A place of worship is a building or other place where people gather to carry out honor and religious praise. According to varying beliefs, the style of religious buildings have changed over many, many years.
The word 'temple' is frequently used as a broad term for a house of worship. Synagogues and churches, however, are not usually referred to as temples. Places of worship include Buddhist and Hindu temples, mosques, synagogues, and churches.
Buddhist temples are places for personal reverence, ancestor worship, meditation, and offerings for monks and the Buddha. Personal devotion is very significant to Buddhism; it is so important that Buddhists create shrines in their own homes that help believers remember their ancestors and Buddhist texts. Shrines are located in a separate room or a quiet area of the home. The shrine contains an image of Buddha, a vase or tray with flowers, a candle or lamp, incense, a miniature stupa and the scripture.
Since their beginnings, mosques have served many purposes. The main purpose of a mosque is to worship and praise Allah. It can be a community building or an open area deemed as sacred. Several mosques have domed roofs with the symbol of Islam, and many of them in Muslim countries have a tower called a minaret. Mosques don't have furniture, statues, or pictures.
Christian Places of Worship
A church is a place where Christians assemble to worship God. Some are very old while others are very modern—any type of building can be used as a church. Areas in the church include the sanctuary, the most holy area; the nave, the main area where people sit; the alter, which is used for the ritual known as the Eucharist or Holy Communion. The pulpit is where the minister gives his/her sermon, and s/he uses the lecturn to read the Bible out loud during services.
Jewish Places of Worship
A Jewish place pf worship goes by several names: shul, beit, congregation and Temple. Synagogue is the most general term and the most recognized. The most significant item in a synagogue is the ark, a cabinet or container that holds the Torah scroll. The ark symbolizes the Holy of Holies, and it is the most sacred place in a synagogue and the prime focus of prayer. During particular prayers, the ark's doors or curtain can remain open or closed.
Hindu Places of Worship
In the Hindu religion, everyday worship occurs in three places: in one's home, in a temple, or on a streetside shrine. Most households have a small shrine dedicated to the gods that are significant to that house. If there is a guru, a photo is present to remind the individual of the guru's teachings. In the temple, the god or goddess are regarded as royalty. The statue is bathed and dressed, and meals and other gifts are frequently provided. Small shrines to Hindu gods and goddesses can be found on roadsides and on streets. They can stay there permanently and untended or be put on a cart and moved around.
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images