Retrieve your login details

Enter your email address below and we'll send you an email with a link reset your password



You need to have an account and be logged in to be able to add and manage your list of favourites. or create an account

You haven’t viewed any of our resources yet. To start exploring them now please see our full listing here

Holy Cribs: The Mandir

Pranathi gives TrueTube a tour of The Shree Ghanapathy Mandir in South London, explaining its most important features and her beliefs as a Hindu.

Component 1: The study of religions: beliefs, teaching and practices: Hinduism - Different forms of worship: puja and arati - The rituals of puja and arati and their significance for Hindus.

Area of Study 2 – Hinduism - Section 3: Living the Hindu Life - The nature and purpose of prayer in the temple and the home: the nature, features of use and purpose of the different forms of worship, including meditation, puja, havan, darshan, arti, bhajan, kirtan and japa, with reference to interpretations of Bhagavad Gita 6.44–47; divergent understandings of the benefits for Hindus of having different forms of worship.

Component Group 1 - Beliefs and teachings & Practices - Hinduism - Approaching deity •Different Hindu understandings of the role,forms and importance of the following types of worship: •• Havan or homa •• Puja •• Meditation •• Japa •• Bhajan or kirtan •• Darshan • The nature and importance of sacred places and spaces for Hindu worship: •• Temples •• Shrines •• Sites of pilgrimage •• Outdoors •• Hills and rivers

2.1 Unit 1 PART A - Hinduism - Core beliefs, teachings and practices - Practices Worship  Features and importance of daily puja in the home: (Bhagavad Gita 3:19, 4:38)  Features and importance of congregational puja in the mandir (including devotions to the murti, arti and havan)  Diversity in Vaishnavite and Shaivite worship  Significance of bhakti  Role, importance and features of pilgrimage to Varanasi

2.3 Component 3 (Route A) - Option 2: Hinduism - Places of worship in Britain and elsewhere ➢ Features and importance of daily puja in the home ➢ Features and importance of congregational puja in the mandir ➢ Diversity of views and practices: Vaishnava and Shaiva bhakti ➢ Hindu mandirs in Britain compared to those in India ➢ Features and importance of worship at outdoor shrines Worship/meditation ➢ The significance of different forms of worship/meditation; havan, puja, arati, darshan Bhagavad Gita 9.26, bhajan/kirtan, japa: Bhagavad Gita 3.19, 4.38, 6.11–12 ➢ The importance of focuses of worship and representations of the divine; one god, other deities, holy land, plants and animals: Bhagavad Gita 16.24 ➢ Honouring Gurus and elders

Holy Cribs: The Mandir

Pranathi: Welcome to the Shree Ghanapathy Temple. My name is Pranathi and I'm a Hindu. This is a temple or mandir and my dad is one of the priests here, so it's like a second home to me. We come here to worship Brahman, the one supreme spirit which we believe lives in all things. We worship many forms of Brahman, but this temple is especially dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Traditional mandirs usually have a gateway or a tower called a gopuram, which lets you know you're entering a special place. You may also find a statue of an animal or god outside. This is Ganesha, the elephant headed god of wisdom. This is the normal entrance for the mandir. The word mandir comes from the word 'house' in the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit. We think of the temple as a home for the deities, what we call the gods and goddesses that are inside. When we come into the temple, we respect it like you would when entering the home of a very important person. The entrance area of the mandir is called an ardhamandapa. It's where we take off our shoes and leave them in these racks. This is so we can keep the inside of the building as clean as possible, as another sign of respect. Also, some girls and women like to cover their heads when they come into the mandir. As people enter, they will often ring a bell to announce their arrival, just like you would ring on someone's doorbell.

On special occasions, we will open the main doors of the temple and you'll often see people bending down to touch the steps before they enter. In India, it's tradition that we touch the feet of those we respect, and the step represents the feet of the deities. By the door, this is Bhairavar. He is the protector or guardian of our temple. This is the mandapa, the main prayer hall of the mandir. All around the mandapa, there are deities. Each one has a shrine or vimana, which is a small area of worship. A statue of a deity is called a murti. We treat them as honoured guests, and so they are washed, decorated and given offerings of food every day, as signs of respect to the gods or goddesses they represent. I said outside that we worship one supreme spirit called Brahman who was a part of all things. So each one of the deities is Brahman in human or animal form. They show us many different ways to understand Brahman.


