There are 2 common varieties of Indian gooseberries, one is smaller and the other is big and round and it is commonly called amla in Northern India and peria nellikai in Tamil. It is also popularly called amalaki fruit in Sanskrit. Both varieties of amlas are packed with vitamin c and is very good for health but the bigger variety has more health benefits and is regarded very highly in Ayurveda. We should try to include amlas in our diet a lot to get all the heath benefits it offers.

My niece loves gooseberries and whenever she visits, she loves picking goose berries and making a salad out of it. Though she doesn’t know cooking much, her salad is one of the best. She used to pick fresh gooseberries, remove the seeds, cut them into fine pieces and then add pomegranate seeds to it along with salt, homemade sambar powder and little bit of raw coconut oil to it. This salad is crunchy, sweet and sour and one of the richest source of vitamin c and very very tasty.

When I was younger, I used to spend most of my time playing under the amla tree. Me and my playmates used to love collecting amlas and we use to mix it with the divine combination – (uppu & milagu podi in Tamil) salt and homemade chilli powder mix for eating it. Amlas in any form is packed with vitamin c and you can also use dried amla, if you don’t get fresh amlas in your place. You can also try using good quality amla powder | nellikai powder.

We also use amlas extensively for making homemade products for the hair and they really are very effective. I love only the smaller variety for eating as it tastes really good but after getting to know the benefits of the bigger variety of amla, I am trying my best to include it in my diet a lot. I have also found tasty ways to include it in my diet like honey in amla, dried amla, etc.

These also store well and are best done when the amlas are in season. Try getting organic amlas and make sure to buy mature ones and try making the products when the amlas are still fresh. Side effects of amalaki: As far as I know it is safe but for people who are suffering from acidity, having it in empty stomach might cause discomfort.

Benefits Of Amla For Hair, Skin & Health:

1. Amla Hair Pack For Hair Growth:

Few days back, my sister sent me a bag of amlas from her farm. The first thing I made with it is this homemade amla hair mask. There are plenty of reasons for us to lose our hair and the one factor on the top of that list, is a scalp with weak hair. I personally feel, regular home made hair packs helps to strengthen the roots of the hair nicely, without the harsh chemicals from the store bought ones.

This amla hair pack is rich in vitamin c. It helps to prevent dandruff and also helps to strengthen the roots thus preventing hair fall, if used regularly. This hair pack also prevents premature greying. Amlas in any form, be it a home made hair oil, hair pack or a hair rinse is really great for the hair. Try to use organic variety gooseberries for this hair pack. I have used the regular full fat milk and it also conditions the hair well.

To make this amla hair pack, first pound the amlas in a mortar and pestle and remove the seeds from it. Boil the amlas in a double boiler using full fat milk. If we boil amlas directly in milk, the milk will curdle. I used a bamboo steamer for steaming them. Once it is fully steamed, grind it to a fine paste with the milk used for steaming the goose berries. The smoother the mixture, the easier it will be to apply on the scalp. Enjoy using it as a hair pack!

2. Amla Hair Oil For Hair Loss:

This homemade amla hair oil is especially useful for people, who have a drying and thinning hair. Amla hair oil promotes hair growth, conditions the hair well and brings the natural shine to it, if used regularly. Usually this oil is used as pre-shampoo treatment.

This amla hair oil is massaged well into the scalp and left for at least 30 minutes before washing the hair with arappu | mild shampoo. Coconut oil is used as a base for this oil. I can’t think of a better oil for hair than coconut oil but try using virgin coconut oil. I use the coconut oil that we get from the coconuts in our farm.

To make this oil, remove the seeds from the goose berries and grind them finely without adding water in a blender. Squeeze out the juice and measure it. Take equal quantity of coconut oil and heat them together till the moisture evaporates. Cool and strain. You have made your own wonderful hair oil!

3. Amla Hair Rinse For Hair Growth:

This amla hair rinse prevents dandruff and itchy scalp very effectively. We get many amla based shampoos, hair oils and hair packs in the market. But when we make our own products, we know what goes into it and it is always better than a store bought one. To make this hair rinse, first remove the seeds from the amlas. Boil water in a wide pan along with amlas.

Once the amlas have softened, take it off the flame. Add all the fresh henna leaves at once and close with a lid. When you open the lid after a few minutes, you will find that the henna leaves have lost their bright green color. Let the henna leaves steep in the water till the water comes to room temperature. Strain and discard the henna leaves and amlas. Use it as a final hair rinse after you shampoo your hair.

