Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Pradakshina Mean?

Pradakshina is a term used in Hinduism and Buddhism for the ritual of walking clockwise around a shrine, image, sacred object or even a town. Usually the worshipper will begin in the east, and keep the object to their right as they move to the south and then west. Buddhists stupas will usually have a pradakshina path around them. Pradakshina is supposed to be carried out with a meditative intention and mood.

The word comes from the Sanskrit, and can be literally translated as “to the right”.


Yogapedia Explains Pradakshina

Pradakshina is sometimes carried out as part of a customary trip to the temple, and will usually be done after the traditional worship or puja has been completed. It may also be performed as part of a larger pilgrimage, such as when pilgrims circumambulate the sacred town of Varanasi, a 36 mile journey.

There are a range of explanations for the rite of pradakshina, including that in doing so the worshipper emulates the auspicious path marked daily by the course of the sun. This is believed to bring good fortune. It may also be intended to delineate an area for a particular sacred purpose.

In funeral ceremonies, sometimes people will walk in a counterclockwise movement instead as a mark of respect. This is called prasavya.

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