This mandir is dedicated to Ganesha, but most mandirs will have a murti of Ganesha near the door. He is a very popular deity because he removes obstacles or problems in people's lives. This is Shiva with his wife, Parvati. We also have murtis of Vishnu and we believe he has come to Earth in different forms. So here he is, as Krishna with Radha. And as Rama with Sita. Puja is the Hindu name for worship or prayer.

A tray is often laid out with various objects to help Hindus in their worship. Fruit, rice, flowers, water, a lamp, holy ash and kumkum powder, incense, a bell. There will be items to touch, taste, smell, hear and look at. All five senses are involved as a symbol that the whole person is devoted to the deity. Prasad is food like fruit, nuts or sweets that is offered to the murtis and then shared out after the puja. We believe that the deities bless the food during the puja. And so if we eat the prasad we will be blessed too. Take a sniff. Incense is burned in mandirs to purify the air, hiding any nasty smells. It also creates an atmosphere that always makes me think of puja. So it helps me to get in the right frame of mind to pray. The main shrine at the front of the mandapa is called a garbha griha, which means womb house. It symbolises the womb or heart of the body because we believe it gives life to the whole mandir. Inside the garbha griha will be a murti of the main deity that the mandir is dedicated to; the deity that most people come to this mandir to worship, which in our case is Ganesha. There is a space or corridor around the garbha griha called the pradakshina. This is so people can walk clockwise all around it. It shows that just like the shrine is at the centre of the circle I'm making as I walk around it, Ganesha is at the centre of my life. Directly above the garbha griha, some mandirs have a spire on the roof called a shikara, or they might even have several shikaras above all the different shrines. They symbolise the Himalayas, the mountains in India, where the deities were believed to live. In fact, shikara means 'mountain peak'. Some mandirs have flags, and the colour of the flags show which deity the mandir is dedicated to. So orange for Shiva and his family, which includes his son Ganesha; and red and white stripes for Swaminarayan.


Our priests traditionally come from the Brahmin varna, the top varna or caste in the Indian class system. He's called a pujari, someone who leads puja. This is the arti ceremony. The pujari uses a lamp with five wicks to symbolise the five traditional elements of earth, air, fire, water and space. He waves it in front of the murtis while chanting a prayer. And people ring bells and blow a shankha. A shankha or conch is a huge seashell. And if you blow into it properly, it makes... That sound. The lamp is blessed by the deities during the arti prayer, and then it's taken round the mandapa for us to pass our hands over the flames and then touch our heads to show that we are accepting the deity's blessing.

Mandirs are usually full of decorations and symbols. This one is called the Om, which represents Brahman, the one unseen spirit. The lotus flower grows out of a muddy riverbed to float on the surface, looking all beautiful. So it symbolises that we should try to be pure, even when the world around us is often polluted. And the swastika which represents the sun and God's blessings. Although this one is often misunderstood because it was used by the Nazis in the Second World War, it's a shame because the symbol of blessing was turned into a symbol of hate. But that's not what it means to me. Many mandirs have a hall or other rooms attached that can be used for meetings, education, festivals and lots of other events. And that's it. Thanks for coming to the Shree Ghanapathy Temple. Don't forget your shoes. Thanks for coming, guys. Bye.


Holy Cribs: The Mandir

Video length - 08.24
Published date - May 2023
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

A Day in the Life of a Hindu Priest – How does a Hindu Priest fill his time? To find out, TrueTube followed Krishan around with a camera for a day.

A Day in the Life of a Hindu Priest

Video length - 08.28
Published date - Feb 2018
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

Alien Abduction: Hinduism – Orbiting Earth at this very moment, the alien survey ship “Pantheon” is abducting people to collect data about their belief systems. Rupal is beamed into the interrogation chamber to answer questions about Hinduism.

TrueTube films are designed for use in a number of ways. Some ideas of where this film could link to your curriculum are below:

AQA                                                                                                                                                                             Component 1: The study of religions: beliefs, teaching and practices: Hinduism - What is Hinduism? How Hinduism is a variety of practices and beliefs that have developed over time but there are central tenets of the faith. It is a faith found in India but also in other parts of the world, including the UK. Ideas about the nature of God and existence: Beliefs about Brahman -Brahman: ultimate reality as divine consciousness (nirguna) and manifestation of God in form (saguna); spiritual worlds. Beliefs about the nature of human life: the concepts of atman, samsara, karma and moksha. - The concept of atman, as individual, eternal inner self, distinct from material mind and body. The cycle of birth and death (samsara), moral action and reaction (the law of karma), and types of liberation (moksha)

