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By Swami Harshananda

Agniksetra literally means ‘site of fire'.

In the Vedic sacrifices known as Somayāga, the adhvaryu (the chief and active priest) builds amahāvedi’ (‘the great altar’) on the eastern side of which the agnikṣetra, the site of fire, is constructed in the form of a śyena (hawk). Taking the sacrificer’s height as the measuring unit, the agnikṣetra is to be 4 units in length and 3 units in breadth. However, in certain cases like the Aśvamedha sacrifice, this size can be doubled or even trebled.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore