Vaastu Puja

Life in India, photography, Self

I had written about symbolism in culture here and here
Had been meaning to get a full post on the house warming ritual but never got around to it. Yesterday’s bad photos gave the impetus.

Vaastu means abode and puja means worship in Sanskrit. So literally, any new house is to be worshipped. According to Hindu scriptures at least. There is also a guardian angel named ‘Vaastu Purush’ who is the one the ritual is for and then his tiny replica is buried in the foundation (traditionally but nowadays we just drill a hole in the flooring). It’s an interesting ceremony with lots of colors and symbols and details. Going into that might take forever. So for now I can show you in the best way I can, visually.

Fire is considered one of the deities and is also used as a means to appease good spirits and drive away bad ones. That’s my dad on the right pouring clarified butter into the flame as an offering while the two priests chant ‘mantras’ to the effect..

dad wearing the traditional garb of Brahmins, a dhoti with a scarf. Not sure why he looked so happy though.

Fresh flower garland at the entrance to mark the auspiciousness of the event

Various symbols used for the ritual. Most of them signify health, prosperity, safe guarding of the family and the abode.

My aunt’s hand as she makes lamps from flour which are later filled with oil and lighted with cotton wicks as part of the ritual.

offering holy water to one of the deities..there were too many for me to remember

My sister’s hand as she fries cashews in butter as part of the sweet (oh yes health food) offered to God. The gold bangles she is wearing are a symbol of a married woman. One of the symbols at least..

The priest who performs the whole worship ritual. He is almost 80 and has been part of our family rituals for years.


18 thoughts on “Vaastu Puja

  1. This is my first visit and I absolutely loved the way you’ve captured the mood and the moments of the VaastuPooja. Keep doing this, believe in what you are blogging and the rest will follow. All the best!

    1. Thank you so much Swapna for your kind words! I’m happy to hear that you liked them πŸ™‚

  2. What a vibrant post, full of life! I’m so glad you stopped by and that now I get to see your work. A photograph reveals what’s in front of the camera, and behind it: wonderful to see the spirit of both here.

    1. Hi Noel..I got attracted to the thumbnails of your photos because of the colors and was so glad I checked them. And thank you very much for your generous comment! πŸ™‚

  3. I like learning more about other cultures. In Paganism there are different ceremonies to bless the home before someone moves in (or when someone moves out, too).
    Cool pics, too!

    1. Oh yes. I love learning about other cultures as well more so because more often I end up learning that rituals may be different but the end goal behind them is usually the same. Interesting to know that moving out also calls for blessing the home. Do you know why? From what I know Pagans worship nature as the supreme deity, is that correct knowledge?

      1. Well, it’s more like cleansing your energy from the place where you’ve lived, both for closure and to leave the place clean for the next person who lives there – at least that’s the way I see it.
        There are as many ways of Paganism as there are pagans, and at least as long as you talk about Paganism there are no hard-and-fast rules, just “harm no one and do what you will”. Then there are different branches and those develop more particular rules, different ceremonies, and so on. But yes, what we have in common is that for all of us, Nature and life are sacred. For most of us there’s a female and a male aspect of the Divine, and then you can choose what personal deities you will honor based on which you feel closest to (for instance, I feel closest to the celtic branch of Paganism).
        I get carried away every time I talk about something I like, as you can see :).

      2. Oh please don’t worry about talking a lot. I enjoyed this so much. And now have lots more questions but I’ll stick to one. Were you born in a family which followed paganism or chose it later on? Of course religion is a sensitive subject so if you think it’s too personal question please forgive me πŸ™‚

      3. I think it’s only a problematic subject when people are trying to convince each other that their religion is the best one. When you’re just telling another person what your religion is about, it doesn’t have to be.
        I was born in a catholic family, baptized and all, but when I was a teenager I started feeling uncomfortable about a lot of aspects of Catholicism. For a while I was an atheist, but that didn’t feel right either, so I started reading about other religions. Paganism felt like home, like a second skin.
        At first it was hard at home, typical worried mother thinking I was worshipping the devil (which I don’t even believe exists, so that’d be kind of complicated, uh), but in the end we learned how to coexist in reasonable family peace. She goes to church, I pray and worship when I’m out with my camera and my pen and paper :).
        You can ask me any questions you have, I don’t mind. You can e-mail me if you want, I won’t mind that either.

      4. wow! I have to say I’m very impressed.. it is indeed a brave step especially for a teenager.. I would like to know more.. only for curiosity. Will send you an email πŸ™‚

  4. Hi! This is the first time I have visited your blog and I love what I have seen so far! This post was very interesting,colourful and so vibrant. I am going to subscribe now, so that I can follow your posts. The pictures truly are beautiful.

    1. Hello Samantha! Thank you sooo much for stopping by and commenting. I am glad you like and I would really appreciate critique from you πŸ™‚ (loved your photos)

  5. Really! Excellent pictures, Dhaami!
    If we were to ever set afoot on describing those Hindu rituals, there’s no end to it! hehehhe
    Just experienced a few during my trip this time…
    Oh but never mind all that.. I have to say, the pictures you have put up here are LOVELY!!!

    1. So true! And thank you so much girl!! Very nice of you to stop by and comment. Hugs to you πŸ™‚

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