Hindu temples range greatly in size, style, and decoration—from the stunning Arulmigu Ramanatha Swami Temple in India, with its beautifully colored ceiling, ornate decorations, and hall of 1,000 pillars to a still beautiful, but smaller, temple in a U.S. suburb. They are busy places filled with the sounds of prayer and song, with devotees constantly coming and going. At a large temple, an archaka may be assisted by a range of helpers, including other archakas, assistant archakas, paricharakaras (religious food preparers), swamis/swaminis (spiritual teachers/monks), volunteers, cleaning crews, and office support staff. At a small temple, the archaka is responsible for many of these duties. Archakas occasionally travel to the homes of temple members to lead prayers and perform ceremonies and rituals. Most archakas find their work to be both personally and spiritually fulfilling.
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