Pradakshina in Hinduism

by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)

The parikrama or the pradakshina or the circumambulation means circling the sacred object. It has deeper meaning in the religious space connecting the devotee to the cosmos.

It is performed by circumambulating around a sacred person, sacred image, a sacred object or a temple in a clockwise direction. It identifies four key elements such as destination, movement, magnitude and motivation.

The movement here encompasses an object: a temple, a holy site, a sacred mountain, a lake, a river, a city, and even includes circling around oneself.

It has several meanings such as honoring, centering, bonding, setting apart, and reaffirmation of the sacred territorial claim. It also symbolizes the completeness yet continuity, fulfillment and quest, contentment and pursuit, comprehension and mystery.

The Hindu temples are designed in such a way with passageways to facilitate the circumambulation.
It takes the worshipper from the doorway of the sanctuary, housing the image of symbol of the Deity, around the sanctuary in a clockwise direction where further icons introduce other aspects of the divine. 

There is a popular legend about the importance of pradakshina.

The story of Lord Ganesha who circumambulates around his parents reveals from the Hindu scriptures that circumambulating around the parents is accorded a higher status than circumambulating the entire universe.

It also emphasizes on the fact that parents occupy the same status as god.


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