Puttentrukalu or Gundu or Mundan or First Tonsure is a Hindu ritual of shaving the baby’s first hair on the scalp. It is usually done in the 1st year (odd months-7,9 or 11) or in the 3rd year. There are many scientific and spiritual reasons for this. In Hinduism, the Puttentrukalu is one of 16 purification rituals known as Shodasha Samskara. The ceremony is believed to rid the baby of any negativity from their past life while promoting mental and spiritual development. The other popular belief is that it improves the growth of the baby’s hair and ensures thicker and fuller hair. I am eager to check if it’s just a myth or it really works, only time will tell.
Traditional Puttentrukalu / Gundu Ceremony
The ceremony is usually performed in the temple. The priest does the puja inside the temple then you go to the section of the temple where Mundan takes place. As per the Hindu Telugu rituals, menamama (mother’s brother) does the whole ceremony. The baby sits on the menamama’s lap, he cuts 3 strands of the baby’s hair with a scissor then the barber shaves the head.
Puttentrukalu / Gundu Ceremony In the USA
Puja at the Temple
On the 7th of December, Vihaan completed 9 months. We wanted to do his Gundu before he entered into the 10th month. My FIL suggested Dec 2nd as an auspicious day for the ceremony. I called our local Shiva Vishnu Temple (my favorite temple in the USA so far) to ask if they offer Puttenrukalu services and if they have a barber available in the temple to complete the ceremony. They suggested we sign up for the Chaula karma puja. I never heard of the term before. I immediately googled to find that “Chaula Karma” literally means the first haircut of the baby.
On the temple website, they listed all the materials we were required to carry with us for the puja like Tumeric, Sindoor, new pair of scissors, flowers, coconut, Incense sticks, etc. We didn’t have any pictures from the puja cause both our phones were occupied with video calls with our parents and siblings.
The priest started the ceremony with the Ganapati Pooja followed by reciting a few Veda mantras. Since my brother wasn’t here, the priest asked Rajesh to hold Vihaan in his lap and cut 5 strands of his hair, 3 from the left side of his head and 2 from the right side. I saved the hair strands in a piece of white cloth so we can take them to India.
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Shave at a Children’s Saloon
After the puja, I booked an appointment at a children’s salon near our house to shave his head. I was very scared about how he will do but he surprised us all He didn’t cry or fuss during the whole process. He was checking himself out in the mirror 🙂 and probably wondering what the heck was happening. Watch the video above for this reaction!
just like that in 5 mins, we have the cutest gundu boss in the family 😀 the whole process was very fuss-free and nothing like I imagined. The traditional process might have been a different experience. But the shortcut process really felt like a shortcut- quick and simple.
The stylists at Pigtails and Crewnecks saloon were super sweet, fast, and efficient. By the time Vihaan started to get impatient, the shave was complete. It might also be because he didn’t have a lot of hair, which I never thought will be an advantage, lol!
After coming home, I tried taking a picture of him but he wasn’t feeling it hence the crying picture. I gave him a bath and all was well in his life all over again.
The saloon also gave us a memorandum of the event for an extra $4. I thought it was worth it!
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Vihaan Traditional Dhoti set here, Western knit set here