October 8, 2011

Maa Vilakku for Purattasi Saturday | Iyengar Festival Recipe

Today's post is not so much a recipe, as its a recollection of Maa Vilakku Pooja for Purattasi Saturdays. In Srivaishnava community, during the month of Purattasi (Mid August/Mid September) on a Saturday, a lamp made of rice flour with added jaggery, Cashew, Ghee is lit. Normally, this is done on any one of the odd-numbered Saturdays(1st / 3rd / 5th) of Purattasi Tamil month.Many of the Tamilians [irrespective of the Sect & sub-sects] offer Maavilakku to the GOD of their choice; Amman, Perumal, Murugan ; in temples or at their homes. In Shaivites custom, they offer this on the 1st Aadi and 1st Thai Vellikizhamai [Kataka/Karkatam and Makara months' first Friday]. I remember my paati (grandmom) making this on a saturday, and its gooey concoction of aroma filled dish used to arouse our palates to no end. Of course, I cant imagine to use the same amount of ghee that she used to use (or even the same amount of fresh coconut). So mom n me devised this simple to make, yet ethnic Maa Vilakku dish to light the lamp. Also, the smell of the burnt wick (after the lamp dies out in the flour mix) may not be appetising to all. So we made a small roundel which had the lamp, and offered along with the bigger one (which is considered as a symbol of Malaiyappan (Lord of the hills - Srinivasa Perumal or Balaji).

Like I said earlier, this is not really a recipe, but a note for posterity to preserve some of the family tradition. So, let's get on how to make this.

You will need:

  • Rice flour - 1 cup
  • Jaggery - 1 cup
  • Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
  • Grated nutmeg - a pinch
  • Elaichi / cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Pachai Karpooram / edible camphor - teeny weeny pinch
  • Ghee - 3 TBSP


1) Grate Jaggery finely or pound into very small pieces.
2) Mix rice flour, jaggery and coconut well for about 8 - 10 minutes till they finely incorporate into each other. You may need to extend this for 5 more minutes depending on how coarse the rice flour is. Do remember to sieve the rice flour before use.
3) One the jaggery melts with all the kneading, add the ghee, cardamom powder, nutmeg, edible camphor and mix lightly till you get to make a roundel without adding any water. Make a big roundel for distributing as prashad (naivedyam) and a smaller one to light the lamp in 
4) Make a dent with your thumb on the smaller roundel and place a ghee soaked wick in the  dent. Add a tsp of ghee and light the lamp and complete the pooja. Once the lamp dies down, distribute the roundels as bits of prasadam.


  1. Yumm and really delicious Maavilaku Recipe,so deliciously done click.

  2. wonderful post...
    maavilaku looks perfect dear :)

  3. I'll wait everytime my mom prepare this maavilaku during purattasi month,just to make sweet adai once we finish our pooja,makes me nostalgic..

  4. Wonderful post Kalyani.. always loved the authentic traditional customes practised in our place.. The clicks are really beautiful..:)

  5. Wonderful post Kalyani. Just now finished pooja. It is a custom in my home to make this on 3rd saturday of purattassi month.

  6. This is new to me. Love it. Is this purattasi month after duserra or before in the navratri?

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  7. Grandma puts maavilakku fo puratasi saturday... Me only thaligai :)
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  8. just now i had this maa vilaku ,a gulp of it made me truly divine..

  9. Maa Vilakku is truly delicious and this is going help people who are away from home. We do this on 4th week saturday.. Thanks for it.


  10. Great post !! perfectly done !!

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  11. @ Archana - this is mostly around Navratri - the dates are based on the hindu calendar.

  12. I love mavilakku mavu but we do it only during Aadi & Thai. Yours look so divine and beautiful.

  13. wow, the pictures are so great !!!

  14. WOW...!! Wonderful post and Super pictures...!!
    South Indian food in Chennai


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