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L is for the oil lamp that dispels darkness #AtoZchallenge

Image for LI’m participating with over 1000 bloggers in the 7th  A to Z Challenge  and will be blogging the whole of April about the ‘ Things around My House’, from A to Z. Today I’d like to talk about my traditional oil lamp.

Do visit the A to Z Challenge posts on Facebook.

Image for Darkness Quote
Every evening as the sun goes down and  the lights come up, we light the oil lamp in our family shrine offering a prayer of thanks for a day well spent and seeking safe passage through the night. As the hand rolled cotton wick dipped in oil catches light, a sense of peaceful calm descends  and  fills the room with a mellow glow.

A traditional oil lamp

Our traditional oil lamp is around 18″ high and every day we light three cotton wicks . It is meant to be made of brass but I’m convinced it is made of bell metal because no amount of cleaning leaves it shining. It has instead a dull, dignified sheen.
The lamp has been in our family for generations and when our girls were growing up, they would  bow to the flickering flame every evening, asking for  the wisdom to help them do good , health,  wealth and protection from their enemies.


Image for Oil Lamp

Most Indian homes have an oil lamp that is lit up every night . The cotton, hand rolled wicks are are dipped in oil and are lit in odd numbers. When all the wicks are lit , the lamp burns through the night.


[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#lamp” remove_twitter_handles=”true”]Brassware at home is scrubbed clean with a mixture of tamarind paste and salt which takes away the tarnish and leaves it gleaming[/tweetthis]

We have many oil lamps at home, from different parts of India and in different materials but this remains favourite: I get comfort in knowing that it has been used by generations before me and will continue to be used after I’m gone.
Image for BellyBytes


A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!

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19 Responses

  1. seena says:

    Something very auspicious about a lit lamp. We all want it to be a part of our beginnings and our lives.
    Lovely Choice!
    #AtoZChallenge -L is for Labour

  2. Parul says:

    It’s a lovely traditional lamp. Bell metal is the best for these purposes. I have one not old but yes, gets used every Diwali! 🙂
    Parul recently posted…L for LGBT Power #AtoZChallengeMy Profile

  3. Kala Ravi says:

    Lighting the lamp is a must for me too, twice – once in the morning after a bath and at sunset. Being from the south we have a lot of attachment to lamps and I too have this hand-me-down one made of bronze. It is pretty heavy and tough to handle…so brought out on special occasions only. For every day use I have a smaller one in brass. I found this lovely and divine-smelling til-oil specially made for diyas that are enriched with camphor and other aromatic herbs.
    A lovely post Sunita!
    @KalaRavi16 from
    Kala Ravi recently posted…Lighting for your HomeMy Profile

    • Bellybytes says:

      Thanks for the tip on the fragrant oil. Perhaps it will help do away with the agarbatti that can sometimes irritate the throat. What brand is it and can you buy it in Mumbai?

  4. Lata Sunil says:

    Its a soothing feeling when this lamp is lit.

  5. Sunila Vig says:

    Beautiful post 🙂 I love diyas of all shapes, sizes and material and we light our bronze ones for Puja twice a day. The whole thing, like you have written , fills us with peace and the soft glow calms us down and centres us too. I will be back to read more next week, since I am away running a yoga retreat the next 3 days 🙂

    • Bellybytes says:

      Lucky you …. It’s been my dream to go for a yoga retreat . These days I’m just down to the 5 Tibetans and sometimes if I’m lucky I can manage a few asanas. Where is the retreat? Do enjoy yourself!

  6. rajlakshmi says:

    that a beautiful lamp and I can imagine how much cleaning you must have done to keep it as shiny as this. We have a similar lamp back home which gets easily dirty due to regular use.

    A Whimsical Medley
    Twinkle Eyed Traveller
    rajlakshmi recently posted…The Lehenga Conundrum #atozchallengeMy Profile

  7. S. M. Pace says:

    What a lovely tradition. Thank you for sharing it. We burn scented oil sometimes as part of our family prayers. It’s a very peaceful time of the day.

  8. Tina Basu says:

    I have a very similar Puja Oil Lamp in brass!
    Tina From
    The Sunny Side of Life
    Twinkling Tina Cooks
    Tina Basu recently posted…LETTUCE, GRILLED TOMATO AND CHICKEN SALADMy Profile

  9. Alana says:

    Another thing I did not know and learned from being introduced to the original Write Tribe – how beautiful. It made me peaceful just reading this post.
    Alana recently posted…Library Love #AtoZChallengeMy Profile

  10. Liz A. says:

    It’s beautiful.

  11. Debbie D says:

    I didn’t know oil lamps were in common use anymore. That’s a lovely one! 🙂 I have a small, brass one, a souvenir from somewhere (can’t remember the details), that is shaped like Aladdin’s lamp.
    Debbie D recently posted…N is for NEWFOUNDLAND | #AtoZChallengeMy Profile

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