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Construction of Vedic Fire Altar – Agnicayana in Vedas

Agnicayana is the term used to refer to the Vedic fire altar construction in the Vedas. All yajnas are perfumed after constructing the altar. Details regarding the construction of Vedic fire altar are found in the Satapatha Brahmana. It is mentioned in this scripture that the mere construction of the altar is highly meritorious.

The vedic fire altar symbolizes the universe and is the representation of the body of prajapati, the creator.

The mantras and prayers to be chanted while constructing the altar is mentioned in the Vajasaneyi Samhita of Yajur Veda.

Thousands of bricks are used in the construction and many of the bricks have special shapes and names.

The most common shape of a Vedic altar was in the form of a hawk with outstretched wings. There were numerous other shapes like trough, chariot wheel etc.

The Vedic fire altar of the Soma sacrifice had five layers.

A sacrifice is performed when a layer is built. When the first layer is built soma sacrifice is performed; when the second layer is built Rajasuya sacrifice is performed, when the third layer is built Vajapeya sacrifice is performed, when the fourth is built Ashvamedha sacrifice is performed and when the fifth layer is performed Agnisava sacrifice is performed.

In the lowest level of the altar heads of five sacrificial animals were buried.

The construction of the fire altar took more than a year.