Thiruvathirai kali

Thiruvathirai kali is an offering made to Lord Shiva on Thiruvathirai festival which is celebrated in Tamilnadu. It takes place in the tamil month of Margazhi on the full moon day (Pournami). It is also called as Aarudhra Dharisanam and is celebrated in Kerala too.

Thiruvathirai meaning Thiru + Athirai where Athiraiyan is one of Lord Shiva’s names in Tamil. The cosmic dance of Lord Shiva called as the Tandavam symbolizes the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, as well as the daily rhythm of birth and death. It signifies the five principle manifestations of eternal energy namely,

  • Srishti – creation
  • Sthiti – preservation
  • Samhara – destruction
  • Tirodhana – illusion
  • Anugraha – emancipation

This cosmic dance takes place in every particle and is the source of all energy. Aarudhra Dharisanam or Thiruvathirai celebrates this cosmic dance of Lord Shiva, represented by the Natraja form.

Most of the temples around the world with Lord Natraja celebrate this day and as Neivedhyam (offering to God) the Thiruvathirai Kali is made on that day. At Chidambaram (Tamilnadu), called as the Kanakasabha (Gold), this festival is celebrated in a grand manner as a 10 day festival. The night before the full moon day, abhishegam to Lord Shiva is performed with the navarathnam (nine precious gems) and on the day of pournami or full moon day, the chariot procession takes place. This festival is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Shiva in Kerala.

So, that was the significance of the Thiruvathirai festival. At our home, we celebrate this festival by making this kali and offering it to Lord Shiva as neivedhyam. This was the first year I made this kali and the recipe for it is one which has been followed by our family through generations. Enjoy the festival with your family!

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Thiruvathirai Kali

Abhipriya Raghav
Thiruvathirai Kali is an offering made to Lord Shiva on Aarudhra Dharisanam or the Thiruvathirai festival day.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian
Servings 2 people


  • 1/2 cup raw rice
  • 1/2 heaped cup of grated coconut
  • 120 grams jaggery
  • 3 pods of cardamom
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp ghee


  • Assemble all the ingredients required for making the kali.
  • Place a kadai on high flame. Once the kadai is hot, reduce the flame and dry roast the raw rice by stirring continuously.
  • Roast it till it becomes golden brown in color and transfer it to a plate to cool down completely.
  • Meanwhile, add the jaggery and water to the same kadai and melt the jaggery in a low flame.
  • Stir in between to make sure the jaggery is completely melted.
  • Now filter the melted jaggery to remove any dust particles.
  • The roasted rice will be completely cooled by now. Transfer it to a mixer grinder along with the cardamom and grind it to a coarse powder.
  • Transfer the powder to a bowl.
  • Now, pour the filtered jaggery syrup into a kadai and place it on the fame and boil it till you see bubbles.
  • Now, reduce the flame and add the ground powder to the boiling jaggery syrup.
  • Stir continuously to avoid any lumps.
  • The ground rice powder then starts to thicken. At this stage when all moisture is absorbed as shown in the picture, add the grated coconut and mix thoroughly with the other contents in the kadai.
  • When the coconut is evenly mixed, add ghee to it and stir well.
  • Transfer to a bowl and you can also serve it with some ghee on top.


  • Do not leave the kadai unattended while roasting the rice as it might get burnt.
  • Evenly roast the rice to a golden brown color.
  • While melting the jaggery, make sure to stir in between to avoid clumps.
  • Instead of cardamom pods, you can also add cardamom powder.
  • You can also dry roast the grated coconut before adding it.
  • Increase or decrease the amount of ghee as per taste. I added 1.5 tbsp ghee initially and half tbsp later while serving.
Keyword kali, offering, south Indian, sweet, Thiruvathirai