Parikrama or Pradakshina refers to circumambulation of sacred places
in Hindu, Jain or
Buddhist context, and the path along which this is
Parikrama means "the path surrounding something" in
Sanskrit, and is also known as Pradakshina ("to the right"),
representing circumambulation. Both words are mostly used in the
context of religious deities in a temple, sacred rivers, sacred hills
and a close cluster of temples, and "doing a parikrama" as a symbol of
prayer is an integral part of
Hindu worship. In
other Indian religions, the
Parikrama inside temples or sacred sites
is traditionally clockwise.
Hindu temple structures include various Pradaksina paths.
Pradaksina paths are defined. as:
Circumbulatory or pathway around the shrine of the temples by keeping
time is a common form of prayer in India.It includes
Narmada,Shetrunjaya,Girnar. This pathway made of stone around the
shrine is called Pradakshina path.
There could be one surrounding the main deity, other paths could be
broader being concentric to the main path. However, it is not uncommon
to find non-concentric parikrama paths in a single temple structure.
At times the outermost parikrama path covers the whole
village/town/city, thereby implying that the length of the path can
Parikrama is done around sacred fire (
Agni – the fire God), Tulsi
plant (Ocimum tenuiflorum) and Peepal tree.
Agni Pradakshina is a part of the
Hindu marriage ceremony. Some of
the Parikramas are Narmada River, Govardhan hill, Vrindavan, Vraj
Mandala, Dwadash Madhav parikrama Tirthraj Prayag, Ayodhya, Girnar,
Chitrakoot hill, Varanasi, Mathura, and Mathura-
in Kartik .....
Parikrama is done after the completion of traditional
worship (puja) and after paying homage to the deity.
supposed to be done with a meditative mood.
The pathway made of granite stone around the shrine is called the
Pradakshina around the sacred fire is a part of the
Parikrama is also practiced in Buddhism, Jainism and
2 Similarity and difference with Islam
3.1 Shiva temples
3.2.1 Narmada parikrama
3.2.2 Govardahan hill parikrama
Vraja Mandala Parikrama
3.4 Shayana Pradakshinam
3.5 Number of Pradakshinas
4 See also
Buddhist monks and devotees circumambulating a stupa
Pradakhshina round a stupa in China
Buddhism circumambulation or pradakhshina has been an important
ritual since early times. Sacred structures such as stupa or images
have a pradakhshina path around them. The chaitya is a distinct
ancient type of building that only survives in Indian rock-cut
architecture, a hall with a stupa at the far end, always built with a
rounded apse-like end, to alllow pradakhshina. A mandapa (prayer
hall), added in the front transforms the original stupa into the stupa
shrine — as a sacred entity which requires a circumambulatory path
around it for the purpose of worship. The whole structure is planned
in such a way that it becomes the centre of the mandala and
symbolically represents Mount Meru.
Buddhist faithful may perform pradakhshina by prostrating themselves
at every step, thus greatly prolonging the process. The most extreme
pradakhshina is that of the sacred
Mount Kailash in Tibet, a mountain
trek some 52 km (32 mi) long, at altitudes between 15,000 ft (4,600 m)
and 18,200 ft (5,500 m). This may also be undertaken by Hindus and
Jains, and some pilgrims progress by prostration, taking some weeks.
Similarity and difference with Islam
Parikrama in Hinduism, Muslims perform circumambulation around
Kaaba during their
Hajj which they call tawaf. The
Hajj is done in a counterclockwise manner.
Buddhist traditions, in contrast, circumambulate a shrine or
sacred site clockwise. The only exception is during paying last
respects to a dead body during a cremation or event marking a funeral,
where the traditional circumambulation in Indian religions is
A legend related to goddess Parvati (Shiva's wife) and her two sons
illustrates the importance of Pradakshina or Parikrama. It is said
that the goddess asked her two sons to circumambulate the universe to
gain worldly knowledge. While her first son Kartikeyan spent decades
to go round the world on his peacock, his second son
Ganesha walked a
full circle around his mother and justified his action by stating that
World was contained within the figure of the mother. This legend
justifies the importance that Hindus attach to the practice of
Parikrama, and also the importance of motherhood in
Another (patriarchal) version of the same story replaces the figure of
Parvati with Shiva himself. 
In Shiva temples, the devotees start the Pradakshina as usual from the
front and go clockwise till they reach the gomukhi (the outlet for
abhisheka water) from the Sanctum Sanctorum. As usual the clockwise
perambulation is maintained outside of the Bali stones. The drainage
outlet for the ritual ablution offered on the Shiva Linga with water,
milk, curd, coconut water, ghee, ashes (bhasma)etc. is not to be
crossed. So the worshippers have to return in anti-clockwise direction
till they reach the other side of the drainage outlet to complete the
circle. During this anti-clockwise perambulation, the devotee should
tread a path inside of the Bali stones. The Bali stones are always to
be kept the right side of the devotees. After reaching the drainage
oulet, they have to return to the front in the clockwise direction
keeping the path outside the Bali stones. Thus one Pradakshina is
The importance of the
Narmada River as sacred is testified by the fact
that the pilgrims perform a holy pilgrimage of a
Circumambulation of the river. The Narmada Parikrama, as it is called,
is considered to be a meritorious act that a pilgrim can undertake.
