Architecture I – The Pooja Room

There are a three architectural oddities that houses in India have. The first is the servant’s toilet, which I’ll talk about another time. Another is what I call the butt hose, which seems to be a common feature of bathrooms. The last is the pooja room.

The pooja room is prayer room/alcove. It is a place set aside to have an altar. Hindu’s – Brahmans at least – are very religious; religious enough to want to have an idol in their very own in-house temple rather than schlep down to the neighborhood shrine. There is apparently a whole science to pooja rooms. Ours is in the auspicious northeast quadrant. The whole room is marble and arguably the fanciest in the house.

It also has a power plug. Consider for a moment the ramifications of having a power plug in the pooja room. Considering that some of the Ganesh idols in vehicles can rival Christmas trees in terms of sheer blinkiness, I can only assume that there are pooja rooms that emit a multitude of flashing colors. The only thing better than your own Ganesh is a blinking Ganesh! I have seen clear proof that what constitutes good taste is clearly cultural. (and do Indians find the austere taste of westerners cold?)

What in the world will we do with the room? If it wasn’t so pimped out (and did not have a glass door), we’d use it for storage; which is what most westerners do and anyway, I’d be concerned about defiling it and annoying any Hindu visitors. Perhaps I can string some Christmas lights on the boxes…

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