Given below is the list of important Festivals for Mandayam Iyengars.
They are listed in the order of the Chandramana/Souramana Calendar.
Calendar of festivals in VIRODHI Samvatsaram
2009 - 2010
||Lunar New Year Day (Ugadi) Virodhi
||27 March 2009
||4 April 2009
||Solar New Year Day (Chitravisu)
||14 April 2009
||Sri Ramanujacharya Thirunakshatram
||29 April 2009
||17, 24, 31 July,
7,14 August 2009
||25 July 2009
||Upakarma – Rig Vedic
||5 August 2009
||Upakarma – Yajur Vedic
||5 August 2009
||6 August 2009
||Upakarma - Sama Vedic and Vinayaka
||23 August 2009
||Sri Krishna Jayanthi
||12 September 2009
||18 September 2009
|| Navarathri begins
||19 September 2009
||Maha Navami- Saraswathi, Ayudha,
||27 September 2009
||28 September 2009
||Naraka Chaturdashi / Deepavali
||17 October 2009
|| Tula Sankramanam
||18 October 2009
||Bali Padyami, Deepavali
||19 October 2009
||Uthana Dwadashi (Tulasi Pooja)
||30 October 2009
||Vishnu Deepam - Yanai Pandigai
||2 December 2009
||Dhanurmasa Begins (Margazhi)
||16 December 2009
||28 December 2009
||Makara Sankranthi - Pongal
||15 January 2010
||Adai / Charadu Pandihai
||14 March 2010
||Lunar New Year Day (Ugadi) - Vikruti
||16 March 2010
16 March 2010- Lunar New Year Day (Ugadi) Vikruti Samvatsaram.
Thanks for the hardwork by M.T.
Raghunath who has created the full Hindu
Panchangam on Google Calendar for all to use. Thanks to M.A.
Singlachar and M. Rangarajan for collating the information. Click
Here to enter.
Given below are details of some of the important Festivals of Mandayam
Iyengars. They are listed in the order of the Gregorian Calendar,
commencing from January each year.
tried to fix time according to celestial movements of the Sun and the
Moon. In India, one group follows the Lunar movements and another the
Solar Movements, for calculating months and years. Taking Earth as
reference, the movement of the Sun from the Tropic of Capricorn to the
Tropic of Cancer, due to tilting of earth is a well known phenomenon.
The Sun changes his movement from going towards South to North, around
14 of January, each year. This day is identified as Makara Sankranthi
(Start of month of Cancer), and is celebrated as a major Hindu
Festival. It is known by various names in different regions in India,
such as, "Uttarayana Punyakala", "Sankranthi", "Makara Sankraman" and
"Pongal". This also coincides with the Harvesting Season in India.
Mandyam Iyengars celebrate the Sankranthi by showering children with a
mix of pulses (roasted mix of Sesame Seeds, Peanuts, Bengal Gram, dried
Coconut, Cashew nuts and small cut pieces of Jaggery), fruits and
vegetables (Elachi Fruit, Sugarcane pieces and Avarakai) and Gold,
Silver or Copper coins. This is to signify health and prosperity for
Traditionally families prepare and distribute artistic sugar moulds
(Sakkarai Acchu), silver cups, fruits, sesame mix, Sugarcane and coins
in decorative packages on the first Sankranthi for every new born
child. In addition, the revered cow is colorfully decorated and treated
with a feast of food, fruits and vegetables.
Mandyam Iyengars prepare a feast with Pongal, Sweet Pongal, and a mix
made primarily of roasted sesame seeds in celebration.
Distributing sesame seeds is an astrologically and
traditionally accepted form of ensuring purity in life. To make sesame
seeds acceptable and enjoyable it is mixed with the freshly harvested
and roasted pulses and "jaggery" which creates a high protein,
nutritious and iron rich mixture.
Elchi fruit (Badari fruit) stands for Wisdom. It is
commonly believed that the famous and intelligent, St. Vyasa, who was
responsible for the sorting of the Four Great Vedas, was born amidst
the trees bearing this fruit.
beginning of the month of Meena (Pisces) or Panguni, is celebrated as
Adai festival, by Mandyam Iyengars.
Women tie new Charadu, a turmeric smeared, hand spun, tri-stranded
cotton thread, after performing obsequies to the God.
Mandyams prepare a feast with Adai (Pancake sandwich), which consists
of two Dosas, with a sweet filling (Pooranam) made of cooked Chick peas
Chitra Visu: The solar
New Year’s Day, which is the first day of the month of Mesha
(Aries) or Chittirai, is celebrated as Chitravisu, Baisaki or Bisu in
the regions of India. This heralds the arrival of spring.
Mandyam Iyengars celebrate it with new clothes and feasting. Early in
the morning subsequent to a purifying bath, a mixture of raw mango and
jaggery is savored. This is to signify that the life is full of sweet
and sour events, which are to be faced in a balanced manner in the
Ugadi: In view of their living in Karnataka, Mandyam Iyengars also
celebrate the Lunar New year day, Ugadi ( also called Gudi Pudva), with
the same vigor. On this day they eat Neem leaves with Jaggery. This
signifies Bitter and sweet of life.
Significance of Neem: Freshly sprung Neem leaves have proven
antibacterial properties and hence consuming them is believed to
protect against possible infections. It is consumed with Jaggery
reciting the sloka -
" Shataayur Vajra Dehaya, Sarva
Sarva Arishta Vinaashaya, Nimbhakam Dala Bhakshanam".
Meaning I eat these Neem leaves, to live a hundred years with strong
body, to obtain all prosperity and to erase all evils.
Sri Ramanavami: On the Navami
day, the ninth day after Ugadi, Sri Ramanavami is celebrated according
to followers of Lunar calendar. Mandyam Iyengars celebrate it according
Solar Calendar, on Punarvasu Nakshatram in Chittirai month. The usual
practice, on this day is to make Panakam comprising of fruits(Fruit
Juice), salted butter milk, and Kosambari with Cucumber, chickpeas and
greengram (Salad). The reason may be that the festival comes in the
summer season in India and it will good to consume this type of dishes.
The month of Adi, usually
starts around the 15th of July. This month heralds the beginning of a
series of festivals for Iyengars. The saying goes "Adi Alaithu
Vanthathu", meaning Adi heralds festivals.
Adi Fridays: On all the Fridays in this month, women light lamps made
of Raw rice flour with wick dipped in Ghee, to Goddess Lakshmi. They
also prepare Laddus (balls with raw rice flour, sugar powder, grated
coconut, cardamom, saffron and Ghee fried cashew nuts and raisins) They
then distribute it to other women with five different types of fruits
like banana, apple, Guava, orange, pears with betel leaf and nut.
Thiruvadippooram: Sri Andal,
daughter of Peri Alvar, had devoted herself to Lord Ranganatha and is
considered to be Goddess Mahalakshmi. She was born in Pubba (Pooram)
nakshatram in Adi month and hence on that day we celebrate
Thiruvadippooram. On that day women recite Sri Andal’s
composition "Naychiyar Thirumoli". On this occasion Maapanyaram or
Puttu ( a sweet dish made of rice floor fried and steamed.)
Upakarama: On the full moon day
of Shravana month, the men folk celebrate Upakarma. This is also called
"Avani Avittam" in Tamilnadu. The occasion is to change the thread
(Yagnopavitham, Poonalu), followed by Tharpanam. This is followed by
Yajur and Rig Vedis. The Samavedis do it during Ganesha Chaturthi day.
Next day is "Gayathri Day". Men chant 108 or 1008 times Gayathri Mantra
on this day.
Sri Krishna Jayanthi: The birth
day of Sri Krishna, in Avani month, on Rohini Nakshatram, is celebrated
in a grand manner by Mandyam Iyengars, for three days. Usually the
deity is arranged in an artistic manner with fruits bedecked top
(called Phala Vastram), flowers and greenery. The variety of dishes
made for the occasion is enormous. Usually it will number between
twenty to twenty-five. People from other communities will be waiting
for this festival by Iyengars, to partake dishes like Chokkali,
Muchadi, Thengolalu, Ompudi, Kharasevai, avalakki, Kodubalai, different
varieties of Sweet Laddus of Aral, Aval, fried cxhickpeas, roasted
groundnut, Pullagai, roasted cashewnutetc, cubes like Mysorepak, Copra,
peanut bar, cashew bar etc., others like Amavadai, Appam, etc.
