View Full Version : Altar in a one-room apartment

28 July 2009, 04:50 AM
My wife and I want to get our own place to live (we're living with her parents at the moment). Today I went to look at an apartment not far from where I work, but it was only a one bedroom apartment. The price was quite reasonable, however.

The main window faces east, and there is a space in the left-hand corner of the room for an altar to be set up. I'm wondering, how do you deal with having an altar in a one-room apartment? To enter a puja room or approach an altar, you must be clean. When you get out of bed in the morning, you are unclean. From what I know, a puja room receives a different blessing than the rest of the house.

So what do you do about this? Do you draw a line around the altar and the surrounding area, designating this area as sacred space, and the rest of the room as mundane space for living in? Do you curtain this space off? Do you just curtain the altar off when you're not using it? (I know an altar is supposed to have doors or curtains to close it off)

And when they say that an altar should face east, do they mean that when you're standing in front of the altar, praying, that you are facing east, or do they mean that the pictures should face east (i.e. when you face the altar, you're facing west)?

Thanks for any help on this.

Eastern Mind
28 July 2009, 05:50 AM
Vannakkam Scott: Welcome back, as you haven't posted for awhile.

You just make do with what you have. There are ideals (having a separate room) and then there's reality. A small cupboard or cabinet might work in this situation. Or a curtain. I think it is important to 'separate it' in some way, so you do get the sense you are entering sacred space.

Yes, ideally, you should be facing west, and the deities facing east, but this is just an ideal. If that is not possible, then the shrine can face any direction. You can get a priest from a local temple to come and do a home blessing as well. He might offer advice.

Aum Namasivaya

28 July 2009, 08:58 AM
I'm going to go and fix my altar now :)

Ive had them facing west.

18 August 2009, 04:30 PM

Just a verification pls, I have met lots of Sanatan Dharma Pundits and they have all given me the advice that we should be facing the direction the sun rises from when we are doing our prayers and our deities should be facing us. So from my calculation we should be facing East and the deities be facing West!!!
[It is very ideal to have a separate room for doing our prayers but if space persists we can rearrange]


Eastern Mind
18 August 2009, 05:22 PM
ravrajsharma: There are many differences from locale to locale, from sect to sect, so I'd suggest you just go with punditjis suggestion. I don't think there is one 'correct' way.

Here in my city we have 5 temples. True Smarta temple used to have dieties facing due South, but after renovations, they face due north. ISKCON temple ... deities face due north. South Indian Ganesha temple, deities face due east. Mixed but mainly Smarta temple deities face due east, and Fijian temple deities face Northwest. I have seen shrine rooms facing all directions, so it really doesn't matter I guess, but there may b e suggestions locally or by sect.

Aum Namasivaya

18 August 2009, 05:38 PM
Yes Sarji correct, main thing is the Bhakti and devotion that we have!!! (Here our pundits fees phew reach the ceiling)