With my initial jitters subsiding I walked thru the front doors of the Indian temple with my future In-Laws and fiancé. Out of the blue, while visiting with my Parents in Chicagoland, Illinois for the first time, my future In-Laws mentioned an Indian temple they wanted to go see. My parents within an ear reach disclosed that the temple was only five miles away. Eager to see the temple, prior to their departure, I grabbed my purse and headed out to the temple with my fiancé, and his family. Not ready but preparing myself for the unexpected I had the chance to see and feel what’s inside of an Indian/Hindu temple firsthand.
What’s inside? What is it like? Here are 10 things on one tells you about going to an Indian temple (as a Non-Indian).
10 THINGS NO ONE TELLS YOU ABOUT GOING TO AN INDIAN TEMPLE
1.) You can not wear your shoes inside the temple. And there may or may not be an area for shoes inside. If there isn’t a designated shoe area inside then you will have to leave your shoes outside. Yes, outside potentially amongst hundreds to thousands of other shoes. Tip: Wear unusual or even bright shoes so that you can easily find your shoes.
2.) It is super quiet. So much so that you could hear a pin drop.
3.) Of course if you are not Indian you can expect some stares and blank looks in your direction.
4.) Don’t dress up unless it is for a wedding or holiday/festivity. Most people in the temple will be wearing casual Indian attire (e.g. a Salwar or Sari) or western attire if you are in the U.S.
5.) There is tons of historical information inside. Inside the temple that I visited in the Chicagoland area there were historical charts galore. In addition to intricate details on the walls about: Sanskrit, astrology, and mathematics etc. Hence my future Father-in-law was happy to utter to me that “Indians created everything, you see!” Funny and true he would later change his stance on these words.
6.) There are elaborate decorative markings and symbols everywhere pertaining to faith and culture.
7.) You go on stage and do Aarti (if you are Hindu). What is that? Aarti is where you give respect to God(s). Furthermore, “it is a Hindu religious ritual of worship, a part of puja, in which light from wicks soaked in ghee (purified butter) or camphor is offered to one or more deities.” Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aarti
8.) Some temples serve you lunch at no cost.
9.) You have to sit on the floor because there are no chairs. Don’t lay on the floor or place your feet towards the altar because that is a sign of disrespect.
10.) Prasad similar to communion is offered to you as you exist the temple.
Have you been to an Indian Temple as a Non-Indian? What did you think and/or see? Write us at growingupgupta.com. Like our content? Subscribe? Share this post and feel free to comment below!