You may feel lost if you are visiting a Hindu temple for the first time. Here are some tips for visiting Hindu temples to help you make most of your trip to the holy place :
It is recommended, but not necessary, to buy “offerings”. The “offerings” generally differ for each God and there are plenty of shops around each temple from where you can buy these. Most popular are Garlands, Coconut, Mustard Oil, Sweets, items of Suhaag Shringaar (makeup of married women) including bangles, bindi, sindoor, perfume, koel, lipstick, etc. You can also choose to just buy a simple garland or loose flowers to offer. You can give these to the priest in the main temple, who will offer them to the deity and return some for you as “Prasad”.
Donation or Dakshina
Though it is not compulsory, but you can choose to donate some money at the temple. Drop the money in the “Daan Peti” or “drop boxes” lying in the temple premises.
Meditation at temples
Spend some time meditating at the temple. Find yourself a corner and sit there with your eyes closed for a few minutes to feel the aura.
Aarti is done everyday a few times in the main sanctum of every temple. If you happen to be the lucky to attend one and offered to take “Aarti” (lamps used for worshipping deity), keeping palms of both the hands together, pass your hands a little above the lamp and slightly rub/touch your head and face. Aarti is considered to be a form of blessings from God.
When offered, accept Prasad joining both the hands. It is safe to accept Prasad from the priest in the main sanctum. Do not accept any offering from strangers in and around the temple.
Accepting “Tilak” or “Teeka”
As part of puja, priest may apply Tilak on your forehead of red vermilion or sandalwood. Bow your head a little and cover your head with a stole or hand to accept the Tilak.