Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mavillaku or Tambittu - Rice Jaggery Lamp

Mavillaku or Tambittu
-A lamp made of Rice and Jaggery
As the distant drum beats got nearer and nearer, we ran out of the house and stood near the compound to witness the procession. When the drum beats neared our house we could feel goose bumps on our selves and many a time we tapped our foot and danced to the rhythm as the colourful procession passed our street. Women clad in bright coloured sarees carried the decorated baskets containing Tambittu on their heads. They walked fast with one hand holding the basket, and the other hand dragging along their offsprings, who ran along to keep pace with their mothers. The men who led the procession were in their own world, as they played on their drums with great frenzy. They were all devotees of Male Mahadeswara who resided atop a hill in the M.M. Hills situated in the Kollegal ranges, and they were carrying the Tambittu for lighting a lamp at the feet of their Lord.

Lighting lamps in the Mavilakku or Tambittu is a devotional exercise carried out by the devotees as a mark of respect and thanks giving to the family deity. The mavu or flour is prepared with rice and jaggery pounded together using a huge stone mortar and pestle. A ball of this mixture is shaped into a lamp, by giving it a depression on top to hold the ghee and the wick. This Mavilakku (maavu-vilakku meaning flour-lamp) is lit and the family deity is installed in the lamp. All the prayers and worship are now offered to the Mavilakku who is now the Lord. The family waits till all the ghee in the mavilakku is exhausted, and will then perform the mangalaarati (a Hindu devotional ritual where camphor is lit, and waved in a cirular motion around the deity. More information in this wiki.) just before the ‘Lord ascends the Hills’ – that is, just before the flame in the Mavilakku goes out. After this the Mavilakku is distributed among all as the prasadam (usually an edible offering made to God, and then distributed amongst devotees)
This is indeed a strange custom where the 'offering becomes the offeree and then the offeree becomes the prasadam'!!
Rice – 1 cup
Jaggery powder - 1/2 cup
Cardamom powder – 1 pinch
Ghee – 1 tsp

1. Wash the rice and spread on a clean towel.
2. When it is nearly dry, powder it in a mixer.
3. Add the jaggery powder and the cardamom powder to the rice powder and mix well using your hand. Do not add water, as the softened jaggery alone is sufficient.
4. When the dough becomes pliable like a chappati dough, shape it into lamps.
5. Make a depression on top and pour in ghee.
5. Place a cotton wick soaked in ghee in the lamp and light it.
6. The ghee will melt and soak into the mavilakku till the flame is on, lending the mavu a unique flavour.
Relish the prasadam with the blessings of the Almighty. 
Note from Dibs: These edible lamps go to the Kitchen Masterpiece event, hosted by our blog! Today is the last day, and we are glad we met our own deadline!!!

15 Post your Comments:

Manju said...

ohh...i used to go with my neighbour to this amman temple in our city in kerala to light this dad is very fond of this to not so much..the pics look great though!

Lakshmi said...

we light tambittu deepa to Kanyakaparameshwari on vasavi jayanti day..on the other hand I love eating tambittu :)

jayasree said...

We have the custom of maavilakku during aadi month at home. Love the taste of paccha maavu with coconut pieces.

Nice photos.

Cham said...

We make maavilaku for all Devi temple and even in home! The way u shaped is quiet different! Beautiful edible lamp!

Sunshinemom said...

I did not know the reasoning behind the maavillaku but I love it!! My Mother used to make this for a long time, but someone gave her advice saying she shouldn't as the custom does not exist in the family - I really miss it a lot. Will make this with your recipe to try it out! I remember my Mum's looked more dryish than your picture. Thanks for the recipe and lovely entry. Dibs! I am losing hair - why do you challenge me like this? Next time I will definitely participate if the event is something easier:)

Janaki Gopikrishna said...

we had this event at our home also to ward of certain diseases which would come. probably this was superstition. but it was a fun time home to have the maav

Finla said...

This is a wonderful post a very informative one for someone like me.

Priya Suresh said...

RIce jaggery lamp, looks simply superb...we to do when we go to our village temple:)

Asha said...

My ajji makes Tambittu to eat on Shakranthi day! Never used it for deepa, I always learn new things here! Great looking photos! :))

S.R.Ramachandran said...

Mavillakumav was like a desert after dinner. appa

Roshni said...

wonderful!! I am looking forward to making these lamps at the next festival!!

Anonymous said...

I love to eat maavilaku, but never tried.Should have try your recipe.

YOSEE said...

Beautiful pictures. Recalled the Thambittu processions.

Unknown said...

I din't know the story behind it but my mom performs a similar pooja too & in telugu they are called pindi-deepam (maavu-villaku). I wonder if its the same tradition.

Suganya said...

This is so traditional. Looks so good. Nice recipe. Turned out so perfect.