Inside the Mandir

The main hall in the Sanatan Mandir, Leicester

A mandir has many internal features, which one can fully appreciate only by visiting. Below we list what we might experience on entering a temple. Some mandirs have fewer facilities, and others far more. The more elaborate are often part of an entire complex that includes residential quarters, guest rooms, and educational facilities.

  • Racks for shoes (sometimes manned in larger temples)
  • The fragrance of incense
  • Main hall (temple room)
  • Bell to ring upon entry – to announce one’s arrival to the deity
  • Pictures/posters of saints, deities, and associated stories

    Clockwise from Bottom-left):
    Worshippers taking off their shoes upon entering the temple
    Ringing the bell on entering the temple room
    Two girls taking Charanamrita (holy water) after taking darshan
    Placing money in the donation box after the arti ceremony

  • Hindu symbols
  • Musical instruments – including drums, cymbals, harmonium
  • Sacred books – for reading and giving lectures
  • Main shrine (at the front); often many smaller shrines, usually to the sides
  • Donation box before the shrine
  • Murtis within the shrine areas
  • Charanamrita (holy water in a bowl near the altar)
  • Prasada, sacred food, handed to worshippers at the altar, or as they leave
  • Priest or priests
  • Kitchen and dining area
  • Auditorium for music, drama, dance, and other cultural performances
  • Shop selling religious artifacts, books, and other religious souvenirs.
  • The temple administrative office