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By Swami Harshananda

purnakumbha (‘pot filled [with water]’)

A purṇakumbha is a sacred symbol of prosperity. Other names for the same are: purṇaghaṭa and purṇakalaśa.

It is a part and parcel of many rituals since it indicates auspiciousness.

It is prepared by filling up a pot of silver or copper with water, to which may be added certain scents, and the mouth covered with mango leaves and a coconut.

When an important guest or an invitee for a sacred function arrives, he is to be received with purṇakumbha accompanied by the chanting of Vedic mantras that generally include the

śāntimantras and selected portions from the Upanisads.

Sculptural representations of purṇakumbha are frequently seen in temples from very early times. They are shown on walls and pillars in a variety of decorative arrangements.


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