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At Religious Places
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Behaviour at religious places

Wearing footwear is strictly prohibited at all Hindu religious places. This includes temples, mutts (religious organisations and/or schools), etc. There generally are signs at the entrance of the temples to take off your footwear and leave it at designated places. Carrying footwear in hands inside the temple is as grave a sin as wearing them inside it. If you fear that you might loose them (which is very common and valid), you may leave them with any merchant near the temple or inside any shop with the consent of the shopkeeper. Wash your hands and feet with water before entering the temples. You would have water kept at places for this purpose.

Some temples and mutts, especially in South India expect men to enter the shrine bare-chested and women should be modestly dressed if not traditionally. There would be either instructions to do so or men guiding you to do so. Do not be surprised if you are not allowed inside the temple because of this. You may not find many of these restrictions in temples in Hampi. Temples do not permit non-Hindus to enter certain parts of the temple, especially where the main deity is placed and worshipped. This part of the temple is only for priests of the temple.

As you enter the temple and stand in front of the deity, you are expected to join your hands and bow your head slightly in respect. You might find people prostrating in front of the idol. You are welcome to do so but if you feel uneasy or uncomfortable, you can just join your hands as you pray.

As you head towards the priest of the temple, he might hand you Prasada (blessed food) and/or Teertha (holy water). You are expected to receive it from your right hands. It is not just rude but also offensive to pick it up from your left hand. If you are physically challenged, you are exempted from this rule. If you are uncomfortable in eating this Prasada, please do not throw it then and there; you will end up hurting the sentiments of the believers. Come out of the temple and hand it out to a beggar or someone else who is willing to accept it.

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