Vedi (altar)

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Description:
Vedi is the term for "sacrificial altar" in the Vedic religion. Such altars were an elevated enclosure, generally strewed with Kusha grass, and having receptacles for the sacrificial fire; it was of various shapes, but usually narrow in the middle.

  • mahavedi, the great or entire altar
  • uttaravedi, the northern altar made for the sacred fire (agnyayatana)
  • dhishnya, a sort of subordinate or side-altar, generally a heap of earth covered with sand on which the fire is placed
  • drona, an altar shaped like a trough (Shulbas. 3.216)
  • adhvaradhishnya, a second altar at the Soma sacrifice


The uttaravedi was in the shape of a falcon (alajacita = "piled up in the shape of the bird Alaja"), and was piled up with bricks in the Agnicayana ritual.

Vedic altars are described in the circum-Vedic texts dealing with Kalpa (the proper performance of sacrifice), notably the Satapatha Brahmana, and the Sulbasutras say that the Rigveda corresponds to an altar of mantras.

Fire altars are already mentioned in the Rigveda. According to Taittiriya Samhita 5.2.3., they are made of 21 bricks.

In ŚBM 10.4.3.14-20, the altar is made of 396 (360 + 36) yajusmati (special) bricks, and of 10,800 lokamprna (ordinary) bricks. 10,701 lokamprna bricks belong to the ahavaniya altar, 78 to the dhisnya hearths and 21 to the garhapatya. Around the altar are 360 parisrita stones (261 around ahavaniya, 78 around dhisnya, 21 around garhapatya).

ŚBM 10.3.1....
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