Aarti is a Hindi term denoting a religious or devotional prayer dedicated to the lord. It is a means of invoking the blessings of the respective lord, to whom the prayer is dedicated. In Indian culture, the singing of the aarti signifies the completion of the pujan and kirtan (prayer session). Hindu aarti is performed both at home as well as at the religious shrines. At home, the arathi songs are sung in day-to-day practice as well as during festivals. Hindu believers sing the devotional hymn (arti) to the god they pray to. In temples, the pandit ji or priest performs the aarti by observing all the religious rituals.
The aartis have been crucially penned down in the Sanskrit language, but one also finds an amalgamation of Hindi terms in it. The aarti is a means to praise the lord and includes a narration of the divine events associated with the various Hindu god or goddess. The term aarti is made from two Sanskrit roots 'Aa' meaning towards and 'rati' meaning the supreme love for god. The aartis usually speak of the benefits one might attain after singing the respective aarti. The aarti takes a devotee on a higher spiritual plane in direct connection with the lord whenever it is sung.
The ritual of performing an aarti in Indian culture involves certain practices to which all devout Hindus religiously adhere to. Aartis in temples are generally performed two to five times. The performance of an aarti involves the circulation of the aarti plate in front of the deity. The aarti thali (plate) contains a lighted lamp, incense, camphor, flowers which are all offered to the lord. The aarti thali is moved in the clockwise direction to highlight all the five kamars (lotus flowers) of the deity. This includes the Mukha kamar (face), Hriday kamar (heart), Hasta kamar (hands), Naabhi kamar (naval), Charan kamar (feet).