Many UK Mandirs are conversions. However Mandirs built to tradition Indian designs will contain the following features.
- A pyramid shaped roof (shikhara) to symbolise the Himalayas where the deities live.
- A porch facing the rising sun.
- Steps leading to the shrine (shoes may be left here).
- A prayer room.
- A shrine room (vimana) where the murtis can be found.
- A bell to ring to attract the deities attention.
The following objects can be found in the Mandir:
- Murtis to represent the deities.
- Bells to attract the deity’s attention.
- Coconuts to represent Ganesha.
- Arti trays for arti ceremonies.
- Offerings of fruit, flowers and money.
- Fans to show that murtis are treated with respect.
- Musical instruments for bhajans – religious songs.
Puja is an act of devotion which can be carried out at home or in the Mandir.
A puja tray is used. It holds:
- A bell which is rung to let the deity know the worshipper is ready to worship them.
- Incense to carry the prayers to the deity.
- Water, flowers & fruit to offer to the deity.
- A spoon to be used to offer the water.
- A diva lamp
- A container of kum kum which is placed on the forehead of the deity.
- At an Arti ceremony an arti tray holding 5 flames is circled before the worshipper.
- They circle their hand over the tray and then over their head to receive the deity’s blessing.
- The five flames represent the 5 elements- wind; air; water; fire; earth.
- Havan is a sacred fire which is burned to worship the god of fire – Agni.
- A metal container is filled with wood.
- The fire is lit.
- Ghee, incense & rice are sprinkled over the flames.
- Prayers and hymns are chanted.
- The havan could be used to bless & purify a new home.
- The worshippers receive the ashes from the fire.