Shaligram

Shaligram is a dark stone found on the bank of river Gandakti in Nepal. It is considered to be representing Lord Vishnu who had decided to live in the form of Shaligram to repent for some of the deeds he had to commit for safeguarding the world and save it from the torture of the demons. These Shaligrams are in various sizes and shapes. These are eaten by insects who use their sharp teeth and leave the imprints of the charkas on these stone. Sometimes gold or stones as Kasauti for testing the purity of gold. In Hindu religion Shaligrams are worshiped in temples, monasteries and households all over the world, as visible natural symbols of Lord Maha Vishnu. Regular worship of Shaligram gives untold merit to devotees.

As per Gautamiya Tantra, near the kali - Gandaki river, there is a big place called Shalagram. The stones which appear in that place are called shalagram shila. According to the Hindu tradition this stone is the shelter for a small insect known as "Vajra-Keeta" that has a diamond tooth which cuts through the Shaligram stone and stays inside it. The Saligram stones are hundreds of million years old when the Himalaya was an ocean floor. The Shaligrams come in different colours, such as red, blue, yellow, black, greeen. All the varities are considered very sacred. The yellow and golden colour Shaligrams are considered most auspicious and bestow immense wealth and prosperity to the devotee. The Shaligrams of different shapes are often associated with different incarnations of Lord Vishnu such as Narasimha Avatar, Kurma Avatar and so on. According to the Vaishnavas the Shaligram is the "dwelling place of Lord Vishnu" and any one who keeps it, must worship it daily. He must also adhere to the strict rules such as not touching the Shaligram without bathing, never placing the Shaligram on the ground, avoiding non-vaishnavaite (or non-satvic) food and not indulging in the bad practices. Most of the Shaligrams are considered auspicious, some are very sacred, while others are considered to bring good luck, money, peace, sons and so on. The temples can use any kind of Shaligrams in their rituals. The place where the Shaligram stone is found is itself known by that name and is one of the 108 sacred pilgrimage places for the " Vaishnavas" outside India. In fact such is the auspiciousness of this place that the Puranas mention that any stone from this land is equally sacred to Shaligram.