The Shaligram is the most sacred stone worshipped by the Vaishnavas and is used to worship Vishnu . According to shastra worship Shree Shaligram for six values of life ;- Righteous living, Wealth, Protection, good health, pleasures and Spiritual blessing .
As per Gautamiya Tantra,
" GANDAKYAS CAIVA DESE CA SALAGRAMA STHALAM MAHAT
PASANA TAD BHAVAM YAT TAT SALAGRAMAM ITI SMRTAM "
Near the kali - Gandaki river, there place called Dhamoder kunda.The stones which appear in that place are called shalagram shila. According to the Hindu tradition this stone is the shelter for a small insect known as "Vajra-Keeta" that has a diamond tooth which cuts through the Shaligram stone and stays inside it. The Saligram stones are hundreds of million years old when the Himalaya was an ocean floor. The marks on the Shaligram gives it a special significance , the Discus of Lord Vishnu. The Shaligrams come in black colour. The Shaligrams of different shapes are often associated with different incarnations of Lord Vishnu .
According to the Vaishnavas the Shaligram is the "dwelling place of Lord Vishnu" and any one who keeps it, must worship it daily. The Lord Krishna himself mentions the qualities of Shaligram to 'Yudhishtir' in the Mahabharta. All the Shaligrams are considered auspicious .
Scientifically The Shaligrams are basically described as fossil-stones and characterized by the presence of discus marks. Shaligram-stones (black stones in which fossil ammonites are embedded) are the most celebrated universally. Worship of these stones is widespread and dates back to a distant past. They are worshipped in temples, monasteries and households all over the world, as visible and natural emblems of Vishnu. They are also worshipped in religious functions like house-warming (grha-pravesha, vastu-puja), pacifying rites of different sorts ,marriages and many more.....
The legend, related at length tells us that Lord Vishnu for benefit of mankind in kaliyuga comes in earth in the form of Shaligram and in tulsi tree. Like the worship of Shiva in the form of a Linga, the worship of Vishnu in the shape of a Shaligram, is aniconic in character.
In the worship of Shaligrams, no initiation is required; there is no special rituals or specific procedure of worship, nor any need for a qualified priest . Worshipped by regular bathing saligram stones in curds, ghee, milk or water will give untold merit and will bestow all the benefits.
Saligram-stones are found only in the river Gandaki, which is a Himalayan stream, celebrated since history as Narayani, Saligrami and Hiranyavati. The scripture Mahabharata speaks of its sanctity (Bhishma-Parva). The Puranas also describe it as a sacred stream in which all the gods abide. By merely looking at it, one would eliminate all his mental stress, by touching it his bodily sins are burnt , and by drinking its water the verbal demerits are destroyed. One who comes into contact with this sacred water will be liberated from the cycle of birth and deaths, even if he/she be a sinner.
There is a lake at the source of the Kali-Gandaki, called Damodar-Kunda at Nepal. The lower Gandaki is well known as Mukti-Natha-Kshetra, also called Saligrama-Kshetra. The sacred stones are largely found on the banks of Kali-Gandaki . Damodara-Kunda is a place of pilgrimage. These area where saligrama-stones are found located within the Nepal territory.
Whether one has real devotion or not, if he worships a saligrama-stone with devotion before it, he will surely liberated from the cycle of phenomenal existence. The person who offers a daily service for the saligrama stone will be freed from the fear of death, and he will cross over the stream of births and deaths.
According to the religious text of Devi Bhagwata (and other scriptures) ,to kill demon Jalandhar Lord Vishnu have to destroy Jalandhar wife Brindha's sati dharma. When he did that Sati Brindha gave four curse to Lord Vishnu to become stone, grass, tree, plant. To wash away this curse Lord Vishnu took four avatars (incarnations). He became stone (Sri Saligram), grass (Kush), tree (Pipal) and plant (Tulsi). from this time onwardse the Saligrams are considered to be most auspicious to behold and to worship. As per Skanda Purana there can never be a price put on any Shaligram as there is not enough gold, jewels or any precious thing exist in the world to equal even a single Shaligram.
As per Skanda Purana, Padma Purana and other epics, the worshipper of Shree Shaligram is blessed to attain all desirable things, worldly comforts, good wife, good sons, good health, immense wealth, peaceful environment prevails in his surroundings and he gets immense protection against all evil forces. His/Her all anxieties, mental tension removed and all ambitions are fulfilled . Even the water that has just touched the Shaligram Shila becomes sacred and by drinking it he/she is relived of all diseases. Worshipping of Shaligram helps in meditation and attainment of spiritual liberation.
Besides the text found in several puranas like Brahma-vaivarta, Padma, Garuda, Narasimha, Skanda , there are other scriptures like Haribhaktivilas of Gopal Bhatta, Shalagram-mimamsa of Somanatha-vyasa and more......
Most puranas advocates that the worship of Saligram as brings material benefits like wealth, prosperity, success, long life, health and so on
"aputro labhate putram salagrama-pujanat"
We give a some donation to cover the cost of the transportation charges paid to the poor villagers who collect and bring them to us. These villagers risk their life in search of rare Shaligrams under very difficult and harsh climatic conditions in and around Kali Gandaki river at Muktinath (Himalayas Nepal) which is around 5000 meter above the sea level to bring these auspicious Shaligrams to all of us.