The Mandir of course is not just a beautiful building. It was built and consecrated as the ‘home of God’. It is therefore first, foremost and always a place of worship.
Depending on the time of day, you may see worshippers in the sanctum offering various forms of devotion, meditation and prayer.
For example, you may notice men prostrating on the floor before the shrines or women bowing down with folded hands whilst seated. This is performed in a gesture of humility, adoration and reverence before the deities.
Worshippers may also be performing pradakshinas, or devoutly walking around the inner sanctum. This helps strengthen their belief that God should remain the centre point of all their activities.
Others might just be seated in quiet prayer and personal contemplation.
A communal prayer ceremony known as the arti is performed five times a day.
This ceremony has its origin thousands of years ago when sages used to meditate inside caves in the mountains and could only see the sacred image by burning lamps.
Sadhus perform the arti by waving lighted wicks in front of the sacred images to infuse the flames with the deities’ love, energy and blessings. The arti is sung with the accompaniment of bells and drums to help focus the mind in prayer. After the 4-minute prayer, the lighted wicks are passed around the congregation to allow members to receive the blessings from the flames.
All these acts of devotion are grounded in the belief that God is present in the sacred images, or murtis. The murtis are therefore treated like living beings, adorned daily with various beautiful garments, ornaments and garlands. They are also offered food at mealtimes, and allowed to rest at night and during the afternoon. This explains why the doors of the shrines are closed during certain times.
When ready, please proceed towards the central shrine.