The Hindu temple is a sacred space where man and God communicate; traditionally they were built on higher ground or near a river, and at the center of spiritual energy.
Temple is a place of worship for formal or informal prayers and rituals. There is no preaching in Hindu traditions. Only guru gives public discourse, outside the temple, mostly in question and answer format. If some one is searching for God, he would seek the guidance from a guru, who is an enlightened master and would learn yoga and meditation from him.
In temple, you will see many statues of Gods. The many Gods are perceived as divine creations of that one Being. Hindu’s believe in one Supreme Being who pervades the entire universe. Hinduism grants equal status to all forms of worship and therefore it neither prescribes nor condemns worship of images and idols. The Hindu religion brings to us the gift of tolerance that allows for different stages of worship, including different and personal expressions of devotion and even different Gods to guide our life.
The Hindu chooses an Ishta Devata or personal Deity, which is one form of God that appeals to him most. However, God can also be worshiped without form, as He is both immanent and transcendent in creation. The profound understanding of the nature of reality and universal acceptance of all forms of belief that are unique in Hinduism are reflected in this faculty for accommodating different approaches to the Divine.
For Hindus the Divine is personal and approachable. The most common word describing worship is Darshan, literally translated as ‘seeing and being seen by God’. It is an Indian tradition when visiting family or friends, they don’t go empty handed, but take some love offering, mostly home made food. And that is very true when visiting a temple; as a symbol of our love for God, Hindus offer flowers, fruit, coconut or money.
In Hindu tradition, there is no such thing as ‘Sunday Service.’ Devotees can visit temple any day of the week. They can pray with the help of a priest or a without a priest. What is emphasized in Indian tradition is called Satsang (sat = true, sanga = company), meaning holy company. And with the help of holy company, one can evolve towards God. Within the Hindu religion, the priest would never say you must worship in this way, or you must be silent because there is a ceremony in progress. Hinduism accepts all, and rejects none.
Hindus not only worship God in the temple, but the most important worship occurs at home. No matter how rich or poor, every Hindu would have a shrine in their home, creating a Godly atmosphere in their daily life. In their home shrine, they would offer daily worship, as well as meditate.
Hindu scriptures say that God cannot be described but has to be experienced, therefore Hindu’s daily lives are permeated with their faith. Hinduism demands the active participation of all senses: sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch, which you will experience today in your Hindu temple visit.