By Swami Harshananda
Garbhanyasa literally means ‘inseminating the temple site’.
A devālaya or a temple is not just a place of prayer but a structure where the particular deity ‘lives’ in its subtle body, for accepting the worship.
An extremely important rite which is performed during the construction of a temple is the garbhanyāsa or inseminating the temple site. A casket or a tray or pot of copper, the dimensions of which are proportional to the dimensions of the temple, is ceremonially lowered into the ground on an auspicious night after filling it with precious stones, several metals, herbs and soils. It symbolizes creation and prosperity. This ceremony is believed to help in the smooth consummation of the temple project. A stone called ādhāraśilā is kept over this spot. This stone serves as the foundation for the installation of the icon. Due to this ceremony the sanctum is called ‘garbhagṛha’.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore