A temple is a symbol of hope and peace. Whether it is made in marble or wood, or of any other type, it is a source of positive energy that protects us from negativity and evil.
A Hindu family home is incomplete without a temple; irrespective of the home’s size, a temple, big or small or a puja room (if permitted by the space) is installed in a household. A home temple or the puja room is considered to be an integral part of the family as it plays a major role as the center of religion, belief, traditions and congregation. It is also the basis of Hindu Dharma.
But why having a temple at home or building a puja room so important? One may argue that god is omnipresent, he/she is everywhere – in the air we breathe, in the food we eat and the ground we walk on. But he cannot be seen but only experienced. And it is for this experience that a temple or a puja room is installed in a home.
The size of the temple or the puja room is not important. It can be luxurious or it can be a small shelf on a wall, it is a place of sanctity, a holy place. Whether outside of the home, i.e. a sarvajanik temple open to all or a personal home temple, it helps to experience divinity. Unlike the earlier era, people don’t really visit temples every day. They go for darshan on auspicious days, festivals, occasions etc.
Sanctuary for peace
Because planning is required to head to the nearest temple, home temples offer a religion sanctuary at home. Amidst the hectic lives, it becomes a beacon of home and peace. It lets one experience the presence of god and performs religious rituals.
Direction of your face when praying
If you are the person who performs daily puja at home, then you should do so while facing the west as this is very auspicious. For this to be possible, the entrance to the puja room or temple should be in the east. If this is not possible then one should ensure that when they pray, their face should be in the west direction to acquire boons.
The type of idols to be kept
In a home temple, the idols kept should not be very big in size. According to the ancient sacred scripts, if one wishes to place a shivaling in the home temple they can do so but its size should not be bigger than one’s thumb.
Never keep these things in the Puja room
In the house where the temple is placed, no items made of leather, i.e. shoes, slippers or leather bag should be kept. Within the temple area, images of the deceased and ancestors should not be placed. Such images should be placed in the southern region. All items required for prayers and puja should be the only things to be stored in the temple and the puja room.
Puja room should be far away from the washroom
Having a washroom or loo close to the temple in the house is considered very inauspicious. In fact, if the house is built in such a manner then a temple cannot be placed there. If the puja temple is placed in a smaller room it should have enough space for one to sit to conduct the prayer rituals.
Draw Curtains At Puja Room
Just like we retire each night wanting to sleep and rest in peace, we draw curtains, shut the light and prefer solace, the same holds true for the gods. Therefore, one should a draw over the temple at night.