Tulsi, considered an incarnation of goddess Mahalakshmi, is a sacred plant which can be found in almost every Hindu’s home. Tulsi Pooja (Worship of Tulsi) is done every day. Tulsi represents purity, duty, dedication, love, virtue and sorrow of all women.
Before doing Tulsi pooja, first take a bath (self-purification). Then clean and decorate the Tulsi pot. Draw rangolis, (with rice powder), near the pot. Then offer water to the sacred plant. Apply kumkum on one of its leaf. Wrap a length of red cloth, along the stem. Then offer red flower to the sacred herb. Also, offer fruits by placing them near the pot, for naivedyam. First, offer incense to Tulsi, around her form. Then, light the clay lamp and perform aarti. Pick up the bell in the left hand and ring the bell and offer the arti with the right hand, with seven circles around her whole form, to complete the Tulsi Puja.
The marriage of Tulsi with Vishnu/Krishna resembles the traditional Hindu wedding, which is conducted at homes and also at temple.
Women observe fast on the Tulsi Vivah, till evening when the ceremony begins. A mandap is built around the courtyard of the house where the Tulsi plant is planted. The bride Tulsi is clothed with a sari and decorated with ornaments like earrings and necklaces. A human paper face with a bindi and nose-ring can also be attached to Tulsi. The groom is a brass image or picture of Vishnu or Krishna or more frequently the Shaligram stone – the symbol of Vishnu. The image is clothed in a dhoti. Both Vishnu and Tulsi are bathed and decorated with flowers and garlands before the wedding. The couple is linked with a cotton thread (mala) in the ceremony.
Rice mixed with vermilion is showered on Tulsi and Vishnu, admist recitation of the mantras ending with the word “Savadhan” (literally “be careful” implying “You are united now”. Vishnu is offered sandalwood-paste, men’s clothing and the sacred thread. The bride is offered saris, turmeric, vermilion and a wedding necklace called Mangal-sutra, worn by married women. Food meant for actual wedding, are cooked for Tulsi Vivah. This ceremony is mostly performed by women. The prasad of sugar-cane, coconut chips, fruits and groundnut is distributed to the devotees.
The expenses of the wedding are usually borne by a daughter-less couple, who act as the parents of Tulsi in the ritual wedding. The bridal offerings to Tulsi are given to a Brahmin priest or female ascetics after the ceremony.
In Saurashtra, in Ram temples, it is celebrated on the day of Prabodhini Edadashi, with a barat bridal procession of Lalji in a palanquin, setting off to the bridal temple, admist, singing and dancing. Bhajans are sung through out the night and Lalji returns back with Tulsi.