Puja rooms in Indian homes are no longer tucked away in a corner.Today they are given prominence and paid special attention to by the architects and residents.
The Puja room,which was a private space present in every home,has now come out into the open,changing from a personal votive area into a a semipublic space.Although present in every home ,the puja room,always facing east,would generally be located niche in the kitchen,in the store room or in a recessed space under the stairs.A little shelf ,a couple of pictures of dieties,or some Tanjore paintings would consistently this sacred space,and puja implements such as deepams,bells,kolam,on the floor and fresh flowers were all considered routine puja articles and practices.
As awareness of the aesthetic beauty of these implements increased,the puja niche was given a special space within the South Indian home...a tiny,but full fledged room,not tucked away in an unseen corner,but sited in a more inhabited area of the home.
Though the Puja room comprises of only a few square feet of space,its orientation with regard to the other spaces,lighting and ventilation have to considered.Also to sit the dimensions we suggest smaller depictions of TAnjore paintings,mandapams to house the dieties etc.
Now traditional bronze icons ,ornately framed Tanjore paintings,softly glowing brass deepams,all find their place withing the right context,the puja room;this revival is extremely welcome and positive.The best of Indian art pertaining to religion still retains its utility and has found aesthetic expression in its rightful place.
a close up of the deepams
Images courtesy:Inside OutsideJan1999
Text courtesy:Nivedita Chander
Photos courtsey:G.Venkat Ram