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How To Perform Aksharabhyasam At Home And Basar temple

Aksharabhyasam Meaning

The word 'Akshara' means letters (alphabets) in Sanskrit and 'abhyasam' means practice. Aksharabhyasam is a traditional religious function of Hindus. It is also known as 'Vidyaarambham' which literally means starting of education. In this function a child is given initiation for writing / education. With this function the child is ready to receive formal education in a school. The function is performed in different ways in different regions of India.

When to perform aksharabhyasam

In the olden days, aksharabhyasam was performed when the child was 5 years old. But presently because of early education at Kindergarten level, parents perform this ceremony when the child is in his 3rd year i.e. after the child completes 2 years. Normally there is a belief that aksharabhyasam should not be performed after the child completes 3 years and is in its 4th year.

Where to perform aksharabhyasam

The function can be performed either in a temple or at home. In the olden days it was performed in homes but as there is a change in the lifestyle, people started performing the function in famous temples or in nearby temples.

Procedure to perform aksharabhyasam at home

Engage a priest and fix an auspicious day / time. Invite close relatives for the function. Make preparations for the function in advance by getting the list of items required for the puja. On the day of the function, make the necessary arrangements and dress up in your traditional attire. Also dress up the child in a traditional way (of course depending on the comfort of the child). If the child becomes fussy, let the child wear which dress it wants to wear.

Update: In the present pandemic situation it is advisable to follow the govt's Covid-19 protocol and celebrate the function only with family members .

Do deeparadhana i.e.light up the lamp / deepam in the puja mandir and be seated in a comfortable way / place. When the priest starts chanting mantras, keep doing as per his instructions.

Normally the child sits in his father's or maternal uncle's lap for 'aksharabhyasam'. The child is made to hold a plate full of rice grains spread on it or a slate. The person in whose lap the child sits, holds its hand (normally right hand) and makes him / her write the first letters which are either 'AUM' or 'Om Namah Sivaya' in regional language after the pooja is performed by the priest.

At the end of the puja, offer yellow or off-white or white colored naivedyam like kheer / payasam or sooji halwa.

Also Read: Kheer / payasam recipe

List of items for the pooja

  • Turmeric powder - 1 small pack
  • Kumkum (vermilion)- 1 small pack
  • Sandalwood powder (Chandan) - 1 small pack
  • Agarbatti - 1 small packet
  • Camphor (karpooram) - 1 small pack
  • Flowers / garland, preferably yellow or white
  • Fruits - bananas or any other fruits
  • Coconuts - 2
  • Quality rice - 1 Kg
  • Betel leaves and nuts - 11
  • Payasam / Kheer or Chakra Pongali for naivedyam
  • Traditional slate for writing, slate chalk pencil, small notebook and a small pencil
If you wish to distribute slates and slate chalk / pencils or notebooks and pencils to the children, you can do so. However, it is not compulsory but it is purely a personal choice which depends on one's affordability.

Normally aksharabhyasam is performed in Hindu temples. However, it is the determination and dedication to perform the function which is more important than taking pains to travel long distances and troubling the little ones.

Important temples for performing aksharabhyasam

  • Basara Saraswati Temple, Telangana
  • Kollur Mookambika Devi Temple in Karnataka
  • Vijayawada Kanakadurga Temple, Andhra Pradesh
  • Koothanur Saraswati Temple, Tamil Nadu
  • Vargal Saraswati Temple, Telangana
  • Other Saraswati temples in India
Related Topics:
1. Basara Sri Gnana Saraswati Temple, Telangana
2. Vijayawada Kanaka Durga temple

How to perform Aksharabhyasam at Basara Temple

Update: In the present pandemic situation, it is advisable to check with the temple authorities before booking tickets.

For performing the function at Basara temple, take care of the following things:
  • For performing the function in the main temple premises in front of the main deity of Goddess Saraswati, buy Aksharabhyasam (special pooja) ticket for Rs.1000/- (subject to change). The temple opens daily at 4.00 a.m and tickets are sold from 4.00 a.m to 4.30 a.m.
  • Aksharabhyasam timings - 7.30 a.m to 12.00 noon and 2.00 p.m to 6.30 p.m. Temple remains closed from 12 noon to 2.00 p.m.
  • The function is performed in mass and hundreds of families are crowded / seated inside the main temple.
  • An important point to note. This is performed in mass and hundreds of families are seated inside the main temple. The temple priest gives instructions in the mike before starting the pooja. Concentrate and follow the instructions carefully so that you can easily and successfully complete the pooja.
  • It will be very congested inside and a bit noisy too. You would find it difficult to sit properly due to crowd. Adjust yourself and try to sit at ease. Keep all the required items in your lap. And let your child sit in his / her father's or in the lap of other family member who accompanies you. By doing so, you may feel convenient while performing the function.
  • Mantras will be chanted in the mike by the priest. Repeat the same and do as instructed in the mike. After the pooja is over, go in lines, give the slate along with the rice spread on it to the priest who is seated on a platform. He will make your child write 'OM' on the slate. You can then continue in the line, have darshan of Goddess Saraswati and move out.
  • You can even perform the function at any place within the temple premises but outside the sanctum sanctorum. Ticket for ordinary Aksharabhyasam pooja is Rs.100/-.
Performing Askharabhyasam at Basara temple on special festival days like Basant Panchami is very effective. But the temple is heavily crowded on these days and you need to stand for hours in long lines for buying tickets and then for entering into the main premises for performing pooja. At times you become impatient standing / waiting for long hours in lines. You get irritated when small kids become cranky / fussy and you keep shouting at them.

Also Read: Basant Panchami / Sri Panchami

Try to keep yourself engaged in some activity so as to kill the boredom. Keep your child / children engaged to avoid their fussiness. Get a couple of their favorite toys / books / play things and keep them engaged.

Carry some dry eatables like biscuits, cookies, chips etc to feed your child and also keep some healthy drinks, juices and water bottle particularly for your child. Do not feed too much food to your child as you might find it difficult to get out of the line in case of urgency like going to toilet.

Things to carry to the temple for the pooja

  • 1 Kg rice to be spread on the slate while performing the pooja when the priest instructs to do so.
  • 1 small pack turmeric powder (pasupu), 1 small pack kumkuma to apply on the slate / book before starting the pooja.
  • A small piece of new cotton towel on which the new slate has to be kept. It it is not compulsory.
  • All other materials like notebook, pencil, slate, slate chalk, flowers, coconut, garland, flowers and all other pooja materials are available in the shops in the temple premises.

Auspicious days for performing Aksharabhyasam

Aksharabhyasam can be performed on any auspicious day / time. However there are some best days to perform it. These are:
  • Basant Pachami / Siri Panchami day
  • Guru Purnima day
  • Vijaya Dasami or Saraswati Pooja day during Dussehra Navaratri.
  • Sravana Pournami day i.e on Raksha Bandhan day
  • Ugadi / Gudi Pudwa day.
Related Topics:
1. Guru Purnima
2. Dussehra
3. Ugaadi

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