Basics of the Hindu Puja Thali

Awakening the Senses

The puja thali contains important items for offering prayers. It is believed to represent five cosmic elements (earth, water, fire, wind, space).


rung before worship begins to invoke the deities


denotes dispelling darkness


to help elevate the spiritual experience

Fresh Flowers

for aesthetics but also marks the completion of puja


The Significance of Vermilion



Seen as a symbol of feminine energy


Third eye is located on the forehead, in between the eyebrows


Believed to help in elevating concentration levels

Note: Use your right hand’s ring finger when applying a dot (tilak) on the forehead


The Different Types of Tilaks



  • considers Lord Shiva as the supreme power
  • The horizontal lines in white symbolise Lord Shiva, while the red dot represents Parvati Devi


  • considers Lord Vishnu as their key deity
  • The white clay lines signify of Vishnu’s footprints; the red line represent Lakshmi Devi

Hare Krishna

  • primarily worships Lord Krishna
  • the upper part represents Krishna’s footprints, while the lower part symbolizes a tulsi leaf


  • follows the principles laid by Yogi Swaminarayan
  • the tilak symbolizes the lotus feet of the lord, and the vermillion represents the devotee


The Significance of Rice



Symbolizes fertility and auspiciousness


Used widely in Hindu rite-of-passage ceremonies (eg: birth, marriage)

Note: Apply the uncooked rice on top of the tilak, using your right hand


Why Do We Make Panchamrut

Each ingredient has a symbolic meaning, as shown below. It is a necessary offering to deities during pujas. It is said to be one of the items that emerged during the Samudra Manthan, or "churning of the ocean of milk."

Note: Devotees can offer substitutes such as sweets, fruits, or dry nuts as prasad

Panchamrit Recipe

Milk 1 cup

Yogurt 1 tbsp

Honey 1 tsp

Ghee 1/2 tsp

Sugar 1/2 tsp

Saffron for garnish

In a bowl, take warm milk and add rest of the ingredients. Stir well and serve.



Enjoyed this article? 

Follow us on Youtube Instagram to view our weekly Theology Thursday posts!

Modi Toys is a children's brand of toys and books inspired by ancient Hindu culture. We exist to spread joy and to spark curiosity in the next generation through our innovative soft plush toys, illustrated children's books and free learning resources. Our weekly Theology Thursday series covers a wide range of topics rooted in Hinduism to help us better understand the origins of traditions, the symbolic meaning of rituals, and the stories behind Hindu holidays and festivals. The more we can understand "the why" behind this 4,000 year ancient religion, and make sense of it in this modern age, the greater we can appreciate and preserve our rich Hindu culture. While we take great care in thoroughly researching the information presented, we may occasionally get some things wrong. We encourage a healthy and open dialogue so we can learn together. Please leave a comment below or email us directly at to address any concerns. 


Shop Now