Skip to main content

How to do Pradakshinam (circumambulation) in a temple

All the heavenly bodies rotate on its axis as well as circumambulates around other objects like earth around the sun. It is symbolized in the Hindu custom of doing Pradakshinam around the deities in a temple or during a pooja.

Circumambulation around sanctum sanctorium in the temple or deities is called Pradakshinam (Pradakshina). It has to be done always in a clockwise manner with the deity on our right side during circumambulation.

The number of Pradakshinam that has to be done in a temple depends on the deity to whom we are offering it. According to some sources it is as follows.

1 – Ganapathy
2 – Aditya, BhadraKali
3 – Shiva
4 – Vishnu, Devi
5 – DharmaShastha
6 - Subrahmanya
7 – Durga, Banyan Tree
21 - Swayambhu

There are four different parts in a Pradakshinam. Walk one step at a time slowly, like measuring the length with our foot. Keep the hands folded like a lotus bud holding it close to the chest. Chant the names of the respective deity. Keep the thoughts fixed on God. During a Pradaskshinam one must walk as slowly as a full term pregnant woman walking with a vessel full of oil, taking care that not a drop of oil spills.

The manthra that is chanted during a Pradakshinam is

“Yaani kaani cha paapaani janmanthara kruthaani cha
Thaani thaani vinashyanthi pradakshina pade pade”

It means “Let the omissions and commissions done in this life and also in the previous births and the resulting afflictions perish with each and every step of a pradakshina.”

After the Pradakshinam, Namaskaram follows. If we do namaskaram to a deity inside the temple, we might inadvertently show our back to yet another deity. So in temples, it is safe to do namaskaram near the Dvajasthambam. It is believed that the divine chaitanya flows from the deity towards us in a serpentine fashion. Hence offer the namaskaram at about 30 degrees angle and not facing the sanctum sanctorum. It is better to do the namaskaram facing the north.

The mantra that is chanted just before the namaskaram after a pradakshinam is

“Thava thvam na jaanaami keedhrushosi mahaeshvara
Yaadhrushoasi mahaadaeva thaadhrushaaya namo namah”

It means “I don’t know your nature, Oh Maheswara. Whatever be your nature, I offer salutations to you who are of that nature.”

Then we offer salutations, chanting

“Pradakshina namaskaaraan samarpayaami”

It means “I offer you circumambulation and prostration.”


  1. Raman, This is a nice post. I was always curious about this. I have two doubts. What is Dvajasthambam? And, how do Navagrahas factor into this if the temple has the Navagrahas?

  2. Dvajasthambam is the Kodimaram in Tamil. It is the flag post. You can see it in front of a temple before you enter inside.

    Some people prefer to do 9 pradakshinams (one for each) around the Navagrahas. Usually the idols are in a 3x3 matrix and individual pradakshinam is not possible.

  3. It is proper to do Pradakshinam by carrying oil lamp?

  4. App for keeping track of pradhakshina is available for Android and Apple devices:


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Sacred Saligramam ( Saligrama )

If you ever happened to have a look inside a Vaishnavite's Pooja room, you might have had a glimpse of a black stone called Saligramam being worshipped. It is usually black in color with the symbol of sudarshana chakra. The chakras can be seen both outside and inside. The Saligrama stone is not believed to be just another stone found in the nature. It is found only at Gandaki River situated high in the Himalayas in Nepal. It is believed that the chakra symbols are formed by river worms called Vajra Keeta. It is believed that these worms drill the stones, get inside and use the stones a dwelling place.

There is a legend behind the origin of Saligramam. Once upon a time, Lord Siva was waging a war with an asura called Jallundhara. The war seemed to be between two equals and not just another war of a God with a demon. It was in fact a test of chastity of their consorts. (It is a Hindu belief that chastity of the wife protects her husband even from death) Lord Siva knew that unless th…

Namakarana - Naming ceremony

Naming a baby is a religious ceremony for the Hindus. In Kerala, usually a baby boy is named on the 27th day after birth and a girl is named on the 28th day after birth. The right day for the ceremony is defined by Gruhyasutras and there are different opinions for the same. Even these dates were to be postponed if there is any lack of religious propriety as in events like a Sankranti, Sraddha ceremony etc. On that day, the baby is given a bath and a black thread is tied around the waist. There will be a feast and distribution of sweets like "payasam". Later, either the father, uncle, grandma or the most senior person of a household whispers thrice into the right ear of the baby, his or her name for the first time.

But according to Sastras, the naming ceremony is supposed to be conducted on the 11th day or 101the day. Different kinds of pujas and homams are conducted on that day. After whispering the name three times into the ear of the baby, the person who conducts the nami…