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Vayana Pooja – Importance Of Vaine Pooje

Vayana Pooja, or Vaine Pooje, is observed on Bhadrapad Shukla Paksha tritiya tithi, the day before Ganesh Chaturthi, by Konkani community as per traditional Hindu calendar followed in Karnataka, Goa and parts of Kerala and Maharashtra. The same puja is performed by Gauri Puja in other parts of Karnataka.

The puja is dedicated to Goddess Parvati and is performed by married women. The puja and rituals are of hereditary nature especially in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka.

A few days prior to Vayana Pooja, coconuts are dehusked and cleaned thoroughly. The number of coconuts used in the Vayana Pooja is always in odd numbers the minimum being 5.

Two days prior to the Vayna Pooja, kajal which is used to anoint the coconut is prepared at home. A plate containing water is placed on a lamp lit with pure ghee and the carbon formed is collected by scraping. A drop of ghee or pure castor oil is added and kajal is prepared for the puja.

 A day prior to the pooja, women have a bath including washing their hair, and the more orthodox do so without partaking any food too before anointing the Vayana.

A no-garlic -no onion diet is followed by all during the puja days.

The coconut is washed in turmeric water. Two of the holes in the coconut are anointed with kajal and the third one with Kumkum.  Also some kumkum is mixed with oil and lips are drawn with it. A line is  drawn with chalk running  through the centre of the coconut. Some mark it with dots and some with black beads stringed on a thread. All the coconuts are thus kept ready in preparation in the deva kuda or a secluded corner in the house.

On Vayana Pooja day, a painting of Shiva and Goddess Parvati (Mahesh and Gouri)  is arranged on a plate along with betel leaves, betel nut, flowers , kumkum , cucumber , a piece of sugar cane and a sheaf of paddy. Then the elder of the house will carry it in his head and go around the tulsi plant. Another elder will mix kumkum and haldi in water in a small plate and wave it before the Gods. Then they are brought into the puja room and seated, Kumkum is applied on Goddess Gowri’s forehead as a bindi and kajal to her eyes.  Bangles are kept by her side and the portraits are decorated with flowers. Banana leaves are spread in front of the portrait. A handful of rice is put on the leaves, and the decorated coconut (Vayana) is placed on it. A lamp or diya ( usually of  silver or clay  filled with ghee or oil ) is then placed above it.  

Tamboola, flowers, banana and a piece of sugar cane is placed beside each of the Vayanas. A single large fresh cucumber, haldi, kumkum, sindoor, and the Vayana daru or a multi colored thread with 5 tiny black beads woven in between are kept near the Vayanas.

Naivedyam including godu povu, cheppi bhajji and cheppi kheeri are place before the vayanas and the lamps are lit. Sixteen names of Gauri are chanted. Puja is performed.

The married woman performing the pooja then ties the Vayana daru around her neck along with the mangalsutra and the earlier one is removed.

After the puja the coconuts are shared with family members. Two of the coconut are reserved for Kuldevata and Kuldevi. The rest can be given to family members, priests, or married women.