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Lightning Whelk mistaken for Lakshmi Conch - N. American Whelk confused with Indian Shank

rsb - Fri, 30 Sep 2005 03:27:21 +0530
Just a friendly note to inform anyone interested that the shell selling as “dakshinavarti “ or Sri Lakshmi Shank on many of web sites...

EXAMPLE: actually another type of shell called “Lightning Whelk” (busycon contrarium) that comes from North America. It is not a “Conch” shell, what to speak of being a Dakshinavarti Lakshmi Conch. It is simply a case of misidentification (ignorance OR dishonesty?).

If you visit - you can know about REAL Lakshmi Conch (sinistral turbinella pyrum). Among shell collectors and learned Brahmans there is ONLY one Lakshmi Conch, viz., Valampuri turbinella pyrum, and it is a Conch Shell and comes from India (Asia). A common American LIGHTNING WHELK shell is positively NOT it. As one can see the prices the Lightning Whelks are selling is absurdly cheap for a precious Sri Lakshmi Conch (although it may be fair price for a Lightning Whelk).

Now many people mis use the Lightning Whelk, unintentionally making a mockery of the real thing and making fools of themselves, and thus they remain poor; in an illusion about their so-called "Lakshmi Shank". Apart from devotees who are fooled, there are even temples that make the same mistake. There are articles on Conchology web sites that poke-fun at the Hindus for being so foolish in the matter of Lakshmi Shank.

Whelk suppliers are telling a lie by selling American Whelk shells and calling them a "Lakshmi Shank." Among bones, "Shank" shell (Turbinella Pyrum), is said by Shastra to be pure, even divine. But a Lightning Whelk shell is not a Shank and is not recommended by Shastra. Better to use a normal Indian conch shell for puja in stead of an American Whelk.

QUESTION: Does ANYONE have a real Lakshmi Shank besides the London Natural History Museum and ancient Indian temples? Does any Western born devotee have such a fabled and sacred object? I would love to hear from anyone who possesses a real Dakshin-varti Turbinella Pyrum Lakshmi Shank.

Attached is a picture showing the difference (plus a rare sight of a REAL Lakshmi Shank). If this helps ONE person then the posting of this message was a success.


Attachment: Image
Madhava - Fri, 30 Sep 2005 03:40:35 +0530
There is actually also an older topic on this from a bit over a year ago, here.
rsb - Sun, 02 Oct 2005 23:28:18 +0530

The diagnostic character to differentiate in Whelk and Turbinella Pyrum is the presence of 3 to 5 pilae or ridges in the conch cavity. However, now a days I have seen people making making fake Valampuri from that of Whelk by artifically pasteing three ridges made either from plaster of Paris (POP) or by cutting and pasteing of ridges from other normal left handed conch. People, who only go by characters of presence of ridges in the cavity are thus fooled. Of course, by experienced eye one can identify the original ridges and pasted ridges easily.

In conch species there is much variation, therefore I have developed a technique to take X-Ray images of conch. If you see X-Ray image of the Whelk or any conch which do not show the character of presence of pilae show plain columella. Fake and real can easily be determined by X-Ray. For more info contact Sri Chandrashekhar Phadke

Note: Sri Chandrashekhar is owner of the attached Lakshmi Conch. He is a bona fide supplier and expert. Hd[attachmentid=1961]
Attachment: Image
rsb - Mon, 10 Oct 2005 05:00:52 +0530
Sorry, I should not vouch for anyone without having had previous business. If anyone wants a genuine Lakshmi Shank we've found the prices are between Rs. 1500-3000 per gram. Please visit Sacred-Objects group at or write me for genuine contacts. BUYER BEWARE!

A "Cheap" Lakshmi Shank is NOT a Lakshmi Shank!