The Laxmi puja is an important aspect of Diwali celebrations. Families decorate their homes with lights, diyas and flowers and make special new clothing for their murtis in the puja room. Many people like to decorate the Diwali puja thali with a lot of colours to make it look as beautiful as possible.
Aanchal Lulla, a housewife, says, ‘‘I like my thali colourful. I decorate it with fancy mirrors and lace and arrange it around with decorative diyas and all other puja essentials.”
A puja thali is generally a metal plate that contains certain essential components like unbroken rice grains, kumkum powder, incense sticks, camphor, coconut, betel leaves, gold and silver coins with images of holy Hindu symbols (Om, Swastika or Shree symbols) and some prasad in the form of fruits or sweets. It must also have a hand bell, an aarti-diya and a kalava (a sacred crimson string) that is tied around the wrist after the puja.
Priyenca Bhargava, who makes marble puja thalis, says, “I always prefer home-made thalis that I can decorate with gotta work or golden lace beads or even paint it. I then add in a diya, haldi, kumkum, mithai and a few flowers.”
Decorating the puja thali is an important activity on Diwali day. People often decorate thalis with coloured rice or coloured powder and even flower petals. It takes great patience and care to make it look pretty.
Payal Shively, working professional, says, “I personally like to prepare my thali on the day of Diwali. I like it to look simple and yet beautiful. Self-made thalis are always better because they add in a personal touch to it. It doesn’t take long to prepare either. After the decoration is done, I put some prasad, dry fruits and a diya on the plate.”
However, these days, one can find beautifully decorated readymade aarti thalis available in the market in a variety of different designs. They come with painted or sequenced patterns and even have tainted mirrors and Hindu symbols on them. These thalis are perfect if you find yourself running out of time to make one yourself.
Chitra Gupta, who makes puja thalis, says, “Until recent times, the trend was wooden thalis because they could be decorated to look elegant and colourful. However, lately customers are okay with both wooden and steel thalis. Wooden thalis are popular because often they are multi-purposed and can be reused. While some customers like their thalis simple and elegant, others prefer them to be fancy with a lot of bling.”
-With inputs from Nikita Shroff