Punsavan Sanskar

The Punsavan Sanskar is the one of the firsts of the rituals performed among the 16 Sanskars, or rite of passage, as per the Vedic Hindu texts. This ritual is performed in the womb of the mother itself, and is believed to be necessary for the physical health of the fetus. This ritual is celebrated in the third of fourth month of pregnancy, that is after the pregnancy begins to be visibly seen in the mother. However, this ritual is done before the baby starts to make movements inside the womb.


The Punsavan Sanskar is one of the early rituals that is held in order to welcome a baby into this world, which is done in the presence of family and friends. The rites of passage followed in Hinduism might not be uniform, and they might vary as per the diverse traditions followed by the different followers of Hinduism. There might be Yajnas, or chanting of Vedic hymns, or even might be done just by a private affair. These rites of passage in Hinduism are found in the numerous Dharma sutras and Grhyasutras dated from the 1st millennium BCE.


The composite word is taken from Puns + savanna. Puns mean "to grind, move", and "a human being, a soul or spirit", while savanna means "ceremony, rite, oblation, festival”. Therefore, Punsavan means “quickening a soul or a being”, and thus can be translated into, bringing forth a male or female baby.

Punsavan is a rite of passage observed when the pregnancy begins to show, typically in or after the third month of pregnancy and usually before the fetus starts moving in the womb. The stage where the baby starts to kick in the womb is when it is believed that a milestone has reached in a baby’s development.

The Ritual

The roots of the Punsavan ritual are found in section 4.3.23 and 4.6.2 of the Atharva Veda, wherein charms are recited for a baby boy.

As per the Atharva Veda, charms are recited for the smooth birth of a baby, and to prevent miscarriages. For either sex, different prayers are chanted as per the verses in the Atharva Veda.

For example, if a Man wishes that he be the Father of a learned daughter, and that he wants her to live until her full age, there is a ritual that he should follow. As per it, both the parents should prepare boiled rice with sesamum and they should both eat it after that, so that they give birth to a fir and learned baby.

Further, if parents wish that a learned son be born to them, who lives to his full age, then the parents should eat boiled rice prepared with meat and butter, so that they give birth to a baby of their choice.

The Ceremony of Punsavan

There might be various ways in which the Punsavan Sanskar is being performed. However, each ritual does hold the ritual of the husband serving something to his wife who is expecting.

As per one ritual, a paste is prepared mixing yoghurt, milk and ghee(clarified butter), by the husband himself, and he then feeds it to his wife. As per another, which would be a more elaborate one than this, the ritual is performed in the presence of the Yajna Fire and while chanting Vedic Chants and Hymns. In this kind, the husband places a drop of the extract of a Banyan leaf, in the wife’s left nostril if they aspire a daughter, and in her right nostril if they aspire for a son. This step is then followed by a feast, which is prepared for everyone present at the occasion.