Chūḍī Pūjā - A Unique Tradition

By Smt. Kushal Talgerī Bailūr with inputs and photos from Smt. Umā Savūr 

The month of Shrāvaṇa brings with it a host of festivals. During this auspicious month, married women from the Chitrāpur Sāraswat Brāhmaṇa community perform “Chūḍī pūjā” on Fridays and Sundays for Saubhāgya - a long, happy married life.

Mythological significance

It is believed that Sītā offered this pūjā with wild grown flowers and plants/leaves during her Vanavāsa and hence, this pūjā came into existence.  Another story says that the wild flowers had a strong desire to adorn the Devatā-s and Devī-s. The compassionate deities granted the wildflowers their wish by saying that during the month of Shrāvaṇa they could be tied together in a bunch (a Chūḍī) and after being sanctified through pūjā by married ladies, they may be offered to them.

How we Chitrāpur Sāraswat-s observe Chūḍī Pūjā

Married women of the family wake up early, have a head bath, dress up in traditional attire and prepare aesthetically designed Chūḍī-s by tying five blades of jirvāṅkura/durvā (a type of grass that has three blades at the tip) and five types of flowers. The number five is significant as it represents five married women in our Purāṇa-s and Itihāsa-s who are remembered even today for their devotion and commitment to the institution of marriage: Ahalyā, Mandodarī, Draupadī, Tārā and Sītā. They are considered role models for married women.

Traditionally, local and wild plants (‘Anvalī’, ‘Ghanta Maḍḍŏ’, ‘Nelanillī’ and ‘Pāchchakana’) and flowers (‘Ratnagandhī’- Peacock Flower, ‘Sugandhī’- Ginger Lily, ‘Shaṅkhapus͟hpa’-Butterfly Pea, ‘Karavīra’-Yellow Oleander and ‘Rathapus͟hpa’- Pagodā flower) are used. In cities where these are not easily available, durvā-s alo7ng with Gulāb (Rose), Shevantī (Chrysanthemum), Champā (Champak) and so on are used.  Usually, the Chūḍī-s are made in odd numbers - 5, 9, 11, 15, 21. The offering of Chūḍī-s symbolize a token of our gratitude to God for the greenery and colourful flowers in bloom during the monsoon.

Flowers and  Durva