4. Amalaki (Nellikai) In Honey:

Last week, I was reading a medical journal in which a person had described his experience with anemia. Due to some illness, his red blood count had gone dangerously low. After struggling for some time to improve it, he was advised to take amlas that are soaked in honey, by an ayurvedic practitioner. He had reported that his anemic level raised remarkably after consuming them daily. Vitamin c in the amlas, help in iron absorption and honey is wonderful in raising the blood count.

Though I don’t like fresh amlas, I love this amlas soaked in honey. They taste wonderful and doesn’t have any bitterness at all. Regular consumption of this amla in honey increases the blood count. It is especially important for Indian women, as almost 55% are anemic. We get honey soaked amlas in shops too, but they are very expensive. To make amla in honey at home, wash the amlas and pierce it all over a fork. Arrange the pricked gooseberries in a glass bottle and pour pure honey on top. Close with a lid and keep it in sunlight for few days, till the amlas leach out water completely.

Now take the amlas alone in another dry bottle and pour fresh honey on top, now this amla in honey mixture will last a long time. There is also an another method- deseed the amlas, after cutting it in half, dry in sunlight till the water has completely dried out. Once the amlas come to room temperature, add the honey till it is full immersed and wait for the amlas to soften. Both methods need hot sunlight, choose the method you prefer and find convenient. This can be safely consumed by pregnant women.

5. Amalaki | Nellikai Juice:

Nellikai juice has amazing health benefits and it can be made easily at home. It is rich in vitamin c and is a natural blood purifier. It is good for digestion and treats mouth odor and it is also a perfect weight loss food. It also wards of cold if consumed regularly and treats acidity too. When making amla juice, make and drink it immediately. All the recipes for amla juice is made with white sugar and I find it takes the real benefit out of the juice.

Because we are adding the sugar and making a pulp out of the fruit and straining it, the juice spikes up our blood sugar and it is not ideal for people who are trying to loose weight and even diabetic and older people can’t consume it on a daily basis. When I was trying out different recipes, I really like this recipe as it does not spike the blood sugar level like sugar based nellikai juice and everyone can consume this juice even daily without any side effects and it also keeps one satiated for a long time.

It also aids in digestion and treats all the stomach disorders. To make the juice, wash the goose berries and remove the seeds. Take the cut gooseberries, 2 tbsp of fresh yogurt that is not sour, a small pinch of salt & pepper, a small piece of fresh ginger and ice cubes in a blender. Whip it till it is frothy and your homemade healthy amla juice is ready. This drink if had often will give a nice glow to the skin, especially if given to children.



“கொரோனா புண்ணியத்துல முழு நேர விவசாயியாகிட்டேன்!” – `பாண்டியன் ஸ்டோர்ஸ்’ ஸ்டாலின்

விஜய் டிவியின் ஹிட் சீரியலான `பாண்டியன் ஸ்டோர்ஸ்’ தொடரில் குடும்பத்தின் மூத்த மகனாக, மளிகைக் கடை நடத்தி தம்பிகளைக் கரைசேர்க்கும் பொறுப்பான அண்ணனாக நடிக்கும் ஸ்டாலினின் சொந்த ஊர் தேனி.

விஜய் டிவியின் ஹிட் சீரியலான `பாண்டியன் ஸ்டோர்ஸ்’ தொடரில் குடும்பத்தின் மூத்த மகனாக, மளிகைக் கடை நடத்தி தம்பிகளைக் கரைசேர்க்கும் பொறுப்பான அண்ணனாக நடிக்கும் ஸ்டாலினின் சொந்த ஊர் தேனி. இயக்குநர் பாரதிராஜாவின் உறவினரான இவருக்கு, `சரவணன் மீனாட்சி’ முதல் சீசன், `ஆண்டாள் அழகர்’, `பாசமலர்கள்’ என சீரியல் ஏரியாவில் பெரிய பின்னணி உண்டு. ஆனாலும் இப்போதுவரை சீரியலின் ஷூட்டிங் இருந்தால் மட்டுமே சென்னையில் தங்குவதை வழக்கமாக வைத்திருக்கிறார். மற்ற நாள்களில் சொந்த ஊரில்தான் இருப்பார்.

கொரோனாவால் சீரியல்களின் படப்பிடிப்புகள் நிறுத்தப்பட்டுள்ள இந்தச் சூழலில் அவரிடம் பேசினோம்.

