Lakh Batti is a Hindu ceremony performed to bring upon divine intervention in order to change the course of one’s life. “Lakh” meaning a hundred thousand, and “Batti” meaning lights is a puja ceremony of lighting hundred thousand lights made by wringing strands out of small blobs of cotton.
According to shastras (scriptures), your place is secured in heaven when you perform this puja. Legend has it that lakh batti rite can wash away impurities and bring about positive results out of all three karmas, if performed in conformity to the guidelines in scriptures.
A night before the puja the battis are soaked in ghee or oil extracted from til (sesame) or mustard seed in an earthen pot. The battis are made out of cotton blobs and are about three inches in length. On the day of puja, a priest is usually called in to conduct the puja. Once the ritual is over, the lights are kindled. As the battis are lighted, the puja hosts and their family and relatives crowd around the earthen pot, throw their hands closer to the flame and roll back to place over their closed eyes. The Lakh batti puja is followed by a feast and the relatives of the hosts alike share the blessing.
Like other ancient traditions, it is difficult to ascertain when or who started the lakh batti rite. Legend has it that laxmana, an upper caste female, married a lower caste male called bhujanga soon after her husband died. Laxmana, however, felt guilty for not keeping her widows’ chastity. One day she met a hermit called yajaka and asked him ways to reprimand her guilt. The hermit told her to perform a lakh batti rite that cleanses all karmic doshas (blemishes) and opens doors of good fortune.
Ever since then Lakh batti puja is performed by Hindus in the months of Kartik, Magh and Baisakh.