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Friday, September 11, 2015

How to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi at home:

Vinayaka chaturthi or Ganesh Chaturthi this year 2015 falls on 5 th September, Monday.
Vinayaka chaturthi or Ganesh Chaturthi this year 2015 falls on 17th September, Thursday.
 After Gokulashtami celebration, it’s now time for Ganesh Chaturthi festival. I wanted to post How to celebrate Vinayagar chaturthi at home too. This is just the tradition followed at my home. So take this as a guidance and consult with the elders at your home to include your tradition. Both at my parent’s home and at my in-laws home, they celebrate the same way. At my parents home, my dad does the abishekam to vinayagar idol, while at my in-laws place, my Mom in law does it these days. I still remember my childhood days that we used to enjoy during the festival. My dad and brother at times used to make our own Ganesh Idol at home with the clay from our own backyard. More than food, those days, I used to enjoy the process and the festive mood that used to be there at home. These days, food has become the main part and is my big task to make kozhukattai and vada payasam sapadu. I leave pooja part to Vj. So I just want to write how we celebrate vinayagar sathurthi. If you are newly married and looking for the procedure, you can use this as guidance and again please make sure to consult your elders and change it accordingly.
Click here for the full collection of Ganesh Chaturthi recipes

Things to prepare for, the before day itself.
Soak channa (kondakadalai) the before night itself for sundal. (Check below for recipe link)
Also you can prepare sweet pooranam  and ellu pooranam before day. (Check below for recipe link)
Decide the menu the before day itself and plan what you are going to do. This will make a lot of difference and make your work easier.
For lunch, you can either make full meals with vadai payasam, or also do mixed rice varieties along with vadai and sakkarai pongal. Refer this post for making variety rice lunch.

Soaking part

On Vinayagar sathurthi day, after head bath, soak rice for maakolam. If you are using homemade rice flour, soak rice for that too. You can also use store bought rice flour or idiyappam flour (the flour should be very fine for soft and moist mothagam/ kozhukattai layer).
Soak Urad dal to make ulundu pooranam for ulundhu poorana kozhukattai and for vadai. 

Grind and draw maakolam.

Pressure cook

  1. Chana (konada kadalai for sundal)
  2. Toor dal (thuvaram paruppu for sambar and rasam)
  3. Moong dal (payatham paruppu for paruppu and kootu)
  4. Rice and dal for payasam (Arisi paruppu payasam)  - You can make any payasam, but we make only this payasam.

You can prepare the dough for kozhukattai and keep it covered until making kozhukattai. Refer here to see how to make homemade rice flour.

Finish the chopping works side by side. Things to prepare for full meals (no onion no garlic)
  1. Sweet pachadi – Can be made with mango or ladies finger or banana stem or yellow pumkin
  2. Thayir pachadi – Can be made with Gooseberry or small vadai or ladies finger or even coconut green chilli
  3. Kootu – Avarakkai (broad beans) or parangikkai (Yellow pumpkin) or kothavarangai (cluster beans)
  4. Poriyal – Vazhai kai (Raw banana) or avarakkai (broad beans)
  5. Sundal
  6. Sambar – vendaikai (Ladies finger) or avarakkai (broad beans) or kothavarangai (cluster beans) or parangikkai (Yellow pumpkin)
  7. Rasam
  8. Payasam
  9. Vadai
  10. Cook Raw rice (pacharisi)

You can temper for paruppu, pachadis, sambar, rasam, sundal, poriyal in order. Make payasam side by side.
After finishing cooking work, make ulundhu pooranam and make 21 kozhukattais for offering God (including vellam pooranam, ulundu pooranam, ellu pooranam kozhukattai). Make vadai lastly.

How to do Abishekam for Vinayagar

After finishing cooking, you can ask elder in house or guy in your family to do abishekam to a clay pillayar you bought from shop or a pithalai idol if you have at home.
You need to keep the pillaiyar in peedam (a brass or wooden base) over a broad, pithalai (brass) plate preferably. You need to put a poonool and start doing abishekam.
This is how we do abishekam : Sesame oil, dhasangam, turmeric, flour, milk, lemon juice, orange juice, tender coconut water (ilaneer), curd, panchamrudham, honey, again milk, sandhanam (sandal paste), panneer, lastly viboodhi. Every time in between you need to add little water. Finish with water and use black beads to open eyes for the idol.
Put another poonool and a clean cloth for the idol. Decorate with erukkam poo malai, arugam pul malai and flower(sevvandhi or jasmine) garland.
Show agar bathies, break coconut and karpooram to God. Keep a silver coin in his belly button.
Transfer to the pooja place over another manai with kolam. Keep kudai (small umbrella) and proceed offerings.
Take note, all these abishekams should be done to moonjur also, that is, after doing each abishekam to Vinayagar, follow it for moonjur also.

How to offer/ serve food in thalai vazhai ilai

The broad side of the banana leaf (Thalai vazhai ilai) should be facing to the right hand side to God as shown in the below picture.

Upper side of the leaf (with respect to God), starting from broad side, start with sweet pachadi, thayir pachadi, kootu, poriyal, sundal, then vadai in middle, appalam, payasam lower side, then veggie in the sambar, rice, over rice – paruppu, ghee.

How to Arrange everything in front of God

Keep the Vinayagar idol/picture in the middle. Keep two lamps on both sides.
In a plate (silver or pithalai), keep vethalai paaku, fruits, coconut(1). In another plate or bowl, keep aval, kadalai, vellam in front of vinayagar(2).
Fruits may include his favourite naval pazham, vilampazham, guava, banana (full bunch), apple, saathukudi.
One thalai vazhai ilai with prepared food served in front of God(3).
Two small pieces of banana leaf (yaedu) in front of each lamp(5 & 6) and keep a couple of kozhukattais, vadai, payasam and sundal in these leaves.
Keep the kozhukattais in separate banana leaf (4).  See below picture for better understanding.

