Kalasha, Kalaśa, Kalasa: 28 definitions



Kalasha means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Buddhism, Pali, the history of ancient India, Marathi, Hindi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit term Kalaśa can be transliterated into English as Kalasa or Kalasha, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

Alternative spellings of this word include Kalash.

Images (photo gallery)

In Hinduism

Shilpashastra (iconography)

Source: Wisdom Library: Śilpa-śāstra

Kalaśa (कलश, “pot”) refers to the ‘vase-finial’; it is an alternative name for a stūpī. Kalaśa can also refer to the Nāgara equivalent of kumuda, cushion moulding in plinth.

Source: Red Zambala: Hindu Icons and Symbols | Introduction

Kalaśa (Vase) - receptacle of water which is the foremost representative of life in general, water is also allied to breath and all-pervading cosmic consciousness. The heart of the devotee should be ready like the jar to contain and hold the waters of truth and universal wellbeing. The jar also contains the nectar of immortality — liberation from conditioned existence.

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)

1) Kalaśa (कलश) refers to an “ornamental pot” found in finials and capitals.—The prāsāda (a three-storeyed palace) is almost completely a solid mass on whose multi-buttressed walls the images are displayed. The finial/the culminating portion of a pinnacle is raised above the body of the prāsāda as it is on the crown of the temple known as āmalaka (dome). It is a ribbed flattened top surmounted by a kalaśa (ornamental pot found in finials and capitals), topped by a finial and a banner. It is also known as harmya (a beautiful palace) in South Indian temples.

2) Kalasa (“pot”) refers to one of the several “attributes” (āyudha) or “accessories” of a detiy commonly seen depicted in Hindu iconography, defined according to texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—The śilpa texts have classified the various accessories under the broad heading of āyudha or karuvi (implement), including even flowers, animals, and musical instruments. The other miscellaneous articles found as attributes in the hands of the deities are, for example, Kalasa.

Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Vastushastra (architecture)

Source: Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra

Kalaśa (कलश):—The Sanskrit name for a classification of a ‘temple’, according to the Agnipurāṇa, featuring a list of 45 temple types. It is listed under the group named Kailāśa, featuring circular-shaped temples. This list represents the classification of temples in North-India.

Source: OpenEdition books: Architectural terms contained in Ajitāgama and Rauravāgama

Kalaśa (कलश) refers to “capital § 3.19.”.—(For paragraphs cf. Les enseignements architecturaux de l'Ajitāgama et du Rauravāgama by Bruno Dagens)

Vastushastra book cover
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Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopedia

Kalaśa (कलश).—A serpent born of the family of Kaśyapa. (Śloka 11, Chapter 103, Udyoga Parva).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Kalaśa (कलश).—A Rākṣasa; his city in the Atalam.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 50. 18.
Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places

Kalaśa (कलश) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. V.101.11/V.103) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Kalaśa) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

Source: Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature

Kalaśa (कलश) is the son of king Ananta and one of the patrons of Kṣemendra, who, (as a poet, as a historian and as a rhetorician) was patronized by many kings of Kashmir of his time. Mainly king Ananta and his son Kalaśa had extended patronage to the great composer. In his Aucityavicāracarcā, Kṣemendra also mentions about Ratnasiṃha and Udayasiṃha as his patrons.

Chandas book cover
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Chandas (छन्दस्) refers to Sanskrit prosody and represents one of the six Vedangas (auxiliary disciplines belonging to the study of the Vedas). The science of prosody (chandas-shastra) focusses on the study of the poetic meters such as the commonly known twenty-six metres mentioned by Pingalas.

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Ayurveda (science of life)

Source: Shodhganga: Edition translation and critical study of yogasarasamgraha

Kalaśa (कलश) is another name for Āḍhaka: a unit of measurement of weight (1 kalaśa equals 3.072kg; 4 kalaśas = 1 droṇa = 12.288kg), as defined in the 15th-century Yogasārasaṅgraha (Yogasara-saṅgraha) by Vāsudeva: an unpublished Keralite work representing an Ayurvedic compendium of medicinal recipes. The Yogasārasaṃgraha [mentioning kalaśa] deals with entire recipes in the route of administration, and thus deals with the knowledge of pharmacy (bhaiṣajya-kalpanā) which is a branch of pharmacology (dravyaguṇa).

A relative overview of weight-units is found below, kalaśa/āḍhaka indicated in bold. In case of liquids, the metric equivalents would be the corresponding litre and milliliters.

