Narali Poornima: A Festival Dedicated To Worshipping The Ocean
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As the auspicious month of Shravan progresses and the festival of Raksha Bandhan arrives, fishing communities along the coastline of Maharashtra celebrate Narali Poornima. Also known as Shravan Poornima, dedicated to Lord Varuna – who is considered to be the ocean god, coconut trees are planted along the shores, symbolising a bond of protection between the land and sea. The purpose of doing so also happens to serve the idea that trees will prevent erosion of soil that might get washed into the sea.

Predominantly marking the commencement of the fishing season, various offerings are made in traditional rituals, after which fishing boats are painted with a fresh coat before they venture out to sea. Once coconuts are offered in pujas to the ocean god, women in the communities prepare various dishes using them – one of which is the naralachi karanji. Coconuts are also considered to be representative of the land and the sea – due to the hard outer shell encasing water within. Since the coastal communities of Maharashtra are also predominantly rice eaters, narali bhaat – a sweet preparation of grated coconut mixed with rice and sugar, is a popular offering.

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Fishermen are also known to pray to the ocean for protection against choppy waters, as a way to appease the god and to safeguard their livelihood. In addition to painting fishing boats, fishing nets are also repaired, after which hordes of fishermen make a short trip to sea. Coconuts are thrown into the water as a way of offering, after which people from the community engage in song, dance and feasting. In the beach state of Goa, the same day is observed as the feast of St. Lawrence by the Catholic fishing community. It is also believed that the day also marks a change in the intensity and direction of winds, making it favourable for fishing boats to park themselves in the ocean.

Find a recipe for making traditional Narali Bhaat below:


  • 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed
  • ¾ cup freshly grated coconut
  • ¾ cup jaggery
  • 4-5 saffron strands
  • 8 cloves
  • 5 tablespoons ghee
  • ¼ cup chopped nuts
  • 2 cups water


  • Add the jaggery and coconut to a saucepan and allow the mixture to melt and combine, while you heat some ghee in a pan and fry the chopped nuts.
  • Using a slotted spoon, extract the toasted nuts from the ghee and add the cloves to it. Once they begin to turn puffy, add the rice and saute for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the water and saffron strands to the rice and mix well to combine. Once you bring it to a simmer, cover with a lid and lower the heat. Cook for 10-12 minutes.
  • Once the rice is cooked, add the jaggery-coconut mixture along with the chopped nuts and use a fork to combine everything thoroughly. Serve warm.