Worship in the Home

A typical family shrine. The standards of worship are not usually as strict as in the temple. The sacred images are bathed and dressed each Sunday, whereas in most mandirs such worship is performed every morning.

Hinduism is notable for its emphasis on home worship. Most Hindus have a shrine at home. For some this will be a few pictures on a shelf in the living room or kitchen. Others, particularly the more wealthy, will dedicate a whole room to worship and meditation.

The shrine will contain images of the family’s chosen deity, either as a framed picture or in the form of a murti. Worship is often a scaled-down version of the elaborate puja performed in the mandir and performed by the ladies of the household, early in the mornings. Children may also be taught their tradition by actively involving them in such worship.

In some homes, all food is offered to the deities before eating. In order to keep the home pure and sanctified, Hindu people usually do not wear shoes inside. Some will also avoid other habits they consider unclean, such as smoking and drinking, eating meat, and having dogs and cats inside the house. Most Hindus consider it essential to bathe at least once a day, especially before worship.

Glossary terms

This family in North London conducts arti twice a day, morning and evening. They usually visit their local temple on weekends and for major festival days.

Kula-deva – the traditional family deity
Ishta-deva – the specific deity a person chooses to worship


At home, all our food is offered to God. My Mum puts a little of each dish into stainless steel bowls on a tray. Then she puts it on the shrine and says some prayers while ringing the bell. Afterwards we all say a prayer before eating.

(Subhadra, aged 11)

A young Hindu girl offers incense at the family shrine. Children assimilate many religious and social values within the home.