GRIHA PRAVESH- Agnilingam 'Housewarming' Ceremony- Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu 2011
(ENTERING THE HOUSE)
In the United States, neighbors often bring a fruit basket or some home-baked cookies to someone newly entering a house. In India, like everything else, this 'house entering' is a religious ceremony, ancient, full of meaning and laden with tradition.
The following is an album of pictures I took of my own GRIHA PRAVESH or traditional Vedic Housewarming Ceremony. It occurred in 2011, when I began to live in my newly rented house in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, near the Ramana Maharshi ashram.
The ceremony began at 3am in the morning with two cows and a Brahmin Priest arriving outside my door. The quiet of the early morning was broken with the ringing of bells and the chanting of mantras as we began the worship of the cow in whom all the Gods are said to live.
The Griha Pravesh ritual is traditionally performed when first entering into a new house. This ceremony, was particularly designated for moving into an 'already existing' house, a house about to be lived in.
Along with this Yagya or sacrificial event, a Ganapati or Ganesh Puja is also performed. It too, was chosen as auspicious for that particular moment in time (muhurta). This is a science of time that was one of the main concerns of Jyotish or Vedic Astrology- when to do a particular sacrifice or yagya. Ganesh is the elephant God, known as the remover of all all obstacles and he is usually found at the entrance to most buildings in Tamil Nadu and all across India. His puja or worship which is always performed first, was meant to bring prosperity and good fortune into the house and to all that lived there. What you will see in the following sequence of pictures, is the ceremony of the Griha Pravesha and Ganesh Puja.
In the photo album below, you can get a great deal of information along with the pictures if you click on the 'I'- 'show info' button at the top once you begin:
The HOMA or HAVAN KUND: This is the fire pit constructed for the occasion. It is the center of the YAGYA or Sacrifical ritual for the Griha Pravesha. This Homa or sacrificial fire pit was built using bricks and sand, right in the middle of my living room. It is into this fire that all sacrifices are ritually offered. You see on the right a cup of ghee and a ladle for feeding the ghee into the fire. Agni or fire is the mouth of the Gods and ghee is the main food that feeds them.