The Puja Room is the room where the family’s deities, idols are kept and used exclusively for prayer, worship and meditation. In earlier times, a well designed, large space was exclusively reserved for this purpose and was usually accessed from the Living Room. However, today with reduced space availability, the Puja Room has become a tiny space, sometimes just a small mandir placed in the Kitchen.
Here, I have explained the Vastu Guidelines for a Puja room. Since Vastu is a science, every guideline is based on sound logic and reasoning. As an Architect, I have attempted toexplain these guidelines rationally and scientifically, so that you can decide what you want to follow and what you don’t.
The Puja room should be in the North-East, East or North: The Scientific Reason – Early at dawn, the Sun is in the North-Eastern part of the house. These hours are ideal for Yoga, meditation, prayer or study as it is very quiet and peaceful. Also, the early morning Sun’s rays have a very beneficial effect on our health. Therefore, the North-East corner is the best position for the Puja Room/prayer room or meditation room.
In a big site, the Puja room can be in the Centre of the House: The Scientific Reason-The central part of a large house should be kept open to allow proper flow of air and cross ventilation. It makes sense to have a Puja room right in the middle of this court as it can be seen from all rooms and the space is utilized.
The Puja Room should be in the Ground Floor and not in the Basement:The Scientific Reason – A basement is a dark and dingy place and one cannot benefit from the morning sun rays here.
The Puja Room should not be on the upper floors: The Scientific Reason – The Puja room is meant for worship or meditation and this activity is recommended for everyone, everyday, especially in the mornings when our minds are fresh and not yet corrupted by many thoughts. If the Puja room is located on an upper floor, then it can put off physically inactive people like the obese, or the elderly or the ailing, from making the trip to the Puja everyday. The climb up the steps can put them off and since it is out of sight from the commonly used rooms on the ground, one may even forget to spend a few minutes everyday, in thought about God or life!
If there is no space for a Puja room, the Mandir can be placed in the North-East corner of the Kitchen: The Scientific Reason – In apartments it may not be possible to have a separate Puja room, but since one starts the day by entering the Kitchen, having a Puja here helps one to spend a few quiet moments in meditation.
Avoid Puja mandirs in the Bedrooms: The Scientific Reason – Many people may feel uncomfortable to lie around with their feet pointing towards the religious idols, as they believe it is disrespectful to god.
Avoid a Toilet near or above the Puja Room: The Scientific Reason – A Toilet causes disturbance when people use it and also the smell can distract while one is meditating.
Idols can be in the North-East, East or West of the Puja: The Scientific Reason – The morning sunlight streaming in from the North-East, East and the evening light from the West will light up the idols enabling you to see them better.
Avoid idols facing North: Because then the worshiper has to face South which is not advisable. The Scientific Reason – When a worshiper sits facing South, his feet are towards the south and his head is in the North. This causes the magnetic North of the body, namely the Head to repel the Earth’s magnetic North Pole.
Avoid broken idols or torn pictures: The Scientific Reason – Praying to a broken idol or torn image of a deity can be distracting.
Avoid idols facing each other: The Logic – The purpose of having idols in a Puja room is for one to be able to see them and meditate on them.
Idols should be kept at least an inch away from the wall:The Scientific Reason -Keeping the idols away from the walls, ensures that there is proper movement of air and incense smoke through the room.
The lamp should always be in front of the idol:The Scientific Reason – The idea of having a lamp is to light it and if it is placed in front of the idols, one can see them better.
The puja things should be stored in the South-East of the Puja room:The Scientific Reason – All the puja stuff should be kept away from the North-East and East, so that there is no obstruction to the morning sunlight.
Avoid a bell in the Puja room: The Logic – A Puja room at home is not made to replicate a temple. It is more of a meditation room and loud sounds should be avoided.
Avoid photographs of dead people in the Puja room: The Logic – While many people believe in showing respect to the dead, it is better not to have their photos in the Puja room as they may be distracting or bring back painful memories.
Food offerings should be placed in front of the idols: The Logic – Whatever is offered to god should be always placed in front of the idol as a mark of respect. Moreover, it is less cumbersome to remove and replace if it is right in front.
A cupboard lower than the idols can be placed against the South or West wall: The Scientific Reason – This way, it will not be an obstruction to the useful morning sunlight.
Avoid storing or hiding money or valuables in the Puja room: The Scientific Reason – Many people may feel they are being disrespectful to God by keeping things and hiding stuff here.
The Puja room should have a lower ceiling: One can use false ceiling for the same. The Scientific Reason – A Puja room is generally a small room and so having a low ceiling will make it appear more proportional.
The Puja room can be a pyramid shaped space: The Scientific Reason – It is known scientifically that sitting in a pyramid especially while meditating can create positive effects on the health of the person.
Keep the Puja room clean always: The Logic – By cleaning the Puja room everyday, it ensures that one spends a few moments in prayer. Also it is a way of showing respect to God.
Door to the Puja room should have two shutters: The Logic – When doing puja or meditating, the door is kept open outwards and can come in the way if it is one shutter.
There should be a threshold at the entrance to the Puja room.The Scientific Reason – A threshold prevents ants and insects from entering and this is useful in a Puja room, as foodstuff may be offered in prayer.
For lengthy meditation, sit facing East and avoid facing the idols: If meditation is going to last for more than 15 minutes one should not sit exactly facing the idols. The Logic – When meditating it is best to face East as the morning sun’s rays are beneficial to one’s health. If one keeps looking at the idols, it can be distracting. Moreover the energy that radiates from them can be very strong.
Colours in the Puja room: Can be white, light yellow or light blue. White or light yellow marblework in the room is preferred. The Scientific Reason – White marble shines and reflects light, thus enhancing the bright and well-lit look of a space. The same is true in case of light colours.
This post was about the Vastu guidelines for the design of a Puja Room. The Puja room is usually adjacent to a Living room or in a Kitchen. Read the Vastu guidelines for the design of these spaces here:
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