Many sadhus (saints) and pilgrims walk on foot from the
Arabian Sea at
Bharuch in Gujarat, along the river, to the source in Maikal Mountains
Amarkantak hills) in
Madhya Pradesh and back along the opposite bank
of the river. It is a 2,600-kilometre (1,600 mi) walk. The
Parikrama is also performed along the southern bank from its source
Amarkantak hills) to the mouth (Bharuch) and returning along the
northern bank, and it is considered to be of the highest religious
During the Narmada Parikrama, devotees have to pass through a place
called Shulpaneshwar ki Jhari, a religious place in
Gujarat with links
dating back to the
Mahabharata epic story. The legend says that the
Pandavas returning victorious from
Kurukshetra war were intercepted at
Eklavya and his group of tribal
Bhils and looted them
(Pandvaas) of all their belongings. Since then it is a custom that
pilgrims on a Narmada Parikrama, while passing through this place,
expect to be stripped of all their belongings leaving them with the
bare essentials to carry on till some philonthropists give them
donations on the way to carry on. With construction of the Sardar
Sarovar Dam in
Gujarat on the Narmada River, the Shulpaneshwar Temple
has submerged under the reservoir, necessitating the pilgrims to take
a circuitous route to continue on their journey.
Govardahan hill parikrama
Govardhan Temple starting point of Govardhan Parikrama
Govardhan hill which has great religious significance in view of its
association with Lord Krishna, presently at its highest point is just
25-metre (82 ft) high and is a wide hill near Mathura Vrindavan
in Uttar Pradesh, India. It is a narrow sandstone hill known as
Giriraj which is about 8 kilometres (5 mi) in length. After
Krishna protected the inhabitants of
Vraj Vridavan from the wrath of
Indra, he counseled them to worship
Govardhana hill and they did by
way of a Puja (worship) and a
Parikrama (circumambulation) around the
hill.Thus, a festival in commemoration of the lifting of Mount
Govardhan, near Mathura, by
Krishna came into vogue as 'Govardhan
Puja' when Mount Govardhan is worshipped, the day after Deepawali
(festival of lights) is celebrated. Pious people keep awake the whole
night and cook 56 (or 108) different types of food for the bhog (the
offering of food to God) to Krishna. This ceremony is called 'ankut'
or 'annakuta' which means a mountain of food. Various types of food
– cereals, pulses, fruit, vegetables, chutneys, pickles, and salads
– are offered to the Deity and then distributed as 'prasada' to
devotees. Thousands of devotees bring offerings for Giriraj. Followed
by this pooja, the devotees perform the Govardhana Parikrama.
Krishna lifting the Govardhana hill
Parikrama [circumambulation — going 21 kilometres
(13 mi) around the hill] is a sacred ritual performed by many
believers as spiritual purification. There is no time limit for
performing this Parikrama, but for those who perform the dandavata
(full prostration) Parikrama, an arduous form which may take weeks and
sometimes even months to complete. Dandavata
Parikrama is performed by
standing in one spot, offering obeisances like a stick (danda) by
lying flat on the ground and then continuing, contiguously, till the
entire route is covered. It is also said that some sadhus (
men) perform 108 obeisances in one spot before moving to the next.
This can take a number of months to complete.
This ritual of
Parikrama is considered to be even better if is it done
with milk. A clay pot filled with milk, with a hole at the bottom, is
carried by the devotees in one hand and a pot filled with dhoop
(incense smoke) in another. An escort continuously fills up the pot
with milk till the parikrama is completed.
Parikrama is also done with
candy being handed out to children, en route. The divine tree
'Kalpavriksha' planted by GreenMan Vijaypal Baghel at each Kunda of
this parikrma route, not only Kalpavriksha, he is planting with
dedication much more others traditional & medicinal flora's
species around holy
Govardhan hill likely 'Tridev Vriksha', paras
peepal, Rudraksha, Kadmba, pakad, vat vriksha etc who have spiritual
and religious values to make Green Parikrma.
Parikrama of Govardhana
hill starts at the Manasi-Ganga Kund (lake) and then after having
darsan of Lord Harideva, from Radha-kunda village, where the Vrindavan
road meets the parikrama path. After parikrama of 21 kilometres,
covering important tanks, shilas and shrines such as Radha Kunda,
Syama Kunda, Dan Ghati, Mukharavinda, Rinamochana Kunda, Kusuma
Sarovara and Punchari, it ends at Mansi Ganga Kund only.
