Since the Shaligram is considered to be a direct manifestation of Lord Vishnu Himself, it does not require any installation or initiation. There is also no special ritual of worship, nor is there any need for a qualified priest. Shaligram, worshipped by regular bathing in curds, ghee, milk or water will give untold merit and will bestow all the benefits. The learned sages have recommended a grand worship of the shila, followed by regular worship thereafter.
Saligrama silayantu pratishtha naiva vidyate
Maha pujanti kritvadau pujayet tam tato budah
According to Vaishnava belief, the worshipper of a Shaligram Shila must adhere to
strict rules, such as not touching the shaligrama without bathing, never placing
the shaligrama on the ground, eating only prasadam, and not indulging in bad
practices. In most Vaishnava temples the main deity is usually decorated with a
'garland' mala, specifically an Akshamala, of 108 Shaligrama Shilas.
Shaligram is worshipped like one worships Lord Vishnu. Normally Tulsi is used
essentially, and a Shankha is also kept near the Shaligram. As per the Shrimaddevi
Bhagwat, in order to get the full benefit of a Shaligram, it has to be worshipped
daily with purity of heart and body.
It is said in the shastras, that any type of Shaligrama Shila whether broken or
chipped is also auspicious for worshipping. But devotees, as far as possible
should worship a smooth and an unbroken small or medium sized shila with very
good markings and good luster.
Khanditam sphutitam bhagnam parsva bhinnam vibheditam
Salagrama samudbhutam sailam doshavaham na hi
A shaligram shila can be worshipped fearlessly by any human being regardless of
caste, color and creed. Even females can worship the Shaligram.
Striyo yva yadi va sudra brahmanah kshatriyadayah
Pujayitva shila chakra labhante shashvatam padam
The Padama Purana says that even people who are the lowest rungs of humanity, who
are ruled by anger, lust and greed, even such people if they worship the
Shaligram shila can be elevated to the abode of Lord Vishnu.
Kamaih krodhaih pralobhais ca vyapto yo’tra naradhamah
Sopi yati harer lokam salagrama silarcanat
A simple procedure to worship a Shaligram is as follows:
Sit in a position in which you can face the East or North-East direction
Wash the Shaligram with Ganga Jal poured from the conch shell. Then wash it again with punchgavya, and then wash it once more with Ganga Jal. The water that has touched the Shaligram becomes 'amrit' (holy water), and has tremendous properties. If you drink this water, it can help bring relief from various physical ailments and poor health so you can lead a more healthy life.
Place the Shaligram on some peepal leaves on a plate or on a cloth.
Place some kusha grass in a glass filled with water to sprinkle over the Shaligram.
Light camphor, incense sticks and a lamp filled with ghee.
Apply some sandal paste on the Shaligram.
Place a tulsi mala around it or offer fresh tulsi leaves.
Light the lamp and move it in a circular, clockwise movement of the hand in front of the Shaligram.
Recite the mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare or the following mantra nine times.
Om dhyayeh sada savitra mandala madhyavarti narayanah
sarasijasana sannivistah keyuravan kanaka kundalavan
kiriti harir hiranmaya vapor dharta sankha chakrah
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare !
Offer milk, fruits, sweets and coconut to the Shaligram. Offer some money and then give that money to a poor person.
If you are worshipping more than one shaligram, then the number should be even.