Which Chandan is good for pooja?

Chandan, also known as sandalwood, holds a significant place in various cultural, spiritual, and religious practices across the world, especially in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism.

Revered for its aromatic properties and calming effects, Chandan is often used in pooja (worship) rituals to invoke divine presence and purify the environment.

Choosing the right type of Chandan for pooja is essential to ensure the sanctity and efficacy of the rituals.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the different types of Chandan, their properties, benefits, and the criteria to select the best Chandan for pooja.

Understanding Chandan: Types and Origins

Chandan primarily refers to sandalwood derived from trees of the genus Santalum. The most common types used in rituals are:

  1. White Sandalwood (Santalum album)
  2. Red Sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus)

White Sandalwood (Santalum album)

White sandalwood, also known as "Srigandha" or "Safed Chandan," is native to India, particularly the southern regions such as Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

It is highly prized for its creamy, aromatic heartwood that has a sweet, woody scent. The paste made from white sandalwood is extensively used in pooja for its cooling properties and its ability to maintain fragrance over long periods.

Red Sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus)

Red sandalwood, also known as "Rakta Chandan" or "Lal Chandan," is indigenous to the Eastern Ghats of India. Unlike white sandalwood, red sandalwood does not have a strong fragrance.

It is primarily valued for its rich red color and is often used for its medicinal properties and as a natural dye in religious rituals.

Historical and Religious Significance

In Hinduism

In Hindu traditions, Chandan holds a venerable place. It is believed that the aromatic wood is beloved by the gods, and thus, it is offered during various rituals to invite divine presence.

Lord Shiva, for instance, is often adorned with sandalwood paste on his forehead. The application of Chandan paste symbolizes purity, spiritual upliftment, and devotion.

In Buddhism

Sandalwood is also significant in Buddhist rituals. It is used in incense and meditation practices to create a serene environment, fostering mindfulness and concentration.

The calming aroma of sandalwood is said to enhance meditative focus and promote a sense of tranquility.

In Jainism

In Jain rituals, Chandan paste is used to anoint the idols of Tirthankaras (spiritual teachers). It is believed to purify the atmosphere and aid in the spiritual growth of devotees.

Benefits of Using Chandan in Pooja

Aromatherapy and Calmness: The soothing fragrance of Chandan has been known to reduce stress and anxiety, creating a serene environment conducive to worship and meditation.

Symbol of Purity: Chandan paste is considered pure and is used to cleanse idols and altars, ensuring that the worship environment is sacred.

Spiritual Connection: Applying Chandan on the forehead is believed to open the Ajna chakra (third eye), aiding in spiritual awakening and connection with the divine.

Medicinal Properties: Both white and red sandalwood have medicinal properties. White sandalwood has cooling effects and is used to treat skin conditions, while red sandalwood is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

How to Choose the Best Chandan for Pooja

Selecting the right Chandan for pooja involves considering various factors such as purity, origin, and intended use.


  • Authenticity: Ensure that the Chandan is authentic and not mixed with synthetic substances. Pure sandalwood should have a natural, consistent aroma.
  • Source: Verify the source of the Chandan. Sandalwood from recognized regions, like Karnataka for white sandalwood, is generally more reliable in terms of quality.


Chandan is available in various forms including sticks, powder, and paste. The choice of form depends on the specific ritual requirements and personal preference.

  • Sticks: Suitable for making fresh paste by grinding with water. This method ensures maximum purity.
  • Powder: Convenient for quick application and mixing with other substances like turmeric or saffron.
  • Paste: Ready-to-use and ideal for immediate application during rituals.

Fragrance and Color

  • Fragrance: White sandalwood should have a sweet, woody, and long-lasting aroma. Red sandalwood, while less fragrant, should still emit a subtle, woody scent.
  • Color: White sandalwood has a creamy yellowish hue, whereas red sandalwood has a deep red color. Ensure that the color is consistent and vibrant.

Making Chandan Paste for Pooja

Traditional Method

  1. Materials Needed: Sandalwood stick, a grinding stone (Chandan Patta), and water.
  2. Process:
    • Sprinkle water on the grinding stone.
    • Rub the sandalwood stick gently in circular motions on the stone.
    • Collect the paste that forms on the stone’s surface.
    • Adjust the consistency by adding more water if necessary.

Modern Method

  1. Materials Needed: Sandalwood powder, water, and a small bowl.
  2. Process:
    • Take a small amount of sandalwood powder in the bowl.
    • Add a few drops of water and mix well to form a smooth paste.
    • Adjust the consistency by adding more water or powder as required.

Common Adulterations and How to Avoid Them

The high demand for sandalwood has led to the rise of adulteration practices. Here are some common adulterations and tips to avoid them:

Common Adulterations

  • Synthetic Fragrances: Some vendors mix synthetic fragrances with sandalwood powder to mimic the natural aroma.
  • Substitution with Inferior Wood: Inferior woods like pine or cedar are sometimes used as substitutes and mixed with sandalwood.
  • Color Additives: Artificial colorants may be added to enhance the appearance of red sandalwood.

Tips to Avoid Adulterations

  • Buy from Reputable Sources: Purchase Chandan from reputable vendors or certified stores known for selling authentic products.
  • Check Certifications: Look for quality certifications and labels that verify the purity and origin of the sandalwood.
  • Conduct a Smell Test: Pure sandalwood has a unique, lingering aroma. Synthetic or adulterated products may have a sharp, chemical-like smell.
  • Inspect Texture and Color: Genuine white sandalwood is smooth and creamy, while red sandalwood has a fine, reddish texture.

Ethical Considerations

Sandalwood trees are often subject to overharvesting, leading to concerns about sustainability and environmental impact. When choosing Chandan for pooja, consider the following ethical aspects:

  1. Sustainable Sourcing: Opt for Chandan sourced from sustainable plantations or certified suppliers committed to eco-friendly practices.
  2. Legal Compliance: Ensure that the sandalwood is sourced legally, as illegal logging poses significant environmental and social issues.
  3. Support Conservation Efforts: Purchase from organizations that contribute to the conservation and reforestation of sandalwood trees.


Selecting the right Chandan for pooja involves a thoughtful consideration of various factors, including purity, origin, form, and ethical sourcing.

Both white and red sandalwood have their unique properties and benefits, making them suitable for different types of rituals. By ensuring authenticity and supporting sustainable practices, devotees can honor the sacred traditions and enhance their spiritual experiences with the pure essence of Chandan.

Whether you choose the fragrant white sandalwood or the vibrant red sandalwood, incorporating Chandan into your pooja rituals is sure to create a divine atmosphere, inviting peace, purity, and spiritual connection. As you explore the different types of Chandan and their uses, remember that the true essence of any ritual lies in the devotion and sincerity of the heart.

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