Iyengars will fast from morning to night, on that day till the birth of
Krishna, in their house. This is heralded by chanting of mantras and
prayer. Immediately after Krishna’s birth the family gets to eat
things which Krishna liked most like butter with sugar, Aval with
jaggery, Aval with curd, Dry Ginger with Jaggery, cut banana with
Next day is the Cradling day. Relatives are invited to witness the
Cradling of Krishna in a silver cradle, which is performed as they do
for any new born baby. This also gives occasion for others to see the
exhibited talent of the household.
Mahalaya Paksha (Fortnight):
The fifteen days after the Full moon day in Bhadrapada month of the
Lunar year, (Krishna Paksha), is known as Mahalaya Paksha. It usually
falls in September-October each year. A Ceremony (Shradha) is performed
during these days, either on the Thithi day (day corresponding to the
death) of the Parents or on the Mahalaya Amavasya day (New Moon Day),.
This practice is prevalent among all Hindus, all over India,
irrespective of their sub-castes. It is generally believed, that
performing Shradha during this period, can even substitute the annual
Shradha performance, on the exact death day. During this fortnight no
auspicious function should be performed.
Mandyam Iyengars perform this on the particular Thithi day of the death
of their parent, with usual Tharpanam. A Brahmin Bachelor boy (
Brahmachari) is invited to partake the food and is honored with
Sambhavanai. The Paksha ends on the day of Mahalaya Amavasya (New moon
day at the end of this fortnight)
Navaratri (Dasara): Navaratri
is known by different names such as Dasara, Durga Pooja, and is
celebrated in most parts of India in a very grand manner. This starts
on Ashwayuja Shudha Padyami and ends on the tenth day known as
Vijayadasami. The Vijayadasami day Dasara Procession and connected
activities in Mysore has been World famous during the rule of Royal
Family. Even now the tradition is continued as Nada Habba (Festival of
Mandyam Iyengars celebrate it by arranging dolls, idols of deities,
made terracotta, porcelain, wood, bronze, ivory, Sandalwood, soapstone,
marble in a grand manner in nine steps. Because of this it is also
known as Kolu Pandigai ( Festival of dolls). It is an opportunity for
ladies to exhibit their artistic talent by arranging these in exclusive
designs. It is normal practice to invite young girls to each others
house to witness the Arathi and also partake different variety of sweet
all the nine days. It is a sight to see the young girls in colorful
dresses. All small children are given an oil bath in the morning, for
It is normal practice to read a portion of the Ramayana Epic on each of
these days , culminating with Sri Rama Pattabhishekam ( throning of Sri
Rama) on the Vijayadashami day.
Saraswathi Pooja and Ayudha Pooja is
performed on the ninth day (Mahanavami). Every sort of automobiles,
instrument, implement, tool is cleaned and decorated for the Pooja.
Even factories and office perform the Ayudha Pooja with full vigor and
devotion. It is the one day, on which we say thanks, to the implements
we use everyday for our livelihood or comfort. Saraswathy is
represented in the Pooja by keeping all the musical instruments, books
and educational gadgets, apart from the photo and idols.
Vijayadashami: The last day of
Dasara, known as Vijayadashami, is a very special day and is performed
with different meanings. It is considered to be the day of Rama’s
victory over Ravana and is considered to be the day to perform Sri Rama
Pattabhisheka. It is the day on which Arjuna goes to Shami tree to
collect his armory to go for the famous Mahabharat War, which Pandavas
win eventually. Hence the name Vijayadashami. The King in Mysore used
to perform Pooja to Shami Tree and go in a procession in a Golden
Howdah on an elephant, with his army, cavalry in the front and
ministers following him. Presently, Goddess Chamundi is taken in the
Howdah in the absence of the King.
The doll arrangement in the houses is removed the next day.
Importance of Gayathrimantra: An article by Malathi Singlachar.
"Gayathrimantra", which has reached us through the ages, from the Great
Sages, is a boon to Hindu Culture. Shastras state that daily recitation
of the mantra, eradicates our sins.
Following is the mantra:
Aum (om) Bhoorbhuvaswaha Thatsat
Bhargodevasya Dheemahi Dheeyoyonaha Prachodayaat
Meaning: "Aum Bhoorbhuvaswaha": It is addressed to God Vishnu, an
eternally happy Man of great character, creator of the Universe,
husband of Lakshmi.
"Tatsat------Prachodayaat" : These 24 letters in Sanskrit, are the most
important utterances of the mantra. I pray to Him, the Creator of the
universe, who orchestrates our life, who controls our every activity,
who is liked by everyone, who has a aura of knowledge, who has a Poorna
Roopa, who gives Eternal Peace(Moksha).
The twenty four letters also represents twenty four important parts of
the human body. They are toes, feet, ankle, knee, urinary tract, sex
hormones, hip, naval, stomach, breast, lungs, heart, veins, neck, face,
jaws, nose, eyes, arms, forehead, ear, scalp, nerves, brain,
Gayathri is a goddess, with five heads, ten arms. The heads represent
the Five main needs of life (Pancha Bhoota), such as Earth, Water,
Fire, Air and Cosmos (Bhoomi, Jala, Agni, Vaayu, Akasha). The ten arms
are meant to control the Cosmic rays emanating in the universe, from
all the ten directions, to protect the health of the living beings.
There is also an effect of the nine planets on us. The twenty four
letters in the mantra represent the five heads, ten arms and nine
One is supposed to be living in comfort, only when he is physically and
mentally healthy. Three essential things for life are the "Thri Dhatu",
Vayu, Agni and Jala (Air, Energy, Water), and is represented by the
three letters Ga Ya Thri. Hence praying her regularly gives us a
strong, healthy body.
It is usual practice to do Panayaama (breath control), before uttering
Gayathrimantra. Repeated recitation of the Mantra, with proper timing,
is a form of meditation which ensures peace of mind, exercises the
nerves and encourages blood circulation.
Bibliography: Gayathri Mantrada Mahatva by H.K.S.Rao.
Thula or Alpishi Sankramanam:
The birth of Kaveri river coincides with the commencement of the month
of Alpisi or Thula Sankramanam. The river has its birth place in
Bagamandala, in Coorg District, Karnataka, India, and this place known
as Thalakaveri. It is believed that a dip in the river, on this
auspicious day absolves you of all sins. Mandyam Iyengars celebrate it
with devotion and reverence to Kaveri. After a dip, a Pooja is
performed to the river and ladies exchange "Phala,Thamboola". Usually
five varieties of fruits, coconut, flowers, betel leaf and nut are
given with cash(Dakshine). It is also customary for parents or
brothers, to give cash for the festival, for their daughters or
sisters, to meet the expenses for the Pooja. Those who are unable to go
to the river, can do Pooja at home, with a Silver Pot filled with water.
Deepavali: Festival of Lights:
Based on a talk by Rama Srinivasan:
Deepavali is celebrated for three days, as Naraka Chaturdasi, Lakshmi
Pooja and Bali Padyami. It is said that Ugadi is feast for food and
Deepavali is feast for bath.(Undu Ugadi, Mindu Deepavali). Naraka
Chaturdasi is the day on which Krishna killed the demon Narakasura and
gave him Moksha. At the time of death he desired that the people should
celebrate it as a festival, in view of his past misdeeds. It has now
remained as practice to have an oil bath before sunrise on the Naraka
Chaturdasi day, amidst fire works. The previous day (Thrayodasi) is
known as Neeru Thumbuva Habba, when all the water carrying and boiling
vessels are cleaned well in the evening, decorated with mango leaves,
flowers, Shanka, Chakra, and Namam. Presently water geysers or boilers
are given the pride of place. The entire Pooja is in the name of God
Krishna, who saved the world from Narakasura. It is usual practice to
make Kolakatte or Kadubu for Pooja. After the early morning bath,
everyone wears new dresses. The whole day is celebrated with grandeur,
fireworks and meeting relatives. In the night Oil lamps are lit inside
and outside the houses, to denote arrival of brightness after death of
Narakasura. It will be a sight and Heaven on Earth, when lamps are
glowing on both sides of the street.
