A Typical Iyengar Upanayanam

Upanayanam / Poonal  is an important ritual in the Iyengar community and is believed to be the gateway for spiritual learning for a young boy. We feel that every culture has its own traditional richness and distinct rituals, the  importance of which needs to be regarded. We also feel that there is goodness and meaning attached to everything that our forefathers have taught us and understanding the same and assimilating it leads to a greater inner strength and righteous life.

 We have a small synopsis of each and every ritual that is involved in a  typical Iyengar Upanayanam.

- Arathi & Raghavan

'Naandhi' Ceremony


It is performed generally just a day before the Upanayanam to obtain the blessings of the family ancestors. The feast prepared for that day is also very specific.. Naandi in Sanskrit means the beginning, so with Naandi begins the actual rituals for the functions. Usually during the Naandisradham before Upanayanam, the Brahmins are fed and various Upacharams are offered to them. Atleast 9 brahmins are served food and dhanam is given to each of them.



Udhakashanthi  is conducted for the purification of the mind and body and the protection of the child. All names of the deities are chanted in the form of manthras and invoked in water and then poured over the child.



Under the guidance of a guru, the sacred thread is placed by the father across the child’s left shoulder. Further, Moonji (a gridle made out of Munja grass) is tied around the child’s waist to protect the child’s purity and keep evils away.

Kumara Bhojanam


After the auspicious Yagnopaveethadhaarana, the boy is fed along with a bramchari.

After Kumarabhojanam is the Vapanam, or shaving of the hair for the vatu. The first locks are cut by the father and then by the barber. After the vapanam, the vatu is given bath, dressed in new clothes and taken to the temple.



"Gayatri Mantra", the supreme mantra is whispered in the vatu’s ears by the father who becomes the guru for the child.

Soorya Darshanam


The vatu is taken out and asked to see the sun through a peep hole formed by clasping both the palms.



The child asks for alms of rice by saying “ Bhavathi Bhiksandehi ” from his mother and other women attending the function. It is done to control the ego, which enables the young vatu to control his senses and then essentially receive vedic  knowledge.



Abhivadaye is nothing but an introduction of self with lineage.
After Upanayanam the boy seeks blessings from the elders by doing namaskarams. The child then introduces himself by his “Gotharam” and “Suthram"