Images of oil-lamps of Tamilnadu, along with a brief write-up, are posted right below.
Oil lamps are commonly used in Hindu temples as well as in home shrines. In almost every Indian home a lamp is lit daily before the altar of the Lord. In some houses it is lit at drawn, in some, twice a day – at dawn and dusk and in a few it is maintained continuously (Akhanda Deepa).
All auspicious functions and moments like daily worship, rituals and festivals and even many social occasions like inaugurations, commence with the lighting of an oil lamp, which is often maintained right through the occasion.
Interested in purchasing some of these traditional brass oil lamps of south India, for your living room space and Pooja room? Well, here are some posted right underneath, for your convenient purchase :
Generally the lamps used in temples are circular in shape with places for five cotton wicks. These lamps are made of metal, and are either suspended on a chain or screwed onto a pedestal.
There will usually be at least one lamp in each small shrine of a temple, and the main Sanctum Sanctorum mostly contains several. Usually only one wick is lit, with all five burning only on festive occasions.
The oil lamp is used in the Hindu ritual of Aarti to conclude the religious ritual.
In the home shrine, the style of lamp is usually different, containing only one wick. There is usually a piece of metal that forms the back of the lamp, which has a picture of a Hindu deity embossed on it.
In many houses, the lamp burns all day long, but mostly it is lit at sundown. The lamp in the home shrine is supposed to be lit before any other lights in the house are turned on at night.
A hand-held oil lamp or incense sticks (lit from the lamp) are also used during the Hindu Puja ceremony.
In the North of India, a five-wick lamp is used, usually fueled with Ghee. On special occasions like festivals etc, various other lamps may be used for Puja, the most elaborate ones having several tiers of wicks.
Deepalakshmi is a brass lamp with the depiction of Hindu goddess Lakshmi over the back piece. They are usually small and have only one wick.
Nilavilakku, is a tall brass or bronze lamp on a stand where the wicks are placed at a certain height.
Paavai vilakku is a brass or bronze lamp in the form of a lady holding a vessel with her hands. This type of lamp comes in different sizes, from very small to almost life-size.
There are also large stone versions of this lamp in Hindu temples and shrines of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, especially at the entrance of temples. They have only one wick .
Thooku vilakku is a brass or bronze lamp hanging from a chain, often with multiple wicks. For more details on Oil Lamps, have a look at this Wikipedia Page
More information on the oil lamps of India, with web-links to the sources of the images of these beautiful lamps, posted above, of the culturally rich state of Tamilnadu, will follow soon.
Stay tuned, & please don’t miss the fun & joy of exploring some of these awe-inspiring, mesmerizing & thought-provoking arts, crafts & sculptures of the timeless, ageless sacred land of the glorious Bharatavarsha (India).