Here is a list of essential items that are required for the puja.
This is only a general list of things required. The puja requirements vary from region to region.
Picture or image or idol of Maha Lakshmi, A Kalash pot for Purna Kumbha – (clay or silver), Lamps, bells, agarbathis – usual puja articles, Usual decorations for puja, Cotton dress for the idol or garlands, A piece of blouse to cover the idol, Threads or Saradu, Mirror, Comb, Fruits and Leaves, Bananas, Locally available fruits, Dhruva grass, Fragrant leaves, Betel leaves, Betel nuts, Banana leaf with tip or a tray
For making ‘Prasad’ or offering - Usually sweets this depends on the person’s ability. There are a lot of varieties of sweets that are made.
Performing Varalakshmi Puja :
Varalakshmi Puja falls on a Friday in the month of August and the preparations for the puja begin on Thursday. All the necessary items needed for the pooja are collected by Thursday evening.
People wake up early in the morning on Friday and take a bath. Traditionally speaking the waking up time for the puja is the brahma muhurtham. Then the designated puja area and house is cleaned well and a beautiful ‘kolam’ or rangoli is drawn on the intended place of puja.
Next is the preparation of the ‘kalasham or kalash.’ A bronze or silver pot is selected and is cleaned thoroughly and a swastika symbol is drawn and is smeared with sandalwood paste. The kalasham pot is filled with raw rice or water, coins, a single whole lime, five different kinds of leaves, and beetle nut. The items used to fill the kalasham vary from region to region and includes turmeric etc.
The kalasham up to the neck is sometimes covered with a cloth and mango leaves are placed on the mouth of the kalasham. Finally, a coconut smeared with turmeric is used to close the mouth of the kalasham. To this coconut, an image of Goddess Lakshmi is fixed or the image of Lakshmi is drawn using turmeric powder. Now the kalasham symbolically represents Goddess Lakshmi.
The kalasham is usually placed on a bed of rice. First Lord Ganesha is worshipped. Then begins the Varalakshmi Puja. The puja consists of singing slokas dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi like the Lakshmi Sahasranamam. Arati is performed on the kalasham. Different types of sweets are offered. Some people offer pongal. In some areas women tie yellow thread on their hands.
The woman who is observing the Varalakshmi Puja abstains from eating certain kind of food and this varies from region to region. In some regions, women fast till the puja period.
Thamboolam – betel leaf, areca nut and slaked lime – is offered to women in the locality and in the evening an arati is offered. The next day, that is on Saturday, after taking a bath the kalasham is dismantled and the water in the kalasham is sprinkled in the house. If rice is used then it is mixed with rice in the house.
There are no hard and fast rules in performing the Varalakshmi Puja and you can be flexible on the puja items. Even a simple prayer will please Goddess Lakshmi.
According to Skanda Purana, once Goddess Parvati asked Lord Shiva about a vrata that will be beneficial to women. Lord Shiva then mentioned the importance of Varalakshmi Vrata, which is most beneficial Vrata for women.
To illustrate the importance of the Varamahalakshmi Vrat, Lord Shiva narrated the story of Charumati.
Pleased with Charumati’s devotion to her husband and family, Goddess Lakshmi appeared in her dream and asked her to perform the Varalakshmi Vratha. She explained to her the procedures of the Vrata.
The pious Charumati invited all her neighbors, friends and relatives and performed the Varalakshmi puja as directed by Goddess Lakshmi. Soon after the puja, all the people who participated in the puja were blessed with wealth and prosperity.
Story of Shyamabala and Varalakshmi Vrata
Another popular story associated with Varamahalakshmi Vrat is that of Shyamabala. King Bathrasiravas and Queen Surachandrika had a daughter named Shyamabala. She was married to a prince of neighboring kingdom.
Once when Shyamabala was in her parent’s palace, she saw her mother, Queen Surachandrika, driving away an old lady. The old lady had asked the Queen to perform Varalakshmi puja but the queen did not like a beggar advising her regarding pujas and therefore drove her out.
A kind-hearted Shyamabala invited the old lady and listened to the greatness of Varalakshmi Vrata. When she returned to her country, she performed the Vrata as directed by the old lady. Soon her kingdom started prospering and the prince was appreciated for his good governance.
But parents of Shyamabala had to undergo numerous sufferings and there was suffering all around. The king and queen lost all his wealth and people started revolting against their rule.
Hearing about the suffering in her parent’s kingdom, Shyamabala sent pots of gold but the moment Queen Surachandrika set her eyes on them they turned into ashes.
Upon hearing this incident, Shyamabala realized that all this is the result of her mother driving out the old woman from the palace. She realized that the old woman was Goddess Lakshmi in disguise.
Shyamabala asked her mother to ask forgiveness to Goddess Lakshmi and perform the Varalakshmi Vrata. She did so and was able to attain the previous glory.
Varalakshmi Vratam is an important pooja performed by many women in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and some parts of Tamil Nadu.The Hindu festival going by the name 'Vara Lakshmi Vrata' is celebrated on the last Friday of the bright fortnight in the month of Ashadha, also called Adi, which corresponds to the English months of July-August.
Eight forces or energies are recognised and they are known as Sri (Wealth), Bhu (Earth), Sarasvati (learning), Priti (love), Kirti (Fame), Santi (Peace), Tushti(Pleasure) and Pushti(Strength). Each one of these forces is called a Lakshmi and all the eight forces are called the Ashta Lakshmis or the eight Lakshmis of the Hindus. Vishnu is also called Ashta Lakshmi Padhi which is equivalent to saying that he is the asylum for the eight-Lakshmis or forces. In fact, Vishnu representing the preservative aspect of the universe, radiates these forces from him. These forces are personified and worshipped as Lakshmis, since abstract force is beyond the comprehension of the ordinary people. As health, wealth and prosperity depend upon the rythmic play of these forces, the worship of Lakshmi is said to be to obtain these three. Only a woman can sympathise with women. Lakshmi is a woman. So she will more readily sympathise with women. Hence this festival is observed largely by women, invoking the blessings of Lakshmi on them, their husbands and their children.
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Legend or Story of Vara Laxmi Vratram is explained here.
Vara Laxmi Vrata is observed on the Friday which comes before Shravan Purnima during Shravan month. Charumathi, a Brahmin woman lived in a town, Kundina. She was very humble and kind in her nature. She was very much devoted to her husband and family.
One night, Goddess Laxmi appeared in her dream and told her to worship Vara Laxmi and seek her blessings. Goddess Laxmi also explained the Vrata procedure and the best day to observe Vara Laxmi Vrata. Laxmi asked Charumathi to observe Varalaxmi Vrata on the Friday just before Shravan Purnima, the Full Moon day in Shravan Month.
Charumathi informed about the dream to his husband and family. She also told to her friends and the word spread throughout the town. On the Friday before Shravan Purnima, Charumathi along with her family, friends and the women of the town observe Vara Laxmi Vrata. They worshipped Vara Laxmi with utmost devotion and offered special recipes and fruits to please her.
Goddess Vara Laxmi appeared before them and granted boons to all of them. Their houses were filled with grains, diamonds, jewels and gold. They all lived happily in their rest of life. Since the time, women have begun observing Vara Laxmi Vrata every year on the specific Friday.
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