



Ashtamangalyam Confusion

There is no one opinion regarding the eight items among scholars, pundits and priests. In reality, any eight auspicious items that are readily available can become Ashtamangalyam. However, today importance is given to objects (decorative piece) and not for the content.

Again, the eight items vary depending on the auspicious occasion. The eight items are different for marriage; it is different for Vishu.

Ashtamangalyam is used during
  • Marriage
  • Vishu
  • Thiruvathira
  • During Ramayana Masam (Karkidakam)
All vessels are made using bronze. Traditional Nirapara and Niranazhi is made using wood and it is fastened using bronze belt.


The eight items that commonly formed part of Hindu marriage in Kerala
  1. Nirapara (contains paddy)
  2. Niranazhi
  3. Pure White cloth
  4. Arrow (symbolic of warrior) (this was dispensed off with and replaced by Gold)
  5. Lighted lamp
  6. Mirror
  7. Cheppu
  8. Blossom of coconut (the light yellow coconut flower)

 Another list which is seen during marriage include
  1. Nirapara
  2. Niranazhi
  3. Mirror
  4. Vessel to hold flowers
  5. Lamp
  6. Cloth
  7. Married Woman and
  8. Gold

Another list during Vishu
  1. Nirapara
  2. Lamp
  3. Mirror
  4. Gold
  5. Coconut
  6. Curd
  7. Book and
  8. Cheppu – to hold kumkum or sandal paste.

Ashtamangalyam Set

The list varies but today there is a sort of unanimity among manufacturers of the Ashtamangalyam set. The Ashtamangalyam set popularly available in the market contains:
  1. Para – (a traditional vessel to hold paddy in Kerala)
  2. Lamp
  3. Kindi (vessel with spout to pour water)
  4. A mirror
  5. Cheppu – vermillion holder
  6. Bell
  7. Urli – vessel to hold rice
  8. A changalavatta lamp – holding oil and the lighting wick

Depending on your spending power the design of the eight items gets elaborate. Thus we have designer mirrors, lamps in different shapes and sizes etc.

The plate holding the eight items is not part of the set.

What items can be part of traditional Ashtamangalyam?

Here is a list of items that can be part of traditional Ashtamangalyam
  • Nirapara (this holds paddy)
  • Niranazhi (used to measure paddy)
  • Lamp
  • Mirror (Val Kannadi)
  • Urli
  • Paddy (rice with husk)
  • Complete paddy just cut from the field
  • Uncooked rice
  • Sandalwood paste
  • Red kum kum
  • Kanmashi (Kajal)
  • Book
  • Washed white cloth
  • Kasavu mundu (white cloth with gold border)
  • Gold
  • Flower vessel
  • 10 different types of flowers
  • Cheppu
  • Kindi
  • Coconut
  • Coconut blossom
  • Arecanut blossom
  • Curd
  • Betel Leaves
  • Betel Nut
  • Banana
  • Jackfruit
  • Banana tree with plantain intact including the flower
  • Jaggery
  • Married woman
  • Small girl
  • Tender coconut leaves

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