Pradakshina or Parikrama – The Ancient Ritual


Pradakshina ‘प्रदक्षिणा’ = Pra + Dakshina. Pra is ‘towards or to’ and dakshina means ‘right or south’. So pradakshina means towards right or south or clockwise.

As center is intact and steady in a circle. The supreme Lord is at center. Our actions by mind, speech and body all we surrender to God. No matter what happens, he takes care of us and blesses us. This is the feeling one should have while circumambulating.

How To Do Pradakshina

Pradakshina ‘प्रदक्षिणा’ is mentioned in many scriptures and sacred texts too. According to them, one should do parikrama with clean heart. There is also prayer or mantra one can chant while pradakshina. And as we know mantra chanting is a way to connect to Lord. It will help us to focus more instead of looking here and there. And moving towards right symbolizes that we are on the righteous path.

Many scriptures also define how many pradakshina should one do around each deity. But there is no maximum limit as it is kind of penance and way of meditation. For how long one should meditate? Is not the right question either. Only thing that is important is do it with clean heart, surrender and devotion.

Pradakshina in Traditions & Cultures

Generally, Parikrama ‘परिक्रमा’, Pradakshina ‘प्रदक्षिणा’ or Circumambulation around deities and temples is very much popular among many traditions and cultures. It is not just a ritual that one should follow blindly. It has scientific basis too.

As we all know temples, shrines, trees, mountains, rivers, parents, guru, scriptures and more all are the source of knowledge, wisdom and love. Either penance or some great positive stories are associated with them. These stories tell us how they became the source of energies. Thus, being in association with these energy centers is beneficial in every way.

Therefore parikrama ‘परिक्रमा’ is not only practiced around the temple but also around fire, trees, shrines, image, master(guru) and plants as well.

Lets see how much it practiced in different traditions, for example:

In Hinduism

In Hindu marriage ceremony, bride and groom do pradakshina ‘प्रदक्षिणा’ around the agni (fire) for seven times.

Besides, Hindu devotees revolve around Tulsi plant and Peepal Tree among trees and plants. Because they possess medicinal properties too along with the spiritual significance.

Around mountains and rivers pradakshina ‘प्रदक्षिणा’ have also been practiced. In Hinduism for example, people do clockwise rotations around Narmada River ‘नर्मदा नदी’, Govardhan Parvat ‘गोवर्धन पर्वत’, Vrindavan, Chitrakoot hill, Varanasi, Mathura, kailash maansarovar etc.

In Sikhism

Similarly in Sikhism devotees do Pradakshina ‘प्रदक्षिणा’ of Guru Granth Sahib ‘गुरु ग्रन्थ साहिब’ in routine. As well as in sikh marriages the boy and girl circumambulate around guru granth sahib. In their marriage ceremony they revolve for four times along with hymns.

Other Cultures

In Buddhism and Jainism also, monks do pradakshina ‘प्रदक्षिणा’ around the temples. Others cultures do follow the same concept.

Likewise in dargah devotee moves around the shrine of the master.

In Universe

In Like manner, planets are doing pradakshina ‘प्रदक्षिणा’ of Sun. Sun is the highest form of energy, the source. Lord Sun blesses us daily and maintains life on earth.

Why Clockwise?

In healing therapies, healer uses clockwise hand movements to imbibe positive energy in the patient. In the same way, revolving in the Clockwise Rotation or Right or Dakshina (South) represents straightforward, honest, impartial, amiable, compliant, submissive and auspicious gesture in praying to God. It fills the devotee with positive vibes. We assume God is on our right side he being righteous in all ways.

Why to do Pradakshina?

The purpose of the pradakshina ‘प्रदक्षिणा’ in any culture is to imbibe the energy of that place, thing or person in us.

What pradakshina does?

  • This will create the sense of positivity and bliss.
  • Releases all the burden and stress we are carrying unknowingly or knowingly.
  • It also symbolizes the humbleness and cutting down the ego – I ness. As we are paying respect to supreme with devotion.
  • It is also a connect between the higher consciousness (god) and us which gives the sense of oneness.
  • Doing it in numbers like 108 times and more is a great penance.
  • It is considered as the fulfiller of desires.
  • In other words, it is a way of getting blessings from the higher ones.
  • Pulls negative energy and fills positivity.
  • In addition it strengthens and calms mind.

So by now you have become aware of why we do Parikrama ‘परिक्रमा’ or Pradakshina ‘प्रदक्षिणा’. Do it with full devotion whenever you visit the temple or some auspicious place.

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