Building a new house is a most auspicious event. In South India, these kinds of events are marked by poojas. Before the work starts, a Bhoomi Pooja is performed to obtain the Earth Goddess’ help in the project. Before the house can be occupied, a Ganesh Pooja is performed. Look at these posts, to see more about these poojas: Bhoomi Pooja, and Ganesh Pooja for new house. There is a third pooja, done during construction. This is the ‘Lintel Pooja’ done on an auspicious day, for the erection of the lintel for the main door into the house. The life of the house enters and exits through this lintel, and I guess the pooja is done so that good and positive energies bless those entering the house.
This pooja is done right at dawn. Attending will be the family of the person building the house, people supervising and doing the actual construction, and family friends. This pooja was done by Rajan, for the house he is building near Tiruvannamalai.
Before the pooja starts, flower garlands are placed onto the lintel, along with some kind of sacred leaves.
A plate has pooja gifts for the women laid out. These are flowers for their hair, bananas, and other goodies.
At the start the pooja, pooja items are laid out, and incense is lit. Here camphor, placed on a coconut, is being lit.
Then cloth – dhotis and fabric for saree blouses – is placed onto the lintel. Rajan’s wife, Janakee, is doing this.
Now the lintel is ready for the next step.
The coconut has been broken, and the camphor placed onto a plate.
The camphor flame blesses the lintel.
Then a few women offer arati. First to the lintel …
Then to Arunachala.
The men then start to lift the lintel into the doorway.
Poles are brought to hold the lintel into position.
Women watch the festivities.
Rajan’s son, Raam Kumar, rings a bell during this whole process.
The next step is very important. Rajan’s wife and two other women enter the house carrying jugs of water. Water is life. They are bringing life into the new house.
The other women watch.
Then Rajan gives a plate of gifts to one of the family women.
She gives out the gifts to the other women. Besides the flowers and bananas, each woman gets a piece of fabric for a new choli, a saree blouse.
Rajan’s daughter, Jananee, looks on. She is ten years old. She has just recently started wearing ‘punjabi suits,’ which are pants, covered by a tunic, with a long scarf, called a dupatta. For the rest of her life she will be fiddling with the scarf. Here she just has it tied over her shoulder.
A few men also get gifts, a dhoti and banana. These men are the head mason, carpenter, and construction foreman.
A melon is set out. This melon will later be used for the Ganesh pooja, where it will be smashed on the ground and broken. Now it will be hung from the house being built by a rope until the house is finished.
More goodies are being passed out to the women. There were not enough prepared for all the women, so they had to make up more, and get more fabric. Every women must get one of these gifts.
After this, Janakee brings a lamp into the new house (through the lintel), bringing light into the new house.
Here are the proud family building the house, Rajan and Janakee. She is wearing her best saree, a ‘wedding saree’ of silk, with zari, gold wire threading.
Under the lintel, for good luck and prosperity, is a small piece of gold, one of Janakee’s earrings.
Here is the front of the house. The roof over the entryway is under construction. It is being held up by the posts. The lintel can be made out looking through the sticks.
An Indian man told me, while I was there at this ceremony, that everything was being done correctly for this house. He was NOT referring to any of the construction, but rather to the poojas that have been performed.