Area of Study 1 -Section 1: Beliefs and Teachings - Hinduism- The nature of Brahman: the nature of Brahman as spirit, ultimate reality or absolute truth; how the characteristics of Brahman are shown in Hindu scriptures - The nature of the individual and life within Hinduism: the nature and importance of the atman (eternal self), karma, the cycle of samsara, moksha; divergent Hindu understandings of the nature of the individual and life Area of Study 3 -Section 2: Philosophy of Religion - Revelation as proof of the existence of God; revelation as shown in the scriptures including in the Vedas Area of Study 3 - Section 3: Living the Hindu Life - Hindu sacred festivals: the nature, history, purpose and significance of Hindu sacred festivals; the origins and meaning of specific festivals, including Diwali

OCR                                                                                                                                                                           Component Group 2–Religion, philosophy and ethics in the modern world from a religious perspective - the existence of God, gods and ultimate reality, and ways in which God, gods or ultimate reality might be understood; through revelation, visions, miracles or enlightenment

WJEC                                                                                                                                                                       Component 2 - Religion, philosophy and ethics in the modern world from a Hindu perspective - The existence of Ultimate Reality and Deity - Key philosophical and ethical concepts: • The nature of deity and Ultimate Reality in Hinduism • The existence of evil in the world •Human suffering • Hindu understandings of the concept of deity-God,gods and Ultimate Reality including: •• Different Hindu teachings and beliefs about what Brahman is like •• Different Hindu teachings and beliefs about Brahman’s relationship with the world •• Different Hindu teachings and beliefs about Brahman’s relationship with humanity •• The role and significance of other deities •• Reasons for different views •The relationship between concepts of deity and Ultimate Reality • Hindu beliefs and views on Brahman and goodness

Eduqas                                                                                                                                                                     Component 3 (Route A) - Option 2: Hinduism - Beliefs and teachings - Nature and features of Brahman/Bhagavan  ➢ As spirit, ultimate reality, absolute truth; Chandogya Upanishad 3:14.1 ➢ Everywhere and within the heart; Katha Upanishad 5:2 ➢ A personal and loving God; Bhagavad Gita 14.27 ➢ Belief in Brahman as nirguna (without qualities) and saguna (with qualities) Bhagavad Gita 11.8 ➢ Diversity of views within Hinduism: monist and monotheist Hindu Gods/deities ➢ Nature and role of the trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and their consorts); Kūrma Purana 1.6, 1.9 ➢ The importance of Krishna and Shakti ➢ The nature and role of avatara; Bhagavad Gita 4.5 ➢ Importance and role of murti in worship; Bhagavad Gita 12.5 ➢ Diversity of views towards trimurti: Vaishnavism and Shaivism The Eternal Self ➢ Atman; trapped in matter, distinct from body and mind: Bhagavad Gita 2.12, 2.17 ➢ Diversity of views: Advaita Vedanta and Dvaita Vedanta ➢ Karma (action and reaction), samsara, reincarnation: Bhagavad Gita 2:22, Moksha: Bhagavad Gita 2.13, 8.6, 15.9, 2.15 Human Life ➢ Four aims: (dharma as duty/righteousness, artha, kama and moksha); sanatana dharma and varnashramadharma: Bhagavata Purana 1.2.6, The Mahabharata, Book 9.60 ➢ Free will and responses to suffering and maya: Bhagavata Purana 5.5.8, cycle of birth and death, Bhagavad Gita 2.60 – 63 ➢ Importance of knowledge of human life. Practices - Places of worship in Britain and elsewhere ➢ Features and importance of daily puja in the home ➢ Features and importance of congregational puja in the mandir ➢ Diversity of views and practices: Vaishnava and Shaiva bhakti ➢ Hindu mandirs in Britain compared to those in India ➢ Features and importance of worship at outdoor shrines Worship/meditation ➢ The significance of different forms of worship/meditation; havan, puja, arati, darshan Bhagavad Gita 9.26, bhajan/kirtan, japa: Bhagavad Gita 3.19, 4.38, 6.11–12 ➢ The importance of focuses of worship and representations of the divine; one god, other deities, holy land, plants and animals: Bhagavad Gita 16.24 ➢ Honouring Gurus and elders Festivals: practices in Britain and elsewhere ➢ The diverse origins, features and meaning of: ➢ Diwali – with reference to how this festival is practised by different Hindu communities in Britain ➢ Holi – with reference to how this is practised by different Hindu communities in Britain ➢ Raksha Bandhan: myths of King Bali and Lakshmi (Vishnu Purana) and Indra and the demon (Bhavishya Purana)

Speakers Alien Abduction: Hinduism


Robot Survey ship Pantheon orbiting planet: Earth. Dominant life form: Human. Belief system: Various. More information required. Scanning for samples. Welcome to survey ship Pantheon, our mission is to investigate the culture of your planet, and you have been selected to represent your belief system. Please state your name.