First Do the regular pooja routine you do at home, then to the Vinayagar.
Evening you can make appam and offer Vinayagar. Next day morning fruits, afternoon rice and paruppu, evening also fruits or pacharisi puttu.
Next day morning betel leaves and nuts along with fruits and dissolve the idol in nearby water source – Sea/ river/ pond/ well  or keep a big tub of water and slowly immerse the idol and pour the water to the flowering plants in your own backyard.

Shopping list/ Checklist

  1. Jaggery – For pooranams
  2. Cardamom – For pooranam and payasam
  3. Coconut – For pooja as well as cooking
  4. Raw rice – For rice and for rice flour and payasam
  5. Rice flour/ Idiyappam flour – For kozhukattai
  6. Sesame seeds – For ellu urundai and kozhukattai
  7. Urad dal – For vadai and ulundhu pooranam
  8. Chana – For sundal
  9. Moong dal – For dal (Paruppu) and payasam
  10. Toor dal – For sambar
  11. Black pepper – for vadai
  12. Asafoetida
  13. Poha
  14. Fried gram dal (Pottukadalai)
  15. Cashew nuts
  16. Oil
  17. Ghee
  18. Vegetables  - Any one for each of the following
    Mango, ladies finger or yellow pumpkin – For sweet pachadi
    Gooseberry, ladies finger  – For Thayir pachadi
    Raw banana, yellow pumpkin,Cluster beans, broad beans  – For poriyal
    Raw banana, yellow pumpkin,Cluster beans , broad beans – For kootu
    Cluster beans, broad beans, ladies finger,yellow pumpkin  – For sambar
    Green chilli, curry leaves

For pooja and Abishekam
  1. Betel leaves and nuts
  2. Fruits
    Banana – Whole bunch
    Naval Pazham (Jamun fruit)
  3. Flower- Jasmine, sevandhi poo
  4. Ganesh Idol
  5. Small decorative umbrella
  6. Vellai erukkam poo malai
  7. Arugam pul malai
  8. Milk
  9. Lemon
  10. Dhasangam
  11. Sesame oil
  12. Orange
  13. Tender coconut
  14. Curd
  15. Honey
  16. Sandal paste
  17. Panneer
  18. Viboodhi

Recipes which we make every year

channa-dal-pooranam  Ulundu-kozhukattai-recipe  Mothagam recipe (vella kozhukattai)  ellu-kozhukattai  Payasam recipes  சக்கரைப்  பொங்கல் recipe  wheat-flour-appam  medhu vadai recipe  channa-sundal-recipe  black channa sundal

Other recipes you can make during the festival

coconut poorana kozhukattai  Sweet pidi kozhukattai    Besan ladoo  Sweet somas  easy ulundu pidi kozhukattai  aval kozhukattai

Helping Videos

How to shape Mothagam VIDEO  how to shape kozhukattai VIDEO  how to shape vada video 
Disclaimer: This is a small effort made to keep myself everything a record as well as to help newly married. Each family/ community have their own tradition and way of doing things, I never claim this is the right way we should do. This is my understanding towards the festival we celebrate in our family.



  1. very very nice and useful post Raks

  2. More informative and helpful guide. So great

  3. More informative and helpful guide. So great

  4. raji ,, my modakam maavu is cracking while making modakam ( stage before steaming ) i am adding oil to the dough ,, where am i going wrong ?


    1. Try making modak as soon as you make the dough. Make sure the dough is cooked 90% as you make the dough. It could be rice's quality, too.

    2. nirapara idiyapam podi - rice powder,,,may be i need to check your post for water ratio.. thanks

    3. Raji can you mention how much water i should use for 1 cup rice powder ?

  5. raji ,, my modakam maavu is cracking while making modakam ( stage before steaming ) i am adding oil to the dough ,, where am i going wrong ?


  6. Hats off raji....very useful post...neatly explained...

  7. Hats off raji....very useful post...neatly explained...

  8. Well explained. Useful post Raks.

  9. Very neat ,detailed presentation.Surely this will be useful for younger generation,who miss elderly persons .This may become bench mark for followers.

  10. Very useful info at correct time Raji... keep rocking go ahead

  11. Very useful info at correct time Raji... keep rocking go ahead

  12. Very useful info at correct time Raji... keep rocking go ahead

  13. Good good Raks.This time i am going to follow you word by word.A suggestion instead of recipes we make every year .Replace food or delicacy for the word recipe.A recipe is a set of instructions to my knowledge.

  14. Hey.. your festival planning and wk end meal planning posts made my life so easier.. Thank you so much for your effort..
    Please do the same for Ayudha Poojai and Diwali...

  15. Thanks Raji. Useful information and planning this festival so easy bcoz of u. Am going to follow ur steps this time. Happy Vinayaka Chathurthi.

  16. Very very useful post. .thanks Raji. .

  17. The way you have presented the entire process is awesome. Hats off!!! Let me use this once I get married. As you mentioned, I will also make sure that the same has been discussed with my mom and MIL!! Once again, Simply SUPERB post!!

  18. Any girl who newly married and never accustomed to rituals or fresh to kitchen arena, this is the encyclopedia. Really great job 🙏

  19. Superb, useful information Raji.. Year by year I ll just forget the things that have to be purchased for Chaturthi, this is so informative and very much useful for me and all of us.. Thank you so much


  20. Useful post thanks sis


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