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The Arti Ceremony

 


A priest (pujari) offers the midday arti. Each article, such as the lamp shown here, is offered using the right hand.


The flame is passed around the congregation. Some place coins on the plate which is returned to the altar.
The arti tray, after the ceremony.


A temple sign listing the six arti ceremonies. The times on the right show when the shrine is open for taking darshan (audience).

Arti is the most popular ceremony within Hinduism, often performed in temples six or seven times per day. It is a greeting ceremony offered to the murti and also gurus, holy people, and other representations of the divine. Arti is often called "the ceremony of lights" but usually involves offering more than just a lamp.

The priest or worshipper offers various auspicious articles by moving them in clockwise circles before the deity. At the same time he or she rings a small hand bell, while meditating on the forms of the deity.

During the entire ceremony, which normally lasts from five to thirty minutes, the worshipper offers incense, a flower, water, a five-wick lamp, a lamp with camphor and other items. The ceremony is often announced and concluded by the blowing of a conch-shell.

During the ceremony the offered lamp is passed around the congregation; members pass their fingers over the flame and reverently touch them to their foreheads. The offered flowers are also passed around worshippers and the water is sprinkled over their heads.

Arti is usually accompanied by singing (bhajan/kirtan) and out of respect worshippers usually stand for the entire ceremony.