What items do Hindus use at prayer time?
Offering prayers is not a simple everyday routine for Hindus. It is a ritual. India is a land of gods and goddesses. Everyone has the option to choose the god or goddess of one's choice. Many pray to several gods at the same time. Even when a temple is built for a special deity, there are smaller temples within the main temple, each devoted to a deity. Hindus find it convenient to pray to several gods simultaneously.
Every home has a little place for prayer. The bigger homes may have a small room devoted exclusively for this. The smaller homes may have a small corner. Even in a hut one finds a little space reserved for God. The larger homes may have an idol made of marble or silver. Others may have small idols or pictures of gods, which help one concentrate better.
Besides the idol or picture(s) of gods it is customary to have a small plate to place flowers and offerings like fruit and money. There may be a small throne or pedestal for the idol, a small oil lamp, a stand for incense sticks, a bell, a small bowl and spoon and similar items used exclusively for prayers.
Religious texts rate gold as the most valuable metal. Therefore, the ornaments that adorn gods in temples are either gold, or silver covered with gold. Even the little throne or pedestal of the idol is golden. In many places the idols are made of gold, or made of silver coated with gold. When idols are made of marble they are dressed attractively and painted golden appropriately. Gold does not tarnish or rust and only requires some cleaning.
In Ayurveda too, gold is highly acclaimed. A pure, superior metal, it does not degenerate or lose its qualities with time and enhances one's strength, virility and immunity.
Compared to gold, silver is a cold metal. With a cooling effect on the body, it calms down the flow of bile. It is good for eyesight and promotes mental tranquility. Utensils made