In our Native place the "Chitthirai Thiruvizha" is celebrated with much fan fare. Especially Chithra Pournami which falls in the month of Chitthirai is considered very auspicious as the "Ther" funtion is held on that day. All the four "Mada" streets around the temple volunteer in making this "Paangam" and "Kanji" on this day and serve the devotees who visit the temple on this day.

The "Thiruvilaku" Pooja will be held in the evening after which all the devotees are served hot kovil Sarkarai pongal and Puliodharai in small "Dhonnais" and in cut plantain leaves. We kids back then used to have a field day and would be so filled up after drinking cups and cups of Paanagam and kanji in the mornings that we skip the lunch in the afternoon and the pongal that would be dripping with ghee is enough to put us off dinner. 

During the night, in a big ground next to the temple the screening of old devotional tamil films will be screened giving the feel of today's open air drive in theater. The kids would fall asleep during the course of the movies and we can see the elders carrying the sleepy kids on their shoulders heading home after the screening. The ground would be surrounded by lots of neem trees that you would never feel the heat and humidity.

Times have changed and I miss the old times like anything and feel so frustrated that I cannot turn the clock back. Anyway the memories are there, just mine to cherish for a lifetime.

You’ll Need:
Lemon – 2
Water – 4 cups
Grated Jaggery – 1 cup
Cardamom – 2 pods (crushed)
Edible camphor / Paccha karpooram – 1 pinch
Dry ginger powder / Sukku powder – 2 pinch
Salt – 1 pinch
Neem flowers - 1/4 tsp (optional)

In a vessel mix the jaggery with water and let it dissolve completely. Pass it through a sieve to filter any impurities. Now squeeze the lemons in this jaggery water. Add the crushed cardamoms, paccha karpooram, dry ginger powder and salt and mix well.

Adjust the lemon and the jaggery according to your taste. you can also use sugar instead of jaggery when having this as a drink to quench your thirst. 

Health Benefits: Using Jaggery in drinks during the summer time reduces the tiredness and refreshes you within minutes. In fact my Grandma used to make us suck on a a big chunk of jaggery whenever we return home from outside in the hot sun.

This thirst quenching Paanagam is off to my event "Fun N Sun" and to Sukanya's Summer Coolers

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