Shaligram is also known as saligrama shila or salagram. Saligram is sacred holy stone which is only found in Kali Gandaki River in Nepal. He is also known as sakshat(dirct) form or symbol of lord because it is not made by any man. Shaligram also emblem with different mark,specially narayan chakra(wheel mark) and many symbol. Lord vishnu symbol is shankh chakra gadha padma(Sacred conch, sacred wheels known as chakra, Gadha or mace and padma meaning sacred lotus flower or Kamal phool. Shaligram could have this special mark on it,which is very auspicious form of lord.
Shaligram main place of origin is damodarkunda which is situated in nepal,which is 7 days from capital city kathmandu. This saligram origin Place is itself holy and many god/goddess reside here from million of year from the begining of creation. The importance can also found in shastra like puran,khanda like Himbawat khand etc. different scripture.
The main origin place of god-shaligram is damodarkunda which is 4-5 days far from muktinath. The river kali gandaki is sacred river which originate from damodarkunda. This kali gandaki river is situated in muktinath. Except kali gandaki river in nepal shaligram is not found in other place. In other country shaligram is found but which could not be similar to shaligram found in gandaki river nepal. People compare saligram as ammonite fossil stone found in their country . We hindu believe shaligram as very sacred form of lord. Our shastra /scripture has mention its importance from thousand of years. So it is clear that all the world is creation of lord vishnu and he could be found everywhere. The shastra also clearly described conversation of goddess gandaki and lord himself. It is believed that insect known as bajrakeeta bite and make various design on shaligram with order of lord vishnu. Lord vishnu Says to lord Vishwakarma (lord of art and architecure), you reside with me and make different form on me. So shaligram have special mark .
River kaligandaki flow to narayani river(nepal), narayani river flow from nepal to india ganga sagar(holy Ganges).
The sacred kali gandaki river is also known as Krishna gandaki river before. But local call it now gandaki or kali gandaki river. Krishna gandaki is said Because of residence of lord here from the time of creations. Any holy stone found here are mostly black so now it is known as kali gandaki river. Sanskrit word “Kali” meaning is black. It is also belived that Goddess kali mata also reside here with many god/goddess.
Devotee keep any stone found in this holy river because any stone found in this river are known as shaligram or SHALIGRAM SHILAS (lord vishnu). If we donot know any name of shaligram,we should consider as vishnu,krishna,ram.
Other metal statues,or man made lord murtis should be energized before worship. But shaligram is lord himself and we can keep in house and start worship. So shaligram is no need to energized. Before worship of shaligram,Important thing is pureness and simplicity.
The various shastra,purans,khanda described the glory of saligram. It is symbol of Lord Vishnu (Narayan). All shaligram are lord vishnu but shaligram is worshipped with more than 108 different name of lord vishnu.
So shaligram have many names whose worship is done and lord is pleased with many form. But if someone if donot know name and identification of saligram. we should consider him and name as krishna.
Some of different name and type of saligram are are santhan gopal shaligram (Santan gopal Protect family member specially child),laxmi narayan shaligram,dash avatar shaligram (10 form of lord vishnu in different period of time,they are Ram,krishna,Parshurama,narasimha,kurma,matsya,varaha,vamana,buddha,kalki).
other name of shaligrama are bhaskara(surya),ganesh,shiva,durga,vishnu.
Some other important shaligram name are are Laxmi Narayana, laxmi narasimha,hayagriva,rishikesha, damodara,govinda,madhusudan,achyut,ananta,sesha,padmanabh etc.
Rare type of sila also includes,hiranyagarva,ratna garva(jyoti shaligram), vishnu paduka, swarna silas(golden saligram)etc.
Even the one water drop which has bath to Sri shaligram is drank everyday.Our life is bless itself. It is known as this much auspicious that one could surely attain vaikuntha(vishnu home). We should do seva/help to lord and his devotees. The famous temple like jaggarnath puri in oddisha india,pashupatinath temple nepal and basuki nag raj temple there is saligram snan done everyday. In jaggarnath puri shaligram jal is served to devotees. Every pilgrim reside in shaligram so we should drink bath water (jal) to saligram.
The shaligram mahimas (Glories) is found in various books and scripture like Puran like agni,vishnu,brahma,kurma,bhagvad puran etc. Many book publish by devotee which has only about shaligram and their types identification is also found whose reference is taken out from various scripture.
The auspicious shaligram are black in colors and it is also normally found. But yellow,green,blue,red color shaligram are also very auspicious and found but rare in nature. It is believed that Only red color are prohibited for house worship. And red one can be ok for temple but not home.
Other shaligram which are smooth, notbroken, clear chakras or any mouth,holes,good shape,smooth, shaligram with various symbols are very good to worship at our home. Round shaligram is also found(laddugopal),shaligram with holes,shivlinga,golden etc different form of shaligram shilas is available.
Various shape,chakra and various form denotes different form,types and manifesation of lord vishnu .Worship of Shaligram are common in Every hindu houses in Nepal ,India,devotees house around the world. Shaligram can be any shape or form which could be round,oval,with chakra or many chakra,without chakra,smooth,with hole,without hole ,flat which could help anyone to find mostly many names of lord vishnu.
Worship of shaligram is done by making any asana(singasan), the table or copper plate where lord is kept safely with sringar(clothing,decoration and makeup to lord). The puja/worship must be done at morning and evening.
Shaligram and tulsi is auspicious form of lord whom is needed in a every house from birth to death period of time. It is belived that those house who have shaligram in their house. This house is always blessed by lord and his mercy. IF someone wish to make their house pure, they can just spray some water drop in all part of house which has bathed shaligram. The negative,eyes,ghost or any evil nature are blocked in this sacred house where lord seva or service is done. At the time of death shaligram water is given to drink to person who are dying so that he/she will achieved to vaikuntha dham (home of lord vishnu). The holy water(ganga jal) of shaligram bath is this much auspicious that,anyone can drink everyday after abhishek to remove our negative energy. The sin of person is also washed by drinking even one drop of shaligram bath water(jala).
So there is no doubt there is residence of peace,laxmi(goddess of wealth),happiness,prosperity who worship and care shaligrams. Shaligram is able to provide any one moksha (salvation). Once a year,tulsi shaligram vivah/marriage is also carried out. So anyone must keep tulsi plant in house before worship of shaligram.
Specially everyday shaligram seva is very good,who could not do seva can just remember lord to get blessing of lord. Some of the special day are every ekadashi,krishna janmastami,ram navami,shivaratri,navratri and special month like Kartika is so much auspicious that tulsi shaligram vivah,laxmi puja,cow puja etc varity of puja is done.
There is no any other thing like tulsi leaves which is favourite to lord shaligram. We must offer tulsi leaves if we canot do anything. Keeping just one leaves of tulsi to shaligram together pleases lord vishnu.
If we donot found many leaves , Even one leaves must be offering to him in regular worship is very dear to lord .
Except tulsi leaves offering dhup(incense),arati,dhyan,naivedh(specially fruits or if no fruits then food) is offered.
Daily morning holy bath to shaligram with ganga jal or pure water or pure milk or panchamrit abhisheck(combination milk,ghee,sugar,curd,honey) is done.
We should recite mantra “Om namo bhagvate vasudevaya” or “Om namo narayanaye” , Some other mantra is “Om krishnaye namah”,”Om vishnave namah”, “Om vishnawe namah” etc. While reciting mantra and at time of worshipping god,we should remember lord vishnu (krishna).