Hindus believe in seeking blessings for all the newly bought items ranging from home appliances to a new house. One such product is the vehicle they buy. Car puja is carried out by families to seek the blessings of the God and to protect the new vehicle from misfortune. Car puja is performed soon after the purchase of the car. Lord Ganesh Puja is observed whenever a new vehicle is bought.
The new car is washed and wiped clean before performing the car puja. The person who bought the car takes part in the puja with the priest, andthe presence of other members of the family is also required. The possessor of the car takes the kalash of the sacred water from the pujari into his/her right hand and washes his/her hands for the puja. This process is repeated three times. In Indian temples, it is an old ritual to acknowledge things into the right hand with the left hand placed under the right hand.
For three reiterations, he/she acknowledges rice from the priest to sprinkle onto the front of the new car. The priest draws a swastika with the third finger of right hand, preferably on the hood of the car. The swastika is made with turmeric powder blended with water or sandalwood paste. The swastika -conceived in India over 5,000 years ago-is an image that means good fortune. After the swastika is drawn, the possessor of the vehicle is again given rice which he sprinkles on the swastika. For every sprinkle, the owner needs to chant a few mantras.
Meditating on Lord Ganesha and reciting holy mantras is a common practice. One set of mantras incorporates discussing 11 of the 108 names of Lord Ganesha. Pujari lights the incense sticks and loops them around the swastika symbol three times in a clockwise course. Usually, most pujaris install a small Lord Ganesha idol near the steering wheel. Sacred water is sprinkled on it before installing it inside the car.
The individual who claims the vehicle will break the coconut close to the right front tire and sprinkle coconut water on the tire. The coconut is kept as prasadam and consumed later. Squeezing lemons by keeping them under the wheels of the vehicle is a symbol to get rid of bad influence. The car is moved towards the right to complete the vehicle puja.
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