Real Dakshinavarti Shankha pictures – sinistral turbinella pyrum
This rare, highly auspicious and much coveted Shankha also belongs to the same species but opens to the left (sinistral turbinella pyrum), i.e., you can hold it with your left hand fingers inserted into the opening. It is a genetic cousin of the regular Shankha – opening the other way.
The true Dakshinavarti Shankha has the three or more horizontal lines at the inside center opening. This is considered very auspicious and kept at pooja only and not blown. It is the favourite of Goddess Lakshmi and it is said that one who keeps this Shankha in pooja will always have excellent prosperity. This is very difficult to get and the price is quite high and varies.
Most sellers are passing off the look-alike Lightning Whelk as the Dakshinavarti. We don’t sell this. See its look-alike in the two pictures bellow known as Lightning Whelk (busycon contrarium).
This look-alike of the Shankha as shown in the pictures above, it has a very broad and short head, a lot of sharp projections and has no horizntal lines at the center of the opening. A lot of people buy this thinking its the real Dakshinavarti.
Latest fake in Dakshinavarti
This is the latest fake in Dakshinavarti. They take the Lightning whelk and carefully carve out by filing a part of the central portion at the opening, leaving three or four lines and pass it off as real Dakshinavarti. It is so well done that I was fooled for a while.
There are 6 types of auspicious Shankhas known as Shad Shubha Shankhas. The above two – Vamavarti and Dakshinavarti are the well known ones. To know about the other four click here
The Dakshinavarti Shankha comes in many sizes and shapes. The following pictures will give you an idea of the vast range. As it is very rare, even the major Shankha dealers have only a limited knowledge about it. They all talk about their “expertise” and give all kinds of technical details. Their technical arguments are very positive when they are selling it and are very negative when someone else is selling one! Fact is that, in a lifetime even the major Shankha wholesalers may deal with just about 30 or 40 Dakshinavartis. So their expertise is indeed very limited to what they have seen. You can’t be a Rudraksha expert or a Diamond expert by dealing in just 50 of them. Right?! The only way to test it really is by X’ Ray photography. I have started a collection of all available pictures of it from various sources so that there is some kind of a reference source.
All genuine Valampuri Shankhas are Holy items associated with Goddess Lakshmi. However based on size, looks and rare features they are classified as follows:
Jewel quality: This type Valampuri has a very good luster, very neatly shaped and very beautiful to look at.
Rare quality: Normally Valampuris have 3 to 5 circular rings (called sutures) on the head portion and 3 to 4 horizontal ridges (called pilae) on the opening cavity. Valampuries with more than 5 sutures or 5 or more pilae are classified as rare quality Shankhas.
Based on sizes and weight the Valampuri Shankhas can be classified into five categories.
1) Mini Size : 2 to 3 inches in length, about 1 to 1-1/2 inch width and weight 25 to 50 grams. The shell is very thin so most people don’t take the risk of cleaning or polishing this mini ones. So it is mostly sold with skin. the whrols (circular rings) on the conch head are also not well developed in this size.
2) Small Size : 3 to 4 inches long, 2 to 2-1/2 inches wide and 100 to 150 grams in weight.
3) Medium Size : 5 to 6 inches long, 2 to 2-1/2 inches wide and weight
about 250 to 400 grams. This is the most commonly available size.
4) Large Size : 6 to 7 inches long, 2-1/2 to 3 inches wide and weight
500 to 800 grams.
5) Giant Size : 8 to 10 inches long, 3-1/2 to 4 inches wide and weight range 1000 to 1500 grams.
Dakshinavarti Shankhas – with skin
As the Dakshinavarti Shankha is rare, costly and fragile, many people dare not to get it polished out of fear of damaging it. Shankha polishing is mostly done by machine polishing known as buff polishing.
Dakshinavarti Shankhas – semi cleaned/semi polished
The above are the semi cleaned/polished Dakshinavarti Shankha pictures.
Shankha marked “D” is a verity known as Dwaraka Dakshinavarti.
Shankha marked G is known as Gauri Dakshinavarti
Shankha marked “NRM” is the picture of the Dakshinavarti Shankha kept in the Nepal Royal Museum.
Dakshinavarti Shankhas – fully polished
The fully polished Dakshinavartis are definitely a lot more beautiful
Some people decorate and cover part of the Dakshinavarti Shankha with gold or silver plating. See 2 pictures, including an ancient 800 years old one from here.
Om mahadevyai cha vidmahe vishnupatnyaicha dhímahi tanno Lakshmí prachodayaat
Om Panchajanyaya vidmahe padma garbhaya dhimahi tanno Shankha prachodayaat