Altars

Making A Shrine For Ganesh


Creating a home shrine is not difficult. The altar should be close to the floor if you plan to use it for puja and/or meditation. However when there are small children in the home it is often best to have it higher and out of reach.

For a Ganesha shrine, an image, or murti, of Lord Ganesha is placed at the center of the altar. A metal or stone image is best, but if not available there are two traditional alternatives:

  1. A framed picture, preferably with a sheet of copper on the back.
  2. A kumbha, which is a symbol of Ganesha made by placing a coconut on a brass pot of water with five mango leaves inserted between the coconut and the pot. The coconut should be husked but still have the fibers on the top.

Bathing the God’s image (murti) is a part of a puja and other ceremonies. For this, special arrangements may need to be made. Most simply, the murti may be placed in a deep tray to catch the water. After the bath, the tray is removed and the murti dried off, and then dressed and decorated.

Various items for the altar can include:

  • Water cups and a small spoon for offering water
  • A brass vessel of unbroken, uncooked rice mixed with enough turmeric to turn the rice yellow
  • A tray or basket of freshly picked flowers (without stems) or loose flower petals
  • A lamp
  • Small metal bell
  • Incense burner and a few sticks of incense
  • Fresh fruit
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