Basically it is pouring consecrated waters over a temple to energize a new temple or re-energize an existing shrine.

(1) which scripture lays out the procedures for kumbhabhishekam?

(2) these days, is it mostly done in the South (and of course by overseas Hindus)?

1 Answer 1


The sculptures of deities, consecrating them, performing pooja, are detailed in Agama Shastra. These were mostly codified in Tamil, Telugu, Grantha and Sanskrit scripts. The three main ones are Kamikagama, Vaikhanasagama and Padmasamhita. Shaiva, Shakti and Vaishnava are the three main branches in agama shastra. The Vaishnavite branch has two major divisions Vaikhanasa and Pancharatra, which has a subset called TantraSara followed by the Madvacharya sect. Thus Vaishnavite temples such as Lord Venkateswara, Abhobilam, Srirangam, Kanchi Varadarajar and Udipi Krishna temples all follow one of the above (Vaikhanasa, Pancharatra, Tantrasara).

The methods of kumbha-abhisekham [meaning pouring consecrated waters (abhisekam) over khalasa by a kumbha (water pot)] are detailed in the Prathista vidhi (Laws for installation) of the agama sastra. More details may be found under KUMBABISHEKA KRIYA KRAMA VILAKKAM in


Normally done every 12 years, the abhishekam is performed to the khalasa using sacred waters and the power is transmitted to the idol in the sanctum sanctorum by a thin silver wire. The exact procedure is detailed in the above text.

Regarding North Indian temples, they are characterized by its distinctive shikhara, above the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum), and is based on Nagara style mentioned in the Shilpa-shastras. They normally lack multiple khalasa/kumbha. South Indian temples are based on Agama sastras have gopuram containing 5/7/9/11/13 khalasas based on Dravidian style. A combination of the Nagara style and Dravidian style called Vesara style, which are sometimes found in north Karnataka.

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