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Kamandalu or Water Pitcher Symbolism – Making of Kamandalam from Pumpkin

Kamandalu or Water Pitcher is a symbol that is associated with Hindu Gods and Sanyasis. A Kamandalu is constantly seen along with the image of Shiva. Hindu saints or Sanyasis always carry the traditional water pitcher. Original Kamandalam is made from dry pumpkin and it attaches deep symbolism. The process of making of Kamandalu also holds spiritual significance.

Note – traditionally Kamandalu is also made from coconut shell. Today, the water pitcher is also made using metals like copper, steel, silver etc.

A ripe pumpkin is chosen for making a Kamandalu. It is then plucked from the pumpkin plant. The fleshy part of the pumpkin is then carefully scooped out or removed. It is then cleaned and the hollow pumpkin skin is then left to sun dry – just to remove the moisture content.

Once the moisture content is removed, the pumpkin is cut into the shape of a Kamandalu – a pitcher to hold water and a handle attached to it.

The Kamandalu of Shiva is believed to hold nectar. Traditional stories suggest that saints carry holy water from Ganga or other rivers in it. There are numerous stories of saints using the water from the Kamandalu to sprinkle before cursing a person.

Kamandalu or Water Pitcher Symbolism 

Symbolically the making of the Kamandalu suggests that –
  • One should detach from the world – this is the removing of the pumpkin from the plant.
  • Remove worldly desires – this is indicated by removing of the fleshy part.
  • Desires are then controlled through practice – this is established through the cleaning and drying process.
  • When once we are spiritually ready – we experience bliss which is shown through the presence of nectar or water inside the Kamandalu.