1 Ratti or Guñjā = 125mg,
8 Rattis - 1 Māṣa = 1g,
4 Māṣa - 1 Kaḻañc = 4g,
12 Māṣas - 1 Karṣa = 12g,
1 Karṣa /Akṣa - 1 Niṣka = 12g,
2 Karṣas - 1 Śukti = 24g,
2 Śukti - 1 Pala = 48g,
2 Palas - 1 Prasṛti = 96g,
2 Prasṛtis - 1 Kuḍava = 192g,
2 Kuḍava - 1 Mānikā = 384g,
2 Mānikās - 1 Prastha (Seru) = 768g,
4 Prasthas - 1 Āḍhaka (Kaṃsa) = 3.072kg,
4 Āḍhakas or Kalaśas - 1 Droṇa = 12.288kg,
2 Droṇas - 1 Surpa = 24.576kg,
2 Surpas - 1 Droṇī (Vahi) = 49.152kg,
4 Droṇīs - 1 Khari = 196.608kg,
1 Pala = 48g,
100 Palas - 1 Tulā = 4.8kg,
20 Tulās - 1 Bhāra = 96kg.

Source: gurumukhi.ru: Ayurveda glossary of terms

Kalaśa (कलश):—A unit of Measurement; Synonym of one drona = 12. 288 kg / l of metric units

Ayurveda book cover
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Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Source: archive.org: Trisastisalakapurusacaritra

Kalaśa (कलश) refers to the “pitcher” and represents one of the “eight auspicious thins” in Jainism, according to chapter 1.2 [ādīśvara-caritra] of Hemacandra’s 11th century Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacaritra (“lives of the 63 illustrious persons”): a Sanskrit epic poem narrating the history and legends of sixty-three important persons in Jainism.


“[...] Then, after circumambulating it, he ascended his aerial car, like his own lofty pride, by the east steps. [...] Then Śakra’s Śāmānikas, like other forms of Śakra, ascended by the north steps and took their proper seats. [...] In front of the Lord of Paulomī (Śakra) seated on the lion-throne shone eight groups of the eight auspicious things, [viz., kalaśa], etc. [...]”.

Source: Shodhganga: A cultural study on the jain western Indian illustrated manuscripts

Kalaśa (कलश, “vessel”).—One of the eight providential symbols, or, aṣṭamaṅgala.—Kalaśa represents the three worlds and Jineśvara’s own ancestors.

General definition book cover
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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India history and geography

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary

Kalasa.—(CITD), a vase, flagon or water-pot; an orna- mental piece of painted wood, stone, brass, etc., fixed on the spires of temples, carts, etc.; a rounded pinnacle or ball on the top of a temple; a dome. (EI 5), the pinnacle of a temple; same as kumbha. (EI 11, 33), a measure; cf. droṇa. (SII 3), a pot. (EI 33), also called kalasikā; probably, the same as droṇa; a measure of capacity. Note: kalasa is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

India history book cover
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Kalasha in Pali glossary
Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

kalasa : (nt.) a small water-pot.

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

Kalasa, (nt.) (cp. Vedic kalaśa) 1. a pot, waterpot, dish, jar M. III, 141; J. IV, 384; Dāvs. IV, 49; PvA. 162.—2. the female breasts (likened to a jar) Mhbv 2, 22. (Page 198)

Pali book cover
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Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

kalaśa (कलश).—m (S) A water-vessel, whether of metal or earth.

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kaḷasa (कळस).—m (kalaśa S) An ornamental piece of paint- ed wood &c. as fixed on the spires of temples, on tent-poles, corners of a roof &c. Applied also to a dome or cupola. Ex. rājamaṇḍaḷācē ḍhaḷalē ka0 || 2 fig. Pinnacle, vertex, acme (as of greatness or of any particular virtue or vice): also the conclusion or terminating point (of a business). 3 fig. The spire of the neck, i. e. the head; as in the phrase mānēcā ka0 ḍhaḷaṇēṃ g. of s. To be on the point of death. 4 (For kalaśa) A water vessel (metal or earthen).

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kaḷasā (कळसा).—m C (kalaśa S) An earthen water-vessel with a spout. 2 R A metal water vessel. 3 The mass of kneaded earth (at a pottery) from which the pots are formed.

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kaḷasa (कळस).—. Add:--kaḷasa hōṇēṃ g. of s. To attain its acme or culminating point. Used freely. Ex. nēmācā jhālā kaḷasa || kāsayā vyartha uphaṇūṃ bhūsa || lēkhaṇī na dharī ||.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English

kalaśa (कलश).—m A water vessel.