“எங்க சுத்தினாலும் நாமெல்லாம் கிராமத்தான்தான்யா’ன்னு டைரக்டர் (பாரதிராஜா) அடிக்கடிச் சொல்வார். அவர் பின்னாடி வந்தவன்தானே, அதான் அதே கிராமத்துப் பாசம். சென்னையில இருந்தா மட்டுமே சீரியல், சினிமாவுல நீடிக்க முடியும்னு எத்தனையோ பேர் எங்கிட்டயும் சொன்னாங்க. `அப்படி நீ அங்க தங்கிட்டா, உன் ஊரு, வீடு, காடு, மக்களோட தொடர்பு விடுபட்டுப் போயிடும்’னு மனசு எச்சரிச்சது. சுதாரிச்சிட்டேன்.

திராட்சை, எலுமிச்சைன்னு இங்கன விவசாயம் போயிட்டிருக்கு. கொரோனாவுக்கு முந்தைய நாள்கள்லயே பதினைஞ்சு நாள் சென்னையில ஷூட்டிங் இருந்தா, பதினாறாவது நாள் காலையில தேனியில இறங்கினா, பல்லு தேய்க்கிறேனோ இல்லையோ நேரா தோட்டத்துக்குதான் போவேன். அப்ப அந்தச் செடிகொடிகள்லாம் அசையும் பாருங்க.. `அப்பாடா வந்துட்டியா’னு கேக்கற மாதிரி ஒரு ஃபீல் கிடைக்கும். உணர்ந்தவங்களுக்கு மட்டுமே இது புரியும்.

இப்ப கோரோனா புண்ணியத்துல கடந்த 15 நாளா முழுநேர விவசாயியா இதுங்க கூடயே கிடக்கறேன். தண்ணி பாய்ச்ச, பழம் பறிக்கன்னு அடிக்கிற வெயில்ல வேர்வை சிந்த உழைச்சா ஒரு பிணி உடல்ல ஒட்டாது. அதனால எம்பாட்டுக்குத் தோட்ட வேலை பார்த்திட்டிருக்கேன்’’ என்றவர், கொஞ்சம் ஆசுவாசப்படுத்திக் கொண்டவராய் தொடர்ந்தார்.

“அதேநேரம் கொரோனா பத்தி தினமும் வர்ற செய்திகள்தான் கவலையளிக்குது. மருந்தே கண்டுபிடிக்கப்படலைங்கிற சூழல்ல, வயசானவங்களுக்கு ரொம்ப ஆபத்துன்னு கேக்கறப்ப பகீர்னு இருக்கு. இருபது நாள் லாக் டெளன் முடிஞ்சு இன்னும் 20 நாளுக்கு அது தொடரும்னு அறிவிச்சிருக்காங்க. எவ்வளவோ தினக்கூலிகள் ரொம்பக் கஷ்டப்படுறாங்கங்கிற செய்தியும் வருது. கஷ்டத்தோட கஷ்டமா கொஞ்சம் பொறுத்துப் போறதைத் தவிர நமக்கு வேற வழி இல்லை. இந்த நிலைமையில இருந்து சீக்கிரமா மீண்டு வர்றது, அரசாங்கங்கள் சொல்றதைக் கேட்டு நாம தர்ற ஒத்துழைப்புலதான் இருக்கு’’ என்ற ஸ்டாலினிடம், `பாண்டியன் ஸ்டோர்ஸ்’ சீரியலின் சக நட்சத்திரங்கள் யாரிடமாவது பேசினீர்களா’ எனக் கேட்டோம்.

`ஒருத்தருக்கொருத்தர் பேசிட்டுதான் இருக்கோம். எங்க இருந்தா என்னங்க, இப்பத்தான் வீடியோ கால் அது இதுன்னு டெக்னாலஜி எங்கேயோ போயிடுச்சே. ஃப்ரியா இருக்கறவங்க போனைப் போட்டுக் கலாய்க்கத் தொடங்கிடுவாங்க. ‘பொறுப்பான அண்ணனா நீங்க, கொரோனா வந்ததும் தம்பிகளையெல்லாம் தவிக்க விட்டுட்டு கிராமத்துக்கு ஓடிட்டீங்களே’னு கூடக் கலாய்ச்சாங்க பசங்க. ஷூட்டிங் ஸ்பாட்ல ஒரே குடும்பமா பழகிட்டிருந்தோம். அந்த ஷூட்டிங் நாள்கள் மறுபடி எப்ப வரும்கிற ஏக்கம் ஒவ்வொருத்தருக்குமே வரத் தொடங்கிடுச்சு. என்னைப் பொறுத்தவரை `பாண்டியன் ஸ்டோர்ஸ்’ குடும்பத்தை ரொம்பவே மிஸ் பண்றேன். `எல்லாம் கடந்து போகும்’னு ஒரு வாக்கியம் இருக்கில்லையா? `கொரோனா’ தொலைஞ்சு பழையபடி அந்த ஷூட்டிங் நாள் சீக்கிரமே வரும்னு நம்புவோம்’’ என்கிறார்.

