Griha Pravesh Pooja: South Indian Style•
Posted on April 29 2022
Griha Pravesh Pooja is a pooja carried out by Hindus from any part of the country when they move into a new house. This occasion is referred to as house warming in English and the pooja is performed irrespective of whether the move is to a new house or a rented house.
Some rituals carried out part of the pooja vary from region to region while a few of them remain the same. The pooja is believed to help in getting rid of the negative energies in the house and fill it with positive vibrations. Often, one or two priests from a temple are called over to perform the pooja.
It is generally suggested to invite only limited number of people and those from the close circle to the family to participate in the pooja. The presence of too many people can usher in negative forces that may have an adverse impact on the family who will be staying in the house.
There are a few things you must do on the day before Griha Pravesh pooja as a preparation for the pooja the next day. The very first thing to be done is place a kalash filled with water along with some turmeric powder, camphor and kumkum and a small photo of the deity in the pooja room or a clean shelf in the kitchen. Remember to keep the kalash and the photo in the north-east facing direction. This is usually kept by the lady of the house who enters the house for the first time with her right foot forward. This age old tradition is said to be very auspicious for the house owner.
Once this is done, the whole house is cleaned thoroughly and made spic and span. Remember to use a new broom and mop to clean the house. You can use cleaning agents like lemon, salt and vinegar as cleansing agents to purify the house and clean the impurities present. After this, you can decorate the main door of the house with flower garlands and mango leaves.
Some communities apply a turmeric paste at the threshold of their houses and draw rangoli in vibrant colours at the entrance. The rangoli is done to welcome Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth into the house. This is followed by sprinkling some water from the kalash in the kitchen in all corners of the house using a mango leaf. A list is compiled featuring the items required for the pooja. The stove is also cleaned and kept ready to boil the milk.
The griha pravesh pooja is usually done in the early morning hours on an auspicious day suggested by the priest himself. A small altar of bricks is set up in the main room of the house and a photo or idol of Lord Ganesha is placed in front of it. Ganesha is believed to be the remover of all obstacles. The altar is decorated with patterns using turmeric powder and kumkum pastes.
The pooja usually begins with a Ganapati homam in the Brahma Muhurta between 4:30AM and 6:00AM. The priest chants various mantras during the homam. This takes about a couple of hours. Throughout the mantras chanting time, ghee, cereals and herbs are added to the fire altar. They keep the holy flame burning throughout the pooja. The homam is said to help in gaining the blessings of the deities. They also play a key role in overcoming obstacles and keeping evil influences at bay.
Once the homam is done, dakshina is given to the priest. After this, the milk boiling ceremony is done. This is the first activity done in the kitchen of the new house. Milk is boiled in a new vessel by the lady of the house and allowed to overflow a little before the flame is put off. The milk is then mixed with sugar and distributed to the priest and other people who came over for the pooja. Some people also arrange for a traditional South Indian vegetarian breakfast for the guests after the pooja.
In some communities, people garland a cow and offer prayers to it and make it enter the house first before allowing others inside. The cow is then taken to all the rooms of the house. After the pooja, a white pumpkin with some coins and kumkum is broken outside the house. This action is said to usher prosperity in the lives of those who are going to stay in the house.
You can give the guests a return gift when they go home. This is supposed to be a good and auspicious sign. The gift can be a sapling or a silver coin. Some people give a kit containing a coconut, a pair of betel leaves and a small packet of areca nut in a yellow bag.
The house should not be left empty on the night of the griha pravesh pooja. The owners of the house must spend the night in the house. According to Vastu experts, the house must not be kept vacant or locked for the next 40 days. One family member must be in the house all the time. If it is not possible to observe the 40 days duration, this practice must be followed for at least three consecutive days.
Written by - Deepthi K