One of the earliest references to the Festival of lights , Karthigai Deepam dates back to the Ahanaanuru. This festival is celebrated in the month of Karthigai on a full moon day ( Pournami) in Tamilnadu, AndhraPradesh and Kerala. The arrival of the festival is celebrated by lighting lamps like Akalvilakku and Kuthuvilakku made of brass and clay. It is one of the oldest festivals celebrated by the Tamils and has references in Avvaiyar"s (well known Tamil poetess) poems. 

The significance of the festival lies in Sister's praying for the well being and prosperity of their brothers and can be compared to Raksha Bandhan celebrated in the North. It is believed that Lord Shiva appeared as a huge ball of fire challenging Maha Vishnu and Brahma to find out his form. Vishnu fails to find him and Brahma urges a flower named Thazhampoo to vouch for him. Shiva in turn curses that Brahma may not be worshiped as an idol and hence no temple be built and prohibits the flower from being used as an offering to him. The day Shiva arrives as a huge ball of fire is celebrated as the Mahadeepam day. Saivaites celebrate Karthigai on the Mahadeepam day. Vaishnavaites celebrate Kaarthigai on the Pancharaathra Deepam or the day Kaarthigai Nakshatram falls in the lunar calender.

I love to take active part in all festivals and Kaarthigai Deepam is no exception. My mother would clad herself in Madisaar , a treat that i get to see once in a while and  remember assisting my Mother to light all the lamps in different sizes and shapes. I celebrated the first Kaarthigai after my wedding this time in SG  along with my In laws. My MIL guided me throughout the day to prepare all the sweets and vadai until the prayer session was done. I thank her for her patience, support and untiring efforts in guiding me to bring the best out of me.Thank you "Manjula Amma".

Gram Flour........................ 100 gms
Rice Flour.......................... 100 gms
Butter................................. 1 tsp
Salt ................................... 1 pinch
Cooking Soda................... 1 pinch
Jaggery.............................. 150 gms
Oil....................................  to fry
Cardamom.......................  5 to 6 nos
Sugar................................  1/2 tsp
Raw rice ..........................  1/2 tsp


  • Grind the whole cardamom, sugar and raw rice to a fine powder. Mix the gram flour, rice flour and butter well. Add a pinch of salt and cooking soda to it. Add water little by little and knead a stiff dough. 

  • Heat oil in a Kadai. Pull out a little dough and roll it gently to make a smooth ball. Insert the dough into the "Round Murukku Press / Mould". Press out the dough in a circular motion into the hot oil. Keep the flame medium. Flip the murukku and fry the other side until golden brown. Repeat the same with the remaining dough . Drain the murukkus in a paper towel and break it into pieces of roughly 1/2 to 1 inch.

  • In a thick bottomed vessel add Jaggery and  little water just sufficient enough to submerge it. Heat it and continue to cook till you reach the hard ball stage. Before it reaches the hard ball stage add the powdered cardamom into it. To check whether you have reached the right stage, keep a cup of cold water next to you and drop a little of the melted hot jaggery into the water. It will not dissolve and you will be able to make a ball out of it by rolling it gently in between your fingers. 

  • Stop cooking and remove from flame. Immediately mix the broken Murukku and jaggery in a mixing bowl so that the murukku gets coated well with the Jaggery. You have to be really swift and roll it into balls when hot. Otherwise the jaggery and murukku will turn hard and  get stuck to the vessel.Moisten your hands with water and hold a little of the Murukku +Jaggery mixture and press gently to make a ball. Do not press too hard. Let it be firm yet with little airspace between so that the Manoharams can be broken before eating. Repeat the same process. Its a great help if you have your family members to help you roll out the Manoharams to save time. 
  • Cool well and store in airtight containers.Your Manoharams are ready now. Go for it!!!.

  • While rolling the balls you can also dust your palms and fingers with flour.
  • You can add 2 tbsp of dessicated coconut to the jaggery mixture if you like.


  1. I have seen this during childhood days. I love this Soumya. Wll love to have some. Really tempting and love the well explained photos. Nice clicks dear and love the new look of ur blog. Keep rocking.


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