நன்றி – விகடன்.


A sanctuary dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

Vallipuram Alvar Vishnu Kovil is situated in Thunnalai, Vadamarachchi and is considered as one of the oldest Hindu temples in Jaffna. It is a sanctuary dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the preserver and protector of the universe as believed by many. There are many fascinating tales, all depicting Lord Vishnu’s divine power at work and the very beginning of the Kovil’s existence is steeped in legendary lore related to the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu. The annual festival of the Kovil is held during the months of September/October and the dates are determined according to the lunar calendar.


A magnificent Kovil situated near Kankasenthurai.

A shrine dedicated to Lord Skanda or Murugan, god of war and the second son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi. The Maviddapuram Kandaswamy Kovil is located close to Kankesanthurai, which was formerly known as Gayathurai. However, since the image of Lord Skanda, also known as Kankesan, first arrived in Gayathurai, it is believed that the name changed to Kankesanthurai. Maviddapuram, the place where the temple is situated translates to ‘the holy city where the horse face was removed’ (Ma – horse, vidda –removed and pura – holy city). It is believed that this legendary temple temple was built by a Chola Princess from Tamil Nadu. According to history princess Maruthapuraveegavallli, had a disfigured face resembling that of a horse. It is said that Maviddapuram is the place where the gods answered her prayers and transformed her appearance to that of a woman.

The architecture of the Kovil is breathtaking with elaborately decorated columns and a towering gopuram. The six faced statue of Lord Murugan is accompanied by statues of his wives Valli and Devanai. Devotees visit the Kovil all year around to seek the blessings of Lord Murugan.


A very old temple with natural spring ponds, believed to have medicinal properties.

Believed to have been built in the 7th century, Naguleswaram Temple in Keerimalai, Jaffna is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the five ancient Shiva temples in Sri Lanka. Its history predates the arrival of Prince Vijaya to the country and was once known as Thiruthambaleswaram Kovil of Keerimalai. A sequence of archways leads to the sanctum where the largest Sivalingam in Sri Lanka lies. It is said that the Sivalingam is made out of a very rare material. The temple festival is held during Maha Shivaratri and attracts many devotees. Maasi Magam and Aadi Amavasai(new moon) are also special days at the Naguleswaram temple. The Keerimalai natural spring ponds, which is said to have medicinal properties is just a short distance away from the temple.


A much revered Kovil located in the island of Nainativu, near Jaffna.

The Nagapooshani Amman Kovil is situated on the islet of Nainativu and is a boat ride away from the Jaffna peninsula. Dedicated to Nagapooshani Amman, an avatar of Durga, it is said that this temple has great divine power. The Kovil has four magnificent gopurams, the Raja raja Gopuram, rising to a height of 108 feet, East Gopuram, South East Gopuram and South Gopuram. Many devotees visit the Kovil, especially during the Mahostavam thiruvilla, which is celebrated during June and July. It is said that the statue of Goddess Nagapoosani with lingam and the ten headed Ravana at the bottom is  special to the kovil and is not to be found elsewhere. The Nagadeepa Buddhist temple is just a short distance away.


Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil is one of the famous Lord muruga hindu temple in Jaffna District . It’s located in Nallur.the temple was founded in 1948.

One of the most significant places of worship is Sri Lanka revered by all regardless of ethnic differences.

Built in 15th century CE, the Nallur Kovil in Jaffna is sacred to the Hindu believers of Sri Lanka. Incidentally, it was built by the adopted son of a Sinhala King, Parakramabahu VI of the Kotte Kingdom, who built it for the benefit of the Hindu populace of Jaffna after defeating the invading forces of the Vijayanagar Empire of South India. The original Nallur Kovil was razed to the ground by the Portuguese and later rebuilt in an adjacent location by the Dutch in 1734. The Nallur Kovil, set amidst the scorched terrain of the North, still has a sacredness that is radiated in the front courtyard, the Dravidian architecture and the majestic and ornately carved gopuram or tower at the entrance. There are many festivals at Nallur Kovil that attract Hindu devotees from around the world, in addition to the many spectators who take pleasure in the pomp and pageantry of the celebrations.