The word temple is derived from Latin word ‘Templum’ meaning of which is building reserved for religious and spiritual rituals and activities. In Hindi the word Mandir is used for Temple.
Hindu temples are found across the world. There are thousands of Hindu temples spread across Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and Canada.
Hindus describes Hindu Mandir Temple as the house of God. Hindu temples are symbolic seat houses and bodies of divinity for Hindus. A Hindu temple is called a Mandir. It is a sacred place for Hindu worship. Visiting a Hindu temple can be a powerful cultural and religious experience.
However, you need to prepare so that you are respectful of those worshiping. You do not have to practice the Hindu religion to visit a Hindu temple; our temples are open for any to visit, however, there are certain steps & rituals one must follow:
Steps to enter a temple
1. Bathe before visiting a temple, as they are spiritual places of worship. Please note a woman is not allowed to enter a temple if she’s on her periods.
2. Dress appropriately for the temple, wear modest, conservative clothing to the temple. In some parts of India, it is mandatory for ladies to cover their heads.
3. Buy offerings to bring to the temple. Deities can be offered flowers and fruit are common as a form of respect, which are then distributed to the poor.
4. Extinguish cigarettes before entering and don’t bring any food or drink inside the temple.
5. Turn mobiles phones off, as it will disturb the worshippers.
6. Remove your footwear outside the temple. Most temples will have a space designated for your shoes: usually a series of cubby-holes along one of the temple’s exterior walls
7. The worshipper touches the floor of the entrance sign of spiritual preparation and devotion before entering the temple itself.
8. Exhibit polite, constrained behaviour when visiting, as the temple is a sacred, holy space.
9. Circulate through the temple in a clockwise direction, pausing before each deity you come across.
10. Respectfully view the statues. Join the palms of your hands near the heart into a “namaskara” and bow, or kneel, which is a sign of humility, supplication, gratitude.
11. Bring your offerings before individual statues. If you have brought fruit or flowers to offer to the deity, you may do this as you circulate through the temple.
12. Do not touch shrines or statues, which is considered disrespectful. In Hindu faith, only priests are permitted to touch the statues.
13. One common ritual involves priests holding diyas in a tray. For this ritual, you will want to hold your hand out over the lamp as it passes and then bring your hand back to your eyes. Do this three times and on the third time brush your hand over the top of your head.This ritual represents bringing the spirit of the fire inside of yourself& warding off evil spirits.
14. Accept any items from the priest. The priest will pour water over the hands of worshipers, which a spiritual, purifying gesture. He will then give you “Prasad:” blessed food, which should eat it outside the temple.
15. Allow your forehead to be marked. The priest might walk around marking heads with kumkum, ash, or turmeric. This is a blessing of your third eye.
16. Provide a donation, if desired. As you make your way through the temple, you may see a small donation box, which is used in the upkeep of the temple. However, not compulsory.
The daily services of the mandir usually include morning and evening aarti ceremonies led by a Brahmin priest. The priest’s role is to look after the statues of the gods and goddesses in the temple by washing them and clothing them each day.
The priest also feeds the gods by placing blessed food, called prashad at their feet. This food is then shared out with worshippers in the temple or given to people in need.
Going to the Temple arouses all Five Senses in our Bodies:
HEARING: by ringing the Bell in the entrance
TASTING: Prasad is given by the priest
SEEING: viewing an image of the deities
SMELLING: Incense sticks are burned, symbolizing presence of God
TOUCHING: Kumkum ( red powder) is put on forehead by the priest, to remind the worshiper of their devotion.
Popular Hindu temples in India are-
2).MA Vaishno Temple
4).Kashi Vishwnath Temple
6).Badrinath Temple Etc.