Worship to Kul Devta
The Kul Devtas or the family Gods and Goddesses are ardently worshipped by most of the ladies of the families. The following rituals are usually performed to worship the Kul Devtas:
o Vandana or Prayers
o Sandhya or Lighting of the lamps
o Jaap or Mantras
o Lighting of sacred sacrificial fires
The Importance of Kul Devta
Through the observance of these rituals, the Kul Devtas are remembered and worshipped. Though, all these procedures are not strictly observed by all Hindus, it is of mammoth importance for all the orthodox Hindus to adhere to these prescribed rituals. On occasions such as marriages, Sankalpas or mental affirmations are made, to ensure that everything goes on well till the very end of the ceremonies. The Kul Devtas vary from region to region and from Kul to Kul. Some of the Kul Devtas are Ram, Sita, Hanuman, Krishna, Ganesh etc.
The Kul Devtas are housed in shrines, which are positioned at the corners of little rooms, away from direct public glare. This room is also called as the Kohbar or the nuptial anteroom. Flowers and incense are offered on a daily basis to the Kul Devtas and prayers are offered after falling at their feet, which is also known as Gor Lago. A ghee or oil lamp is lighted in front of the Devtas and after verbal prayers and venerations, the curtains are drawn to help the Gods retire. The next day, the bells are rung loudly to awaken the Devtas. Sandhyas or evening prayers are also performed by the ardent worshippers. In some families, a whole room known as the Puja Ghar is dedicated for the Kul Devtas.
The Arya Samajists do not have Kul Devtas or Devi Shrines, but daily rounds of worships, such as morning and evening sandhyas, are performed by them. Homas or Hawans or Yajnas are performed on a regular basis by the Arya Samajists, around the Hawan Kund, and during this occasion, offerings of incense, camphor, sandalwood, rice and sweet rice puddings are also made. Hawans are also performed on auspicious occasions such as marriages and social functions.