There are two types of conch shells – one with an opening on the left, and the other that has the opening on the right.
Vamavarti or edampuri (Conch shell with opening on the left)
When you hold the conch shell in your hand – the tapering side is away from you, making the opening of the conch shell seem it is on the left side. This is called the Vamavarti shank (conch shell).
Most of the conch shells available will be with a left opening (like above). They are usually used for religious purposes at home.
Blowing this conch shell at home is known to remove all negative energies in the household and purifies the surroundings.
Dakshinavarti or valampuri (Conch shell with opening on the right)
These conch shells have the opening on the right side. They are not as commonly available as the other one.
When kept in the puja place at home (north, north east or east corner of the home), these are known to bring good luck, peace and prosperity to the home. When used during religious gatherings, it is known to invoke knowledge and divinity.
What is special about these conch shells?
When you hold a conch shell up to your ear, you hear the quiet roar of waves crashing on a distant beach, as if sounds from the shell’s past environment are still echoing within it.
While scientifically, the sound has nothing to do with the sea, nor the shell’s oceanic origins. It’s simply the result of the effect of the shell’s shape on air trapped inside. Unable to escape, the air vibrates at frequencies dictated by the size of the shell, creating a mix that sounds a bit like waves on shingle. Shells act like a resonating chamber that amplifies and suppresses different background sounds that our brain usually filters out.
Next time you visit a beach filled with sea shells, try to observe the types of shells and see if you can find a conch with a right side opening! Try to blow the conch and observe how far the sound travels!