Rupal Patel Rupal Patel.

Robot              Religion.

Rupal Patel   Hindu.

Robot              Holy book.

Rupal Patel   There are lots, um, but the key ones are the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita.

Robot              Holy building.

Rupal Patel   Uh, the mandir or also known as a Hindu temple.

Robot              Symbol.

Rupal Patel   The om.

Robot              You will now be asked a series of questions from the categories on screen. You have 30 of your Earth seconds to provide a satisfactory answer to each one. Failure to comply will result in matter dispersal. Standby. Choose the first category.

Rupal Patel   Uh, God.

Robot              What do you believe about God?

Rupal Patel   Um, Hindus believe there's one supreme god. Um, he's the all doer. He's come down on this Earth, and he's known by different by different names. We call him Bhagwan. Um, he is ultimately the creator, sustainer, and the destroyer. Um, also known as Brahma, Vishnu, Shiv, and seen in Hindu temples in lots of different forms.

Rupal Patel   Uh, life after death.

Robot              What do you believe will happen to humans after death?

Rupal Patel   Um, Hindus believe that each life form has an atman, um, this, in essence, is an immortal soul. Following death, the atman moves into a new life form, and this cycle of birth, death, and rebirth we call reincarnation. Um, during each life we do lots of good things, lots of bad things, which is called karma, and we're trying to do lots of good things to move up and, um, have a better life. Um, and ultimately, our chief aim is to go and live with God by having lots of good karma.

Rupal Patel   Beginnings.

Robot              How did your religion begin?

Rupal Patel   Um, Hinduism is unique in that it doesn't have a single founder. Um, we see it as an eternal religion and never really started, but it was it was revealed to us. Um, it was revealed through, um, scriptures or religious texts like the Vedas, um, and also, um, through the incarnation of God on this Earth, um, for example, for some Hindus, um, Lord Krishna.

Rupal Patel   Everyday life.

Robot              How does your religion affect everyday life?

Rupal Patel   For me, I will start each day, um, by praying to God in front of my home Mandir, um, and that we call a puja. Um, I have a strict vegetarian diet, Hindus believe in non-violence. Um, our scriptures also give us lots of detail in terms of our duty to our family, our duty to society, our environment. In essence, we're trying to be good people and get lots of good karma so we can go and, um, sit or be with God. Um, yeah. Festivals.

Robot              What is the most important festival in your religion?

Rupal Patel   Hinduism is full of lots and lots of festivals, including Holi, Ankot, um, the most, one of the most popular and well known is, is Diwali, which is the Festival of Light. We have loads of fireworks, we light diyas, um, and in essence, we're, um, marking the return of, um, Sita and Rama from 14 years in exile. Um, for us, it marks, well we're celebrating, um, the defeat of darkness, um, with with, with light.

Rupal Patel           Rites of passage.

Robot                  What happens at a Hindu funeral?

Rupal Patel           Hindus are generally cremated. Um, that's the burning of a body. We feel that the at- it helps to release the atman from from the body. Um, we wear white, we sprinkle water over the body, we sing lots of prayers. And following the cremation, the ashes will be distributed in water, ideally the river Ganges. Just like, um, the, a river flows into the sea, we're aiming for the atman to to go back to God.

Rupal Patel           Random.

Robot                  Why do so many Hindus have a dot on their foreheads?

Rupal Patel           The dot is a chandlo, um, it's traditionally made out of red pollen paint, um, and it's a mark of our faith and our commitment to God. Um, we will apply it, um, during puja or during worship, and often you'll see married women wearing a chandlo, and that's a marker of their commitment to their husbands.

Robot                  Thank you. Your answers are satisfactory. Matter dispersal beams. Powering down. You will now be returned to Earth, human.

Rupal Patel           Thank you.

Robot                  Goodbye

Alien Abduction: Hinduism

Video length - 5.33
Published date - Jul 2013
Keystage(s) - 3
Downloadable resources