Parikrama is a spiritual walk undertaken by devotees around
Vrindavan town in Uttar Pradesh. It has no particular start or end
place. As long as you end at the same place you start, the purpose is
served. One possible path is to start from the famous
covers a distance of 10 km (6.2 mi)in about three hours. It
is generally done on Ekadasi (eleventh lunar day of the waxing and
waning of Moon). The route followed is from
ISKCON temple, walk close
Balarama Temple, the Krishna-
Balarama tree, Gautam
Rishi's Ashrama (located on the left while on the right is Varaha
Ghata), the Kaliya Ghata, Madana Mohana Temple with red sandstone
tower, small wooden bridge, to Imli Tala, the Imli Tala tree, Sringara
Vata (on the right), the Kesi
Ghat (one of the famous Monuments in
Vrindavan), the Tekari Rani temple, the Jagannatha temple and the
small temple of Lord
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and in the final stretch
cross the Mathura-
Vrindavan road. After crossing this road, after
another 1 km walking, reach the starting point of the Parikrama.
During the Parikrama, one chants the mantras (
Jap or Hymns ) within,
uses body power (Tap) to accomplish the
Parikrama and keeps a fast
(not eat anything) (Vrata) till the
Parikrama is completed.
Vraja Mandala Parikrama
Since 500 years
Parikrama has been performed during
October–November months. It is 84 Krosh long, taking 1-2 months
depending on the route and speed visits twelve forests, known as vans,
and twenty-four groves, known as upavans. The twelve forests are
Madhuvan, Talavan, Kumudvan, Bahulavan, Kamavan, Khadiravan,
Vrindavan, Bhadravan, Bhandiravan, Belvan, Lohavan, and Mahavan. The
twenty-four groves are Gokul, Govardhan, Barsana, Nandagram, Sanket,
Paramadra, Aring, Sessai, Mat, Uchagram, Kelvan, Sri Kund,
Gandharvavan, Parsoli, Bilchhu, Bacchavan, Adibadri, Karahla, Ajnokh,
Pisaya, Kokilavan, Dadhigram, Kotvan, and Raval.
In the temple city of
Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, India, Panchkosi
Parikrama is performed over a two-day period. Devotees first take a
holy dip in the
Saryu River and then do a
Parikrama of 15 km
along the periphery of the city. It is said that over two hundred
thousand devotees including around 50 thousand sadhus from Prayag
(Allahabad), Haridwar, Mathura and Kashi (Varanasi) participate in the
parikrama, and full security arrangements are made for the religious
Parikrama is a seven-day festival held at
Junagadh district of Gujarat, India. The pilgrimage
involves a climb of 10,000 steps to reach the top to the sacred Mount
Girnar venerated by both Hindus and Jains. The Jains call it Mount
Neminath. Devotees from all over the country participate in the
festival. Of the seven peaks of Girnar, five are important viz.,
Ambamata, Gorakhnath, Augadh,
Guru Dattatreya and Kalika. Bhavnath
Shiv temple, Bhartruchari cave, Sorath Mahal, Bhim Kund and Shiv Kund.
Devotees visit these sacred places during the parikarama.
The temple structure reflects the symbolism of the
of the spiritual transition from daily life to spiritual perfection as
a journey through stages.
Parikrama paths are present through which
worshipers move in a clockwise direction, starting at the sanctuary
doorway and moving inward toward the inner sanctum where the deity is
enshrined. This represents translation of the spiritual concept of
transition through levels in life into bodily movements by the
worshipers as they move inwardly through ambulatory halls to the most
sacred centre of spiritual energy of the deity.
Shayana Pradakshinam is done by prostration in a lying posture. It
starts with a Sashtanga Namaskara in front of the sanctum sanctorum.
In Sashtanga Namaskara, the devotees have eight parts of their bodies
touching the ground. Thus forehead, chest, shoulders, hands and knees
touch the ground. The folded hands will be directed always towards the
deity. In this pose, the devotees circumambulate on the Pradakshina
path. The relatives and friends of the devotees help them to roll
Number of Pradakshinas
For each deity, the minimum number of Pradakshinas to be done are
Subrahmanya (Karthikeya): 6
Durga, Devi: 4
Peepal Tree: 7
Soorya : 2
The Swayambhu Agama says that doing Pradakshina 21 times to any deity
is sanctified.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Parikrama.
48 kos parikrama of Kurukshetra
Dwadash Madhav Parikrama, Tirthraj Prayag
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Worship in Hinduism
Jai Sri Ram
Om Namah Shivaya
Fruits and other plants
Tulsi (Tulasi chaura
South Asian wedding
By region or culture
Arunachal Pradesh (Panchai baja)
Kerala (Kettu Kalyanam)
Sri Lanka (Buddhist)
Arranged marriage in India
Inter caste marriage
Balle Mallarada Puje
Gaye holud (Bengali)
Gurus and saints