have prescribed certain rituals and hymns for offering worship to
Siva. Elaborate procedure is to be followed for gaining full merit.
Besides regular prayer services, like harati - waving of the burning
camphor before the deity; archana - chanting relevant names, and
abhishek -- bathing the deity with several materials like milk,
curd, honey, panner, ash, panchamrita, etc., there is
Shodashopachara puja which is a complicated and time consuming
procedure. This service is offered to the archamurtis - icons
regularly in all temples - Saiva, Vaishnava or Saketya, though
performance of rituals vary. Many materials - pujadravyas are
necessary and have to be kept ready before the commencement itself.
As said earlier for Sivapuja, the person performing puja must make
himself Siva, then only he is entitled to begin. This can be done by
wearing ash marks on the forehead and Rudrakshamala over the neck.
And chanting of Laghunyasa or Mahanyasa hymns too. When armoured
with them, he becomes Rudra and can start following scrupulously the
complicated procedure ordained.