Sri Lanka a second home for hindu pilgrimage. Visiting a Hindu Temple is a revered ritual because it serves as a sacred meeting place for the Hindu community to meet and worship with the objective of revitalising and sanctifying the body, mind and soul. It is believed that the amazing architecture of Hindu Temples, which has evolved over 2000 years, is admired for its different styles of domes, steeples and intricate sculptures.
At the entrance to the temple is the front porch where devotees ring the big metallic bell that is hung from the ceiling as a declaration of their entry and departure to the sanctified abode. As you step into the Temple Hall you will observe devotes with offerings, several in deep meditation, some quietly chanting and others silently watching the priests perform the rituals.
If you are in time for one of the pujas (religious rituals) then sit or stand with the crowd. You will notice the priest coming with a tray of lamps, which flame you are supposed to touch lightly and rub over your eyes as the tray passes by. You will also be offered fruits or sweets offered on trays, which you are supposed to take with your right hand and if its milk with a cupped hand, sip it and brush the excess over your head. Thereafter the priest will touch your forehead with a dash of turmeric, ash or kumkum as a blessing. Always return greetings with a smile.
Most temples usually have three pujas (religious rituals) each day. However the best time to visit a Hindu Temple and experience the full event in its vibrancy, would be during the annual festival (Festival dates differ at each Temple) when thousands of devotees flock to participate in the festive rituals.
It is important to be dressed respectfully (legs and shoulders covered) and to remove hats, sunglasses and footwear before entering the temple.
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