Why do Hindus ring a bell when they enter a temple?
Temples where bells keep ringing are ones where the deities are awake to the call of devotees. Bells are hung at the entry of the temple and rung to inform the deity of the devotee's arrival. The use of bells during arti is to tell all those living nearby that it is time for prayers. During prayers and arti, both at sunrise and sunset, all kinds of bells, small and big, are used. Between them, a definite beat and rhythm is employed for greater effectiveness.
It is believed that the ringing of bells arouses the divinity within deities into which life has been infused. If bells are not used, there is the likelihood that the deity may be in meditation and the prayers or offerings may not be accepted. It is also believed that the sound of bells protects one from harmful effects of problems. According to the Skandpuran, the ringing of temple bells absolves man from sins committed over hundred births.
Mankind was created in the presence of a musical sound. The same sound is generated when a temple bell rings. The same musical sound is also generated when one chants Om. It is significant that the bull Nandi is considered symbolic of the same musical sound.
A bell also symbolises death. When taking a dead body for cremation, one rings the bell. It is believed that when this world ends, there will be a similar sound of ringing of bells.