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kaḷasa (कळस).—m A dome. Pinnacle (of greatness &c.). A water vessel. kaḷasa hōṃṇēṃ Things have reached a crisis; to culminate.

context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Kalaśa (कलश).—[kena jalena laśa-sa-ti Tv.]

1) A pitcher, water-pot, a jar, dish; हिरण्मयं कलशं विभर्षि (hiraṇmayaṃ kalaśaṃ vibharṣi) Mahābhārata on P.VI.4.174; Śi.11; स्तनौ मांसग्रन्थी कनककलशा- वित्युपमितौ (stanau māṃsagranthī kanakakalaśā- vityupamitau) Bh.3.2,1.97; Amaru 54. °जन्मन्, °उद्भवः (janman, °udbhavaḥ) Name of Agastya.

2) A churn.

3) A kind of measure.

4) A rounded pinnacle on the top of a temple

5) The ocean; क्षोभ्यतां कलशः सर्वैर्मन्दरः परिवर्त्यताम् (kṣobhyatāṃ kalaśaḥ sarvairmandaraḥ parivartyatām) Mb.1.18.32.

Derivable forms: kalaśaḥ (कलशः), kalaśam (कलशम्).

See also (synonyms): kalasa.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Kalaśa (कलश).—mfn.

(-śaḥ-śī-śaṃ) An earthen water-pot; also kalasa, kalaśi, &c. E. ka water, laś to labour, ka aff.

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Kalasa (कलस).—mfn.

(-saḥ-sī-saṃ) A water-jar: see kalaśa. m.

(-saḥ) 1. A measure, a Drona: see droṇa. 2. A rounded pinnacle or ball on the top of a temple. f. (-sī) A plant: see kalaśi, &c.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Kalaśa (कलश).—or kalasa kalasa, I. m. (and f. śī, and n.), A water-pot, a cup, [Pañcatantra] 252, 10; i. [distich] 225; designation of the ocean when churned, Mahābhārata 1, 1149. Ii. f. śī, 1. A plant, Hemionitis cordifolia, Roxb., [Suśruta] 1, 139, 15. 2. The name of a holy place, Mahābhārata 3, 650.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Kalaśa (कलश).—[masculine] ī [feminine] pot, water-jar (adj. —° [feminine] ī).

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Kalasa (कलस).—v. kalaśa.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Aufrecht Catalogus Catalogorum

1) Kalaśa (कलश) as mentioned in Aufrecht’s Catalogus Catalogorum:—poet. Śp. p. 14. [Subhāshitāvali by Vallabhadeva] Quoted by Kṣemendra in Suvṛttatilaka 2, 14.

2) Kalaśa (कलश):—vaid. Rādh. 2.

3) Kalaśa (कलश):—vaid. Oudh. Xx, 8. Xxii, 44.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Kalaśa (कलश):—m. (n., [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]) a water-pot, pitcher, jar, dish, [Ṛg-veda] etc., [Śakuntalā; Hitopadeśa] etc. (the breasts of a woman are frequently compared to jars cf. stana-k and kumbha)

2) m. a butter-tub, churn, [Mahābhārata]

3) a particular measure (= droṇa), [Śārṅgadhara-saṃhitā]

4) a round pinnacle on the top of a temple ([especially] the pinnacle crowning a Buddhist Caitya or Stūpa), [Kādambarī]

5) Name of a man, [Ṛg-veda x, 32, 9]

6) of a poet

7) of a Nāga, [Mahābhārata v]

8) cf. [Greek] κάλιξ; [Latin] calix.

9) Kalasa (कलस):—[varia lectio] for kalaśa above.

[Sanskrit to German] (Deutsch Wörterbuch)

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Böhtlingk and Roth Grosses Petersburger Wörterbuch

Kalaśa (कलश):—

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Kalasa (कलस):—und kalasi s. u. kalaśa und kalaśi .

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Kalaśa (कलश):—

1) am Ende eines adj. comp. f. ī [Kathāsaritsāgara 110, 126.] = droṇa [Śārṅgadhara SAṂH. 1, 1, 21.] Kuppeldach oder Dachkuppel [Scholiast] zu [HĀLA 65.] —

2) Nomen proprium eines Dichters [Oxforder Handschriften 123,b,38.] — Vgl. u. kalaśapotaka .

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Hindi dictionary

[«previous next»] — Kalasha in Hindi glossary
Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

1) Kalaśa (कलश) [Also spelled kalash]:—(nm) a pitcher, an urn; a dome, pinnacle.

2) Kalasā (कलसा) [Also spelled kalsa]:—(nm) a metal pitcher; hence [kalasī] (diminutive, nf).

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