Shodasa Upacharas, Pujas and Homas

Shodasa Upacharas, Pujas and Homas details I am telling here the

What is Pujan

Pooja (Sanskrit: reverence, honor, adoration, or worship) is a religious ritual that Hindus perform on a variety of occasions to pray or show respect to their chosen Gods or goddesses. Pooja basically involves making offerings to a chosen deity(s) so as to seek their blessings. The offerings are made with an acknowledgment – “I dedicate to you OGod, what is truly yours.” The whole pooja is thus an acknowledgment of one’s smallness and humility, i.e. performance of pooja removes Ego, which is truly the only hurdle on the path to success.Poojas vary in their scale, which depends on their duration, the number of deities being honored, and whether it is being performed by and for the public or private benefit. Most practicing Hindus perform pooja once or twice a day. Pooja should be done after a shower or bath and it is recommended that rites be performed before food intake to ensure sattvic qualities and full concentration (dhyana). Pooja is also performed on special occasions in addition to the daily ritual. These include Durga Pooja, Pongal and Lakshmi Pooja and other religious occasions.The Poojas performed daily in a temple or dwelling differ from those performed in a special occasion. It takes larger quantities of resources and manpower to perform largerPoojas and more than one priest, including a Tantradharak (Supervisor) is usually employed. However, regardless of scale, all pooja’s follow the same simple principle –treat the deity-like an esteemed (human) guest.

Steps of Shodasa Upacharas Pooja

Before commencing the pooja, one must offer prayers to Lord Ganesh or Ganpathi. b) He/She must offer a prayer to his/her Guru or Spiritual Mentor.

Dhyana and Avahana

Sitting before the Image or Idol of our favorite deity, meditate on his form. for example for Vishnu, one should think of conch, chakra and the mace in his hands and the lotus flower.Then, invoke the deity into the pictures or idol through prayers. After this is performed, what it was previously an object becomes potent and holy. At this time, worshippers say “God, I know you are everywhere. I know you are also in this Photograph/Idol.” While doing the pooja, one should not think of this just as a picture. The picture or idol is GOD (“you”) sitting opposite to me, accepting my pooja and prayers.


The next step is offering God a seat. This is done by just touching the picture, as if asking God to sit. Mentally imagine each step- Like God coming and sitting in front of us etc.


In this step, God’s feet are washed with water. (This is a custom followed in India-where the feet of holy men are washed when they come to a house.) Washing feet of the idol is done by pouring a few drops of water before the image.


Water is offered to God to wash his hands. This is again done by pouring a few drops of water before the idol. 

Achamany &  Madhuvarga

Water is offered to wash his mouth and face in the earlier prescribed manner.Madhuvarga (Madhu-Honey) is a beverage made of honey and milk is offered for theGod to drink. This is offered to GOD by keeping the vessel mixed with honey and milk in front of the image.

Abhishekam or Snanam

   Abishekam literally means bathing (GOD). For an Idol, a few drops of water can be poured on the idol and then dried. For a picture, it is sufficient if you pour a few drops of water before the image. In addition to water, you can pour milk, rose water, water mixed with sandalwood paste etc.


The offering of dress including an upper garment. Usually, flowers are offered in place of these. However, you can also offer a piece of cloth.


Sandalwood powder and kKum-Kum(red powder Hindus wear on their forehead) is offered to him.


The offering of ornaments made of Gold/Silver/Stones etc. While doing this, imagine putting a necklace on God and then place a flower at his feet.

Pushpa mala

Offering a garland of flowers.


Flowers of various types are offered to the Lord along with the chanting of his holy names.


Then show him an incense stick. The incense (agharbathi) can be light it and circled clockwise manner three times in front of GOD.


The next is an offering of a lighted lamp. This can be an oil lamp.


Offer GOD food- fruits or cooked food.


Light camphor and show it in front of the deity and at the same time as reciting prayers. This light can be circled in front of GOD three times in a clockwise manner, and after praying you can take from the flame by putting your hands to the tip of the flame and then to your eyes.The aarti is the true conclusion to the pooja – a sort of summary of the whole ceremony. It involves rededicating all the offerings by slowly rotating them in front of the deity and praying for one’s welfare and forgiveness. It is the most extravagant part of any Pooja and is accompanied by singing, dancing, chanting and the sacred music of conches, bells, gongs, and drums.

Pradakshina and Namaskara

Offer flowers at the feet of God indicating your surrender to him. Then you prostrate before the deity. You then offer all your prayers/songs etc