Customs In Temples
Customs In Temples
In majority of the temples in Kerala non-Hindus are not permitted to enter the area of sanctum sanctorum. However, in many temples there is no objection for non-Hindus entering inside the outer-walls of the temple. Once inside the outer-walls, standing in the Nadapura (sheltered front path) on can see the deity in the sanctum sanctorum.
Ladies during menstruation period are strictly prohibited entering even the premises of the temples. Likewise, if a death is occurred in the family, the blood relatives of the deceased are forbidden visiting temples during the mourning period of 14 days.
Male devotees entering the sanctum sanctorum are required to be bare-bodied. They can fling their shirt on the shoulder or hand. There is no objection in wearing pants or shorts. Wearing caps is disallowed. Smoking is also there in the prohibited list.
Ladies have no restrictions in their wear.
No footwear is allowed even inside the outer walls. However, socks have no bar.
In most of the temples the circumambulating path of the sanctum sanctorum and the outer temple are granite-laid. A devotee usually circumambulates the sanctum sanctorum three times, starting from the left. Some finish at one round. Having circumambulations in twos are inauspicious. After the circumambulation the devotee prays before the deity with folded hands when he/she inaudibly presents his grievances or wishes before the deity. Most of the devotees give some Vazhipad (offering) to please the deity. Once the praying is over the Santhi (priest) gives the Prasadam (the food of the deity) consisting of sandalwood paste and various flowers in a piece of plantain leaf. In Bhagawathy temples, instead of sandalwood paste, it is turmeric paste. The devotees apply the paste on the forehead. Some apply it on chest and upper-end of both the hands, in addition to the forehead. The devotees finally circumambulate the outer temple once or thrice.
In Shiva temples the circumambulation does not take full circle. If a full circle is taken, it is considered as inauspicious which may result in ill-effects.
The Shiva Lingam washed water is allowed to flow to the left side and there is a gap in the circumambulating path to flow the washed water. A devotee proceeds to left and reaches up-to the gap and returns and moves to the right and goes up-to the gap in the left and then returns to the starting point. By this procedure the devotee does not cover the full circle.
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