From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Pavitra literally means ‘the pure,’ ‘what makes one ceremonially pure’.

Wearing of Pavitra[edit]

While performing any religious rite, a devotee is expected to wear a ‘pavitra’. It is a ring-like loop made of darbha[1] grass. It may be prepared either with either three, two or even one darbha leaf. It should be worn on the anāmika or the ring-finger, either of the right hand or on the ring-fingers of both the hands.

Occasions to Wear Pavitra[edit]

The following are the occasions on which the pavitra is to be worn, to attain ceremonial fitness:

  • Japa - repetition of the divine name or mantras
  • Homa - pouring oblations into a duly consecrated fire
  • Dāna - giving gifts
  • Svādhyāya - study of the scriptures, especially the Vedas
  • Tarpaṇa - giving oblations of water to the pitṛs or manes

Other Inferences of Pavitra[edit]

The word is also used to indicate the two pieces of darbha kept over ājya[2] to purify it before homa, to the piece of cloth used by a sanyāsin to filter water while filling it into kamaṇḍalu[3] and even to the yajñopavīta.[4]


  1. Scientific name of darbha is Poa cynosuroides.
  2. Ājya means ghee.
  3. Kamaṇḍalu means water-pot.
  4. Yajñopavīta means the sacred thread.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore