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Decor and divinity

Last updated: August 28 2017
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  • Decor and divinity

    Decoration, decor and divinity are the essential elements of Diwali and all festivities are incomplete without a tastefully done up prayer area. The puja room is a sacred space that should be respectful to the deities worshiped within, as well as create an atmosphere of harmony and spirituality to pray and meditate in peace. This Diwali decorate your puja rooms in a way that adds spark to the colourful and bright celebrations.

    Right location


    In Indian tradition, a puja room usually stood outside the house in the garden. But now, you can design a puja room inside your homes. According to elders and Vastu shastra, puja room should ideally be located in the north-east corner of the house as it is associated with good fortune and prosperity. Never make a puja room under the staircase or in the basement and make sure that there is no bathroom or kitchen above or next to it.

    Simplicity and grace


    The décor of your puja room should be kept simple. Paint a puja room in pleasant neutrals. Soft white, pale yellow and ‘barely blue’ create a meditative atmosphere. It is usually believed that the ceiling of the puja room should be lower than that of the other rooms in the house. So go for a false ceiling with proper lighting that illuminates the altar.

    Place for deities


    An altar is a must to display all idols. You can also use wood, marble and brass shrines or mandaps. Portable mandaps or cabinets are also available where you can simply hang them on the wall if space is an issue in your home.

    Cover the shelves or altar with bright silk or velvet cloth and then display the idols of the deities on them. You can hang miniature garlands of flowers, pearls and beads around the base of idols. It’s visually more appealing if idols of all deities displayed on the altar are made of the same material. Accessorise the room with brass or silver accessories. Place small bowls, plates, incense burners and silver containers near the images of deities.

    The door of a puja room should be a double-levered one and not one single door. If your budget allows, then go for a carved wooden door with small bells. If you use music during prayers then make arrangements on the cabinet to place a small music system and place your CDs and cassettes neatly. Don’t use wooden flooring in a puja room. Tiles, especially fire resistant tiles, would be an ideal option.

    Spiritual platter


    Thali contains all the essential accessories for a puja, a bell, small jyot, a matka, an om coin and a tiny box to hold roli chawal. Idols of Ganesh and Lakshmi, the deities associated with wealth and prosperity, are also included in the set. Puja thalis come in different shapes and sizes with varied decorated motifs such as floral and animals like elephant, and can be crafted in a wide range of metals from brass to silver and gold.


    Add some colour


    Place colourful pillows or prayer rugs on the floor for sitting during the Diwali pujan. Hang framed paintings of gods and goddesses on the walls. If you don’t have enough space to sit for your prayers, then place the pictures at the usual height. If you will be sitting down to pray then keep all the frames at a lower height.

    Make a colourful rangoli at the entrance and decorate it with fresh flowers and brightly painted diyas. Use coloured light bulbs and flower garlands to decorate the room for the festivities.

    Right ventilation


    Take proper care of ventilation in the room. The puja room must be well ventilated as one often burns a jyot, camphor and incense sticks which emit strong fumes.

    It is usually never recommended to have a prayer area in your bedroom, but due to shortage of space if your puja area is in the bedroom or living room, try partitioning it with a wooden screen or glass panels.

    If you are making a makeshift mandir, just for the Diwali puja, then you can make an altar in your living room and invite your family and friends to join you in prayers.
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  • #2

    #2

    Re : Decor and divinity

    1) If you have a small space use small pieces that fit the scale of the apartment. Your space will feel bigger.

    2) Keep it clean!
    3) Get rid of the clutter. Have a place for everything and then everything can go back in its place.
    4) In small spaces, there never seems be enough space for clothing, books, electronic media, work areas but rather than lots of traditional freestanding dressers, cabinets, desks, etc. consider built-ins and modular furniture systems that can be configured to fit your space wall-to-wall and floor-to ceiling and accommodate all your storage needs in one compact area.
    5) Dual purpose! Look for multiple uses in everything you buy. An ottoman is cozy, but an ottoman with hidden storage is even better.
    6) Furniture with legs feels less heavy in a space than pieces that sit directly on the floor.
    7) Go vertical and use the space up to the the ceiling whenever possible - shelves and storage that have a small footprint but are tall can really help in a small space.

    8) As for organization, really think about how you use your house. Where do you like to read your mail? Flip through magazines? Pay bills? Then place storage and trash bins in the places where you will be handling paper and other cluttering items.
    9) Enjoy the cozy feeling of a small space.
    10) Spend more money on getting one or two taller piece (like bookcases). Try to confine your cluttery possessions (mail, books, , etc) to a few concentrated zones instead of thinly spread out all over the place!
    11) Glass-front bookcases (or barrister bookcases). For some reason things *feel* less cluttered if they are behind glass.
    12) My tip would be to draw yourself a floorplan and organize yourself and the stuff you already own with the help of it.
    13) Walk into your apartment and create your space from that viewpoint. You don't want to see the back of your tv from that perspective, and a few other not quite neat sides of things.
    14) Don't be afraid of color. Yes, white makes a room look bigger, but so does dark brown glossy paint (etc) when paired with the right color furnishings.

    15) Don't try to furnish it all at once. Start with the most important piece (clearly a place to sleep---couch, Murphy bed, actual bed) and live with it a while before you start adding.
    16) Arrange the space so it meets your needs for the way you truly use it, and put money into the areas where you spend the most time. If you always eat in the living room, maybe that means investing in a coffee or side table that's really comfortable to eat from and forgoing a separate dining area altogether.
    17) Don't go hog-wild at any store until you're sure that you need it. I made a list of all the things I "thought" I would need when I moved in, but after unpacking, half those things were no longer needed (due to space constraints). What a hassle.
    18) Think of your furniture as being and multipurpose. Choose things that are easy to pick up and move, and then plan to move things around to suit different purposes.

    19) Edit, edit, edit. Look at everything with a critical eye. If you have a chair that you just don't love, get rid of it. If you notice you miss having a chair, find one that you love, is a better scale and a better investment of your space. Don't store anything that you don't need.
    20) Get a storage bed, so you don't have to have a dresser.
    21) Consider furniture that blends in visually with your floor or walls, whether it is transparent or similar in color.
    22) Don't be afraid of big art/wall hangings, especially in a color that recedes (like blue) to make the space look bigger. Keep things visually interesting in the space you do have. Mirrors can help magnify the space.

    23) Unless you're really starting with a blank slate, for everything new you bring in, take out something old. Don't hang onto things for forever just because they might come in handy.
    24) Don't design for 'in case when guests come over'. the seats you have for yourself - TV couch, reading lounger, desk chair, dining chair, stool - will be enough seating for 7-8 visitors.
    25) Clear furniture can do wonders.
    26) Expandable dining table.
    27) Large mirror to give the illusion of more space.
    28) Lots of lamps.

    29) A dark floor against light colored walls and furniture can really make a place feel more spacious.
    30) Really invest in a closet organization system. You'd be surprised how on track that can keep you and you could always just shut the door.
    31) Try to avoid pieces taking up floorspace. Instead of a bookcase, use bookshelves.
    32) Combine loves and needs
    33) There are no rules.

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    • #3

      #3

      Re : Decor and divinity

      All year long, Hindus worship Lord Ganesha, the deity Hindus worship before making new beginnings and also to attract and prosperity. However, on Ganesh Chaturthi, the celebrations reach a different level of excitement altogether. If you are planning to bring home an idol of the lord this ganesh Chaturthi, you must be aware of some dos and don’ts. Here are some Vastu tips for placing the idol of lord Ganesha in your house. [ul] [li]The best directions for keeping the idol are the east, the north-east or the west corner of your house.[/li] [li]While you are offering prayers, make sure you face the north or the east.[/li] [li]There are various types of idols which you can keep at home. Statues made of metals such as silver and crystal, and woods such as mango, peepal and neem are known to be auspicious.[/li] [li]Choose a raised platform for the deity, but ensure its back is against an outside wall.[/li] [li]Do not place the statue under the staircase or next to any wall attached to the bathroom.[/li] [li]The trunk of the elephant-headed Lord should be tilted towards the left or be straight or up in the air. Avoid idols that have the trunk tilted towards the right side.[/li] [/ul]

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