For any festival, Shodasha upachara pooja is a must ritual in any pooja. It is a step by step procedure need to be followed properly.
“Shodasa Upacahar” is a complete process of performing the rituals of pooja, the worship. Upachar means service; there are 16 upachars to be executed for worship.
1. Dhyanam (prayer)
Dhyanam is reciting a short prayer specific to god that one worships and engage our mind into lotus feet of that god.
Inviting the worshipped God or Goddess to come into the place of worship or idol by chanting the Vedic verse or slokas similar like you are inviting a lovely guest to your home.
3. Aaasanam (offering seating)
Offering the worshipped God a seat.
4. Paadyam (washing of feet)
Wash the feet of God by pouring water at His feet.
5. Arghyam (washing of hands)
Water is offered to the deity to wash hands.
6. Aachamana, (Offering water to drink)
Water is offered to drink with the chanting of the relevant vedic mantra.
7. Snanam (bathing with water or panchamruthas)
Sprinkle water on God as if giving Him bath. In a detailed pooja, bath God with panchamrutham (Milk, Yoghurt, Ghee, Honey, Sugar, Coconut Water, Fruit Juice, Sandal Powder, Turmeric one at a time). This is followed by bath with fresh water
8. Vastram (new clothes), Abharana
Offer new clothes, Jewellery. This is the phase you will decorate idol or photo with gajavashtra
9. Yajnopavitam (sacred thread)
Offer Yajnopaveetham(sacred thread/flower/akshathas).
10. Gandham (sandal paste)
Place sandalwood paste on the forehead of God.
11. Archana (flowers)
Glorify God by reciting His 108 names, and offer one flower or a petal at a time.
12. Dhoopam (incense)
Show incense to God.
13. Deepam (Oil lamp)
Show oil lamp to God. It also symbolizes bringing of light into one’s place and life.
14. Naivedyam (offering of specially prepared food).
Offer specially prepared food to God. This food must be prepared cleanly in separate utensils, other than in what we eat, and without tasting beforehand.
15. Tamboolam (offering Betel Leaves and Betel nuts)
Betel leaves and betel nuts are offered to God after the Naivedhyam. After delicious food, it is the practice to offer betel leaves for proper digestion.
It is again customary that in every auspicious occasion aarati is offered to the deity. This is an important and auspicious occasion as Lord himself has come home, so with utmost devotion offer “Aarati” to the Lord.