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By Swami Harshananda

Āvarana literally means ‘veil, cover’.

It is derived from the root ‘vṛ’ with a prefix ‘ā,’ the word ‘āvaraṇa’ means anything which covers or surrounds. In the Advaita Vedānta it refers to the veiling power of māyā/avidyā.

In temple architecture, it refers to the enclosures or prākāras, surrounding the main shrine, wherein the āvaraṇa- devatās (minor deities, the attendants of the chief deity) are housed, and the utsavamurti (procession deity) and other paraphernalia. In śaivism the word is used for a protective covering, in the spiritual sense. There are eight such āvaraṇas.


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