On the next day which is New moon day(Amavasya), business community
performs Lakshmi Pooja in the establishments, and open new account
books for the New Year. They distribute Sweet packets to associates,
friends and relatives and celebrate with fireworks.
Mahabali, who was pressed down to Pathala Loka, in Vamana Avatara,
comes to visit his citizens on this earth, once every year, on
Balipadyami day, which is the third day of Deepavali. Citizens have
made it a practice to Welcome Bali in grandeur with sweets, lamps, new
dresses, and fire works, as Bali gave away everything to god as gift.
It is also customary to recite Vishnu Sahasranamam in the evening after
lighting lamps all over. Mandyam Iyengars of Bharadwaja Gothram
celebrates only Balipadyami.
You would have observed that men and women are blessed before oil bath,
by application of a few drops of oil, by elder women in the family. The
person is made to sit on a platform, which is decorated with Rangoli
designs, lamps on both sides. The person is applied Kumkum on the
forehead, handed betel leaf, nut, and arathi is done. The elderly lady
will take the oil cup and dip a flower bud in it and apply drops of it
on the inside of the left arm, chanting names of men or women of great
Enney Shatsram:(Pooja for Oil Bath):
For men the names of Seven achievers to be recited are as follows :
" Ashwthamo, Balir Vyaso,
Krupaha Parashuramashcha,Saptaite Chirangivinaha"
For women the five names are as follows:
"Ahalya, Draupati, Seetha, Tara,
Panchakanyaha Smarennithyam Mahapataka Nashanam"
Reciting as above, the oil from drops set on the arm, is taken in the
fingers by the lady and applied to the head, cheeks, shoulders, waist,
knees and feet, repeated three times. It is Ashirvadam for the
youngster to live long and prosperously.
By Malathi Singlachar
Uthana Dwadasi (Thulasi festival):
This festival falls on Karthika Shudha Dwadasi, in the month of Alpisi.
The Thulasi plant is considered to be a very sacred plant and the
leaves of Thulasi is used as garlands in Vishnu temples. It is believed
that God can be propitiated by offering a single Thulasi leaf, which is
available even to the poorest among the poor. There is a well known
Mythological story "Sri Krishna Thulabharam", of how a single leaf of
Thulasi tilted the balance, when the entire wealth of Sathyabhama,
could not out weigh Sri Krishna. Thulasi leaves have many medicinal
properties and is also used as a herb in cooking, in many parts of the
The Pooja to Thulasi plant in the Brindavan, is usually performed in
the evening on that day, in presence of invited ladies. A twig of the
Gooseberry tree (Nellikkai or Amla) with a few fruits, which represents
Sri Krishna, is set by the side of the Thulasi plant, in the well
decorated Brindavan. This is considered to be the wedding of Krishna
and Thulasi. Lamps made out of five gooseberries are lit in front of
the Brindavan and oil lamps are lit all over the house, and Arathi is
performed to Thulasi. The Pooja ends with distribution of betel leaf,
nut and fruits to the invitees.
Yanai Pandigai (Vishnu Deepam):
This festival is on the Poornima day (Full moon day) of Karthihai
month. The practice is to hand make a couple of small elephants out of
wet clay, decorate it suitably, including Namam, and arrange it for
Pooja. It gives an opportunity to exhibit all the other collection of
elephants made of silver, bronze, wood, marble, etc. Food for the
elephant will consist of Dosa, appam, green grass, banana, raw rice,
piece each of coconut, jaggery, sugar cane, and a coin. Lamps in
different shapes are lit around the elephants and all over the house.
Women (in traditional Madishar sari) and girls in the family, go around
this, three times, spilling drops of coconut water and milk and ending
with Arathi. The arrangement will be kept for three days and ladies are
invited to attend Pooja on these days. Ladies will fast in the evening.
Mandyam Iyengars consider this festival as very important and it is
performed in a grand manner. Saying goes that "Karthihaiyo Kalyanamo".
In the first year after wedding, this festival is performed with more
zest with Arathi to the new bride, in the in-laws’ house.
On the last day the Elephants are immersed, in a river or tank, with
plain curd rice plastered to its tummy. It is customary to prepare four
varieties of rice preparations like Kadambam, Ogare, Sakkare Pongal or
Ksheerannam, Dadhiyodhanam(Curd rice) on this day. With these, people
go to the water front in groups and enjoy it as a picnic, after the
immersion. After the immersion and extinguishing of the lamps, the days
following are considered inauspicious, till arrival of Thai
The festival is also known as "Karthikai Deepam", in some parts. The
following are the Slokas recited at the time of Deepa Pooja, for future
1. Deepaha Paapaharo Nrinaam, Deepa
Deepo Vidatthe Sukrutam, Deepaha Sampath Pradaayakaha,
Devanaam Thushtino Deepaha, Pitruunam Preethi Daayakaha,
Thasmaath Deepo Gruhe Poojitaha, Gruhasthai Shubhameepsubhihi.
2. Deepaan Aaropayed Vishnoho Mandiredhyanthare Bahihi,
Sarvapaapa Vishuddhatma Vishnuloko Mahiyathe.
3. Deepam Jyothi Parabramha, Deepam Sarva Thamopaham,
Deepena Saadhyathe Sarvam, Sandhya Deepam Namosthuthe.
Significance: It is believed that Gandhari, mother of Kauravas,
performed Pooja to the royal and solid gold elephants, to exhibit her
power and riches, ignoring to involve Kunti, mother of Pandavas, for
the ceremony. Arjuna observing his depressed mother, brought Iravatha
(Devendra’s royal white elephant) to earth, through a ladder made
with his arrows. Kunti performed Pooja happily. As a mark of this we
perform Pooja to a clay elephant.
Margazhi Thingal (Dhanus month):
Based on a recording by Sri Sriram Bharathi.
In Bhagavadgeetha, Sri Krishna says, "I am Kalpavriksha in trees, I am
Samaveda in Vedas, Margazhi in months". (Masanam Margashirsho-aham) We
complete a day in 24 hours, when earth revolves around its own axis,
whereas, it is one day for the Devas, when Earth goes around the Sun in
twelve months. In the 24 hours of the day early morning 4to6hours, is
called Bramha Muhurtham. At this time when the Sun is rising in the
horizon, there is no angular movement and there is stillness. At this
hour our mind will be in Satvagunam(Calmness) and it is in Rajoguna in
the day and Tamoguna in the night. The brain will be sharp and there
will be full clarity of perception. Similarly, for the Sun, who
transits from Dakshinayana when he is in Rajoguna, to Utarayana in
Tamoguna, the month of Margazhi, is the transit month and there is
stillness. This is the Bramha Muhurta for the Devas. Therefore early
morning hours of 4to6AM, in Margazhi, is Bramha Muhurtam in Bramha
Muhurtam. This time is therefore preferred to wake Him up and pray. For
this purpose Sri Andal has composed Thiruppavai, at the rate of one
sloka for everyday of the month.
Srivaishnavaites consider Margazhi as a very sacred month and go to
Vishnu temple everyday, in Brahma Muhurtham, for reciting Thiruppavai
(Devotional songs by Sri Andal) and offer prayers.
It is customatry to make Pongal, every day of the month. On the
eighteenth slokam day of Thiruppavai, starting with words "Undu
Madagalitran", we make Blackgram Dhall Rice (Ulundu Ohare). On the
twenty-seventh slokam day "Koodaarai Vellum", we make Sakkarai Pongal.
Next day when "Karavaigal" slokam is recited, Curd Rice
(Dhadhiyodhanam) is made.
Following Slokam by Periyalwar, is usually recited at the time of
Mangalarathi to God.
Pallaandu Pallaandu Pallaayirathaandu
Mallaanda Thinthol Manivanna
Un Shevvadi Shevvi Thirukkaappu.
Adiyo Modum Ninnodum Pirivinni Aayiram Pallaandu
Vadivaay Nin Valamaarbinil Vaazhinna Mangaiyum Pallaandu
Vadivaarshodi Valathuraiyum Shudaraazhiyum Pallaandu
Padaipore Pukkumuzhalangum Appaanchajanniyamum Pallaande.