Shalagrama, Śālagrāma, Sālagrāma, Salagrama, Shala-grama: 10 definitions


Shalagrama means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi. 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 Śālagrāma can be transliterated into English as Salagrama or Shalagrama, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Shilpashastra (iconography)

Source: Pratima Kosa Encyclopedia of Indian Iconography - Vol 6

Śālagrāma (शालग्राम) refers to “ammonite fossil stones”.—Śālagrāma stones are very ancient geological specimens, rendered rounded and smooth by water-currents in a great length of time. They are distinguished by the ammonite (śālā, described as “vajra-kīṭa”, “adamantine worms”) which having entered into them for residence, are fossilized in course of time, leaving discus-like marks inside the stone. Such marks alone make the stone eligible to be called a śālagrāma and worshipped. Legends describe that Viṣṇu himself enters into these stones in the form of śāla creatures and makes his presence felt by the discus-marks. Thus a śālagrāma is verily the image of Viṣṇu.

Śālagrāmas (ammonite fossil stones), recovered from the Gaṇḍaki river-bed in Nepāl, are regarded as exceedingly precious and sacred. Viṣṇnu is believed to be present in them, and these stones require neither consecration nor any ritual in fusion of divinity in them; they are worship-worthy as they are.

The śālagrāma to become one must not only have one or more discus-like marks (cakras) near an opening in the stone (called ‘vadana’, “mouth” or ‘śīla-dvāra’, “the gate by which the śāla had entered”), but also lines, scratches or holes on the surface suggesting several emblems of Viṣṇu, like vana-mālā (garland), padma (lotus), gadā (mace), kaustubha (chest-ornament) and so on. Perfectly smooth (snigdha) and blue-black (mecaka) Śālagrāmas are regarded as best if the colour is like washed coal or bluish, the śālagrāma stone is of midling merit If the colour is tawny (piṅgala), yellowish (pīta), ash-grey (dhūmābha) or red (rakta-varṇa) the stone is to be avoided.

Shilpashastra book cover
context information

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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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous (S) next»] — Shalagrama in Purana glossary
Source: Puranic Encyclopedia

Sālagrāma (सालग्राम) refers to a place at the origin of river Gaṇḍakī. There are various kinds of stone figures which are called Sālagrāmas. These Sālagrāmas themselves have orginated from portions of Viṣṇu. That is why those stones are used for making images of Viṣṇu.

1) Sālagrāma is the kind of ammonite, used for making the image of Viṣṇu.

2) Mahāviṣṇu is known by the name Sālagrāma also.

3) Sālagrāma is the name of the place from where the river Gaṇḍakī, which flows through Nepal, starts. This Sālagrāma is considered to be a holy place. Mahāviṣṇu and other gods always dwell in this place. Sālagrāma is the name of Viṣṇu who dwells in Sālagrāma.

Different classes of sālagrāmas:

  1. Lakṣmīnārāyaṇa.
  2. Lakṣmījanārdana.
  3. Raghunātha.
  4. Vāmana.
  5. Śrīdhara.
  6. Dāmodara.
  7. Raṇarāma.
  8. Rājarājeśvara.
  9. Ananta.
  10. Madhusūdana.
  11. Sudarśana.
  12. Gadādhara.
  13. Hayagrīva.
  14. Nārasiṃha.
  15. Lakṣmīnarasiṃha.
  16. Vāsudeva.
  17. Pradyumna.
  18. Saṅkarṣaṇa.
  19. Aniruddha.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

1) Śālagrāma (शालग्राम).—The place where Pulastya and Pulaha had their hermitages. Sages of this locality visited Dvārakā;1 fit for śrāddha performance;2 sacred to Mahādevī and the Pitṛs;3 the Nāgarāṭ tīrtha at.4

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 8. 30; X. 90. 28 [3].
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 13. 89; 25. 66;
  • 3) Matsya-purāṇa 13. 33; 22. 62.
  • 4) Vāyu-purāṇa 77. 88-89.

2) Sālagrāma (सालग्राम).—The place to which Āgnīdhra retired after dividing Jambūdvīpa among his nine sons;1 yoga practised by Bharata at.2

  • 1) Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 1. 24.
  • 2) Ib. II. 1. 34; 13. 4 and 34.
Purana book cover
context information

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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General definition (in Hinduism)

[«previous (S) next»] — Shalagrama in Hinduism glossary
Source: Salagram kosha

The Shalagram-stones that are worshipped are only those which are picked up from the Himalayan stream Gandaki. The Shalagram stones are generally associated with Vishnu and are regarded as representations (pratika) of Vishnu; but there are also Shalagram stones representing some forms of Shiva, some forms of Shakti, Surya, and Ganesh. The entire panchayatana worship, an account of which has been given, could be carried out by having the Shalagram stones signifying the five deities.

etymology: The expression Shalagrama, which is of the Puranic celebrity, refers to a particular site in the course of this stream, where the sacred stones were found in profusion. The site was once a village, which was distinguished by the Shala-trees, or by the one grand specimen of the species (as the story told hereafter suggests); hence the name 'Shala-grama'. The word 'Saala' is derived from the root 'shala gatau' (meaning "to move") (anikriti shaalas siddhyati'), and signifies any tree (which is moved by wind 'shalati vayunaa chalatiiti'), but refers principally to the tree mentioned above (cf. the lexicon Visva, which says 'shaalo haale nripa matsya-prabhede sarja-paadape'). Ancient and medieval treatises on Indian medicinal plants give the name of a group of large trees as 'shaladi-varga' (dipterocarpeae), which includes not only the Shala-trees (Shorea robusta), but also Sarja (Vateria indica, Garjana (Dipterocarpus alatus) and Bhimasena-karpura (Dryobalanops aromatica or what is commonly called Sumatra camphor). The Shala-trees grow in the Himalayan foothills, and prevail from Kangra valley to Assam.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

[«previous (S) next»] — Shalagrama in Marathi glossary
Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

śālagrāma (शालग्राम).—m (Properly śāligrāma) The stone sacred to Vishn̤u.

--- OR ---

śāḷagrāma (शाळग्राम).—& śāḷigrāma m Corrupted from śāligrāma.

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-English dictionary

[«previous (S) next»] — Shalagrama in Sanskrit glossary
Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Śālagrāma (शालग्राम).—a kind of sacred stone said to be typical of Viṣṇu, as the Phallus is of Śiva. °गिरि (giri) Name of a mountain. °शिला (śilā) the Śālagrāma stone.

Derivable forms: śālagrāmaḥ (शालग्रामः).

Śālagrāma is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms śāla and grāma (ग्राम).

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

Śālagrāma (शालग्राम).—m.

(-maḥ) A particular sacred stone typical of Vishnu.

--- OR ---

Sālagrāma (सालग्राम).—n.

(-maṃ) A stone, a species of ammonite common in the Gandaka river, and worshipped by the Vaishnavas, as a type of Vishnu. E. sa with, ara a ring, grāma multitude.

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

Śālagrāma (शालग्राम).—[masculine] [Name] of a sacred village.

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. 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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