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  Method of Chandan Adornment  
(1) To obtain a paste, sandalwood is traditionally ground by sadhus on a fine-grained slab of stone using water. Motorized machines are also used. The paste, known as chandan is collected and strained using a thin cloth, draining excess water to achieve a dough-like consistency.

Stone on which Chandan is rubbed
Chandan  is ground with a little water
(2) After the Mangala arti at 5.30 a.m. the adorned night garments are removed before the chandan is applied on the metallic (Panch dhatu) murtis.

The process produces a smooth paste of Chandan
The Chandan is applied and evenly spread
(3) Natural saffron known as kesar or color may be added to the chandan before applying small lumps (lepan) on the murti. The lumps are spread out into a layer by hand as much as possible.
The chandan is applied and evenly spread
The surface is smoothed with the stroke of a palette knife
To achieve a smooth texture, the kinks and creases are removed using a fine muslin cloth over which a palette knife is stroked. The cloth is then removed. A stitched garment may also be fastened over the chandan to give an added shape or design to the adornment as shown. A brush dabbed in liquid chandan is stroked over this garment.
A muslin cloth  is placed and the surface is smoothed with a palette knife
For an even finish a wet brush is applied (5) For a smoother finish and for inaccessible spots strokes with a brush are made. For an even finish a wet brush is applied
A variety of materials are used for decoration (6) Once smoothed, the decoration (shangar) begins. Various materials are used, such as: lace, flowers, leaves, dried fruits, spices such as cloves and cardamom and pre-cut paper designs.
For a variety of materials are used for decoration
Ready for darshan and arti

(7) The average time taken to decorate chandan shangar is one and a quarter hours, depending on the intricacy of the design. At 7.30 a.m. the shangar arti is performed with Lord Harikrishna Maharaj gracing darshan.

Ready for darshan and arti
The chandan is removed and made into tablets
Devotees revel the Lord's chandan shangar. Periodically during the day, the pujari sadhu squirts fragrant water on the chandan to prevent drying and cracking.

The ball is prepared into a  tablet
The tablets are then dried
Prior to the sandhya (sunset) arti, the chandan is removed. From this sanctified chandan tablets about 1.5 to 2" are made, either by hand or machine. Then they are left to dry. The consecrated chandan tablets are then used by devotees to imprint the U-shaped tilak on their forehead.

The chandan tablet is then used for applying a tilak mark

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© 1999, Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Swaminarayan Aksharpith