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Shalagrama, aka: Śālagrāma, Sālagrāma, Salagrama; 4 Definition(s)


Shalagrama means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. 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


The Shālagrāma stone, known as Vāsudeva, is of a white colour and possesses two ring-like marks around its mouth.

Source: archive.org: The Garuda puranam

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.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana IndexPurāṇa book cover
context information

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

General definition (in Hinduism)

The place Sālagrāma is 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. Nārasiṁha.
  15. Lakṣmīnarasiṁha.
  16. Vāsudeva.
  17. Pradyumna.
  18. Saṅkarṣaṇa.
  19. Aniruddha.
Source: Transliteral Foundation: Purāṇic Encyclopaedia

The Shalagram-stones that are worshipped are only those which are picked up from the Himalayan stream Gandaki.

Although the Shalagram stones are forms of Vishnu and thus are equally adorable, there is an elaborate attempt to identify the individual forms. 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 Shaalagraama, 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 Shaala-trees, or by the one grand specimen of the species (as the story told hereafter suggests); hence the name 'Shaala-graama'. The name of the village is spelt variously as 'Shaala-graama' (with the initial phoneme being palatal, 'talavyaadi'), 'Shaali-graama', Saala-graama (with the initial phenome being dental, 'dantvyaadi') and 'Shali-graama'. Of these forms 'Saala-graama' is the correct one, because 'Shala' is the proper Sanskrit word for the Himalayan tree now known as Shorea robusta (commonly, however, called, Saala, Saakhu and Sukhuaa).

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 'shaalaadi-varga' (dipterocarpeae), which includes not only the Shaala-trees (Shorea robusta), but also Sarja (Vateria indica, Garjana (Dipterocarpus alatus) and Bhimasena-karpuura (Dryobalanops aromatica or what is commonly called Sumaatra camphor). The Shala-trees grow in the Himalayan foothills, and prevail from Kangraa valley to Assam.

Source: salagram.net: Salagram kosha

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