The puja tray contains objects which play an important role in Hindu puja or worship. Puja is traditionally performed three times a day in an orthodox Hindu home - in the morning before dawn, at noon and in the evening. The puja tray will be placed on the family shrine which will also contain images of one or more deity.
The tray and other metal objects are made of stainless steel which symbolises purity. The bell is used to alert the deity that worship is about to begin. The small metal pot is used to hold water, a symbol of purity. The joss stick holder or incense burner is used to offer the sweet smell of incense, a traditional Hindu offering, to the deity. The arti lamp, which usually has five wicks, is filled with ghee, clarified butter. The offering of the fire or flame of the arti lamp is another ancient symbol within the Hindu tradition. The spoon is used to offer water or milk to the deity and to the worshippers. The dish contains sandalwood paste which is used to make a mark on the worshipper's forehead as a sign of the deity's presence and blessing. The sandalwood paste is also used to anoint the image of the deity.
Puja would also usually involve the offering of flowers and food to the deity, with the blessed food then being distributed to the worshippers.
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