By Swami Harshananda
Śiva is said to be fond of shower bath as also a regular bath. Hence, the Śivaliṅgas or liṅgas installed in temples are bathed either continuously or during the ceremonial worship. On one side of the liṅga, there is a small projected channel to convey the water thus poured, to a vessel kept below it. This channel is called ‘somasutra’.
While circum-ambulating the liñga, the somasutra should not be crossed. The devotee should start from it, go round the liñga clockwise and return anticlockwise after reaching the other side of the same. The water collected in the vessel is used as tīrtha by the devotees.
- Tīrtha means consecrated water for sipping.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore