Do’s and Don’ts When Visiting A Hindu Temple
PLEASE READ THE CHAPTER ON RESTRICTIONS FOR DEVOTEES OF SIVA FROM MY BOOK SAYINGS OF LORD SIVA, WHICH IS FREE ON THIS WEBSITE WHICH GIVES THE RESTRICTIONS BEFORE VISTING THE SIVA TEMPLE.
- Bow your head and pay respect to the temple and the Hindu idols.
- Take off your shoes in or around the temple grounds, normally a temple has a person to watch over one’s footwear outside the temple.
- Cover yourself ladies. Always bring a wrap or a large scarf to cover your head. Do not wear shorts. You should be covered down at least below your knees.
- Please refrain from public displays of affection inside the temple.
- Keep quiet. There are those meditating or praying somewhere even though you may not see them. The temple is not a social club.
- Do not try to take photos inside the temple, prior permission from the temple authorities is required.
- Keep your mobile phone switched off, while inside the temple.
- While praying inside the temple, do not block the idol for a long period, rather stand at the side, so others can also pray to the idol, as long as you do not obstruct the view of the idol for others, you can pray undisturbed.
- If you are in a group who are praying together inside the temple, leave a passage or right of way to the idol, so that others are not obstructed in their prayers. A group should ensure that their prayers do not disturb the other devotees praying.
- Ensure that you instruct your children in advance how to behave in a self controlled manner inside the temple, the temple is not a playground.
- Do not experiment with your prayers, if in doubt consult the official head priest of the temple, or consult a religious expert before you visit the temple.
- Do not argue or debate with other sects of other temples/ organizations, saying your method or your Guru’s method is superior to all others. Remember there is no one single way in Hinduism.
- Assist the old the handicapped and the sick inside the temple if they require any assistance.
- Be aware that on some rare occasions, holy men visit the temples, assist them if required and take this opportunity to seek their blessings.
- Women who are having their periods should not visit the temple. Everyone should take a bath before visiting the temple.
- Visitors who have entered the temple have to remove their shoes, there is normally a stand which has a person who collects and safeguards your shoes. After this is done, the visitor should wash his hands, feet and flower offering, (if the temple has such arrangements available) before touching the idols.
- On the death of a close relative one should not visit the temple for 13 days. However depending on the sect, region of India, etc. this can be 21 or 31 days also.
- Remember going to a temple or holy place does not make you spiritual or superior to others who do not. Only by going into yourself and being a good person inwardly will you be truly spiritual.