Śālā (‘shed’)

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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Sala (‘shed’), ZAlA (‘shed’), shaalaa (‘shed’)

Śālā literally means ‘shed’.

Śālā is a shed built for the performance of Vedic sacrifices. It is built to the west of mahāvedi having its beams in the easterly direction. Hence it is also called prācīnavaiṅśa.[1]

It is a quadrangular shed measuring 20 x 10 aratnis.[2] There are four doors in the four cardinal directions and also windows at the corners. The shed is covered and enclosed with mat. A room for boiling milk and a hut for the sacrificer’s wife[3] are also built around it. Inside the śālā, three fires are lighted. Hence the name agniśālā also.


  1. Prācīnavaiṅśa means with bamboo beams oriented to the east.
  2. One aratni is of 1/5 the height of the sacrificer.
  3. Hence it is called patnīśālā.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore