Abhisekam (consecration) at the Hindu temples.- an elaborate ritual way - a brief note

abhisekam is done to Murugan idol (utchvar) by priests.

,Shiva linga abhisekam,TN. Sankara yatra com Hindusthan today com.

Abhisekam Lord Shiva, Thanjavur big temple, TN ,shankara yatra com

Particularly, in all Hindu temples, there are daily puja rituals conducted by the temple priests  and they include Aarthi, conducting prayer/puja  six times or four times a day, etc. The morning ritual is called Abhiṣeka(m) or abhisheka(m) and  is conducted in an auspicious period by the temple priests while chanting specific mantras.  It is a laborious ritual in all Shiva temples as well  as Kali, Durga and Mariamman temples. The abhisekam is done on the stone idol of the deity in the sanctum/ garbagriha.  On certain occasions, it is conducted on the Utchavar brass idol kept in the sanctum. 

Shiva linga abhisekam by a priest.  you tube

What is Abhiseka? It is a Sanskrit word meaning "bathing of the divinity to whom worship is offered.   "It is part of the temple religious worship/ rite  that has been around for more than 1000 plus years. The officiating priests pour  a liquid offering on the image or murti of a God or Goddess. The liquid could be holy water, milk,  sesame oil, sandalwood-paste water, etc.  While abhiseka or anointing is going on, the priests will be chanting relevant mantras  till the end of the ceremony. Once the ceremonial bath is over, the screen near the sanctum is closed. The priests will be busy beautifully decorating the presiding deity  with fine clothes, jewels  and flower garlands, etc. The alangaram/ decoration of the divinity will be a special one relevent to that day and temple schedule. Then the screen will be open for darshan with various aarthis.  The next abhisekam will be on the following morning.   Abhiṣeka is common to other  Indian religions such as  Buddhism and Jainism, but their methods are different.  

Unlike Shiva-Shakti worship at temples, in the case of  temple worship of Vishnu , abhiseka is not mandatory and the god and goddess will be ceremoniously given  what is called ''Thailakkappu'' -  application of oil mixed with herbs on the idol. The oil is applied on the entire idols. Once it is done, the daily puja protocols, etc will resume. Thailakkapu is not done frequently  on the deities  at Vaishnava temples.

A Rudrābhiṣeka or abhiṣeka of Rudra is performed on  Shiva lingams. A Kumbhabhishekam (consecration) /Samrokshanam (Vishnu temples) is  performed in Hindu temple once in 12 years. The entire temple undergoes white-washing, painting, civil  repairs, cleaning of  stone and metal idols, sculptures, etc. All the kalasas atop the vimanas will be cleaned and  and refilled with fresh Dhanya inside them .  Conducting Homam  in  front of 'Yagakundam' (pit of fire) in the 'yagasala'  for certain days  is the most important part of the ceremony.   Equally important is the  poring of the holy  water  kept in the Yagasala  on the kalasas atop the temple vimana  and this will complete  this significant ritual. This is done for the prosperity of the town and the state.