Housewarming, Kerala Style, Simplified:

                   House warming ceremony or Gruhapravesham or ‘Palukachu’ in Malayalam, is done after the construction of a house, which is mostly based on a Muhurtha (Auspicious time) for Gruharambham.
                  At the outset, a Muhurtha is got prescribed by a learned Astrloger for beginning the construction of the house (Gruharambha Muhurtham). Of course, it is nice if you resort to a ‘Daivadheenam’ (God’s blessings), even before purchasing the land for construting your Home/ Flat. You can verify with the Astrologer whether the land is suitable for making a Home for you and whether you can go ahead with the work of construction with out any hindrance or the like things. Usually people will say that you should not begin such things when there is a fully pregnant woman waiting for child birth in your house or a very pretty old one is bed-ridden at that time.
                  The following 18 Nakshathras – Moolam, Makam, Rohini, Makayiram, Chathayam, Punartham, Pooyam, Uthram, Atham, Chithira, Uthradam, Thiruvonam, Avittam, Uthrittathy, Revathy, Ashwathy, Chothy, Anizham – are supposeed to be good for Gruharambham. Usually we do not take the 3rd, 5th and 7th Nakshathras from ours for all auspicious things. Of course, there are some exceptions for certain particular Nakshathras, which the Astrologer will tell you at that time. The malayalam months like Mithunam, Karkkadakam, Kanni, Dhanu and Meenam are avoided for Gruharambham.You should never go for it, when the Sun is transitting through Karthika Nakshathram. There should not be Mars in the 8th house from the Muhurtha Lagna.The 4th house should be clean; no malefic is allowed there.Also avoid Sun in the Muhurtha Rasi.
                   The most important item in Gruharambham is laying the foundation stone or ‘Adishanashila’. It is called the ‘Shilasthapanam’. So, it should be done exactly at the prescribed time for Gruharambham. Many people do a ‘Bhoomipooja’, before laying the foundation stone.Some are seen getting that stone blessed from thier ‘Ishta Devatha’ Temple. Arranging a small pooja on the spot is very welcome, seeking the blessings of Lord Ganapathy and other Devathas, including Vastu.The excavation for foundation can be done little earlier to laying the first stone.But, it is a custom and almost a belief that at the time of  the excavation for foundation,  Bhoomi pooja can be done. The excavation should be started from the North-East corner(Eshana cone) of the plot and the Bhoomi pooja also should be arraned to be done at that part. Before starting excavation, usually a fresh stump from a jackfruit tree or from a tree having sap, is fixed first exactly at the NE corner. It is from that stump, string is connected to those at the other corners, to ear mark the area for excavation for the proposed house. Some people use the Muhurtha for Gruharambham for fixing this stump. It is not correct. The Muhurtha should be used for laying the foundation stone. Ofcourse you can use a good time for fixing the stump also, just before laying the stone.You need avoid Rahukalam, Gulikakalam and Yamakandakalam, which are readily available in every Calendar. In some places, I had the fortune to witness, Eagle or Kite (Krishnapparunthu), roaming round , up in the sky, above the plot, during the Gruharambha Muhurtham.
                   Coming to Gruhapravesham, the same procedure used for Gruharambham, can be followed as far as the Muhurtham is concerned.The rituals may vary a little in that it will be nice if the Gruhapravesham is done immediately after the Ganapathy Homam in the early morning during the time of Sunrise at that location.Early morning is always supposed to be good or you can go for a good Muhurtham for the purpose by a learned Astrologer. Appropriate offerings should be made to Bhara Devatha and in local temples.
Usually the Pooja is arranged in front of the house towards one side, by the Sthapathy (Mooyhassari). It is nice that no one should be at the house when the family first enters into the house.It is well and good if it is possible to go round the house (Pradikshanam / circumambulate) once by the members of the family, headed by the lady of the house carrying the lighted lamp in both hands, obtained from the Sthapathy, after giving him the ‘Sampradaya Dakshina’, accompanied by the man of the house with the treasure chest, followed by other members of the family, with milk and pot, water-pot (Kumbhakudam) etc. Using the right leg, they should enter the house, and the lighted lamp should be placed at the North-East corner of the room, where they entered first. From the same lamp, the lady of the house can ignite the hearth in the kitchen, for boiling the milk. Afterwords, the milk should be given to all present. The workers or labourers should be paid first, tips as a token of indebtedness towards them for having built the house for the family.
It is advisable to give back a lime along with a betel leaf to every one irrespetive of those with presents.
                In either case, whether it is Gruharambham or Gruhapravesham, you should be present on the spot on the second day, to avoid the socalled ‘Vischithi dosham’. You should stay and sleep over the night on the second day also in your new house.
                     Your Home is a ‘Devalayam’; the man there is the Chief Deity, the lady is the Goddess, and the children are Upa Devathas. This concept will bring prosperity to your Home. Whatever you have, belongs to God; you are only a Caretaker. Do all unto Him with full Providnce and Dharma. HE will be always with you.
Jai Hind,
God bless America.
30th June, 2012. 

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