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Altars are a beautiful and meaningful addition to any home.  Altars in India originate from the Hindu tradition, and honor the divine in its many forms.  I have come across a really wonderful, whimsical book that helps us to create our own little altar wherever we go.  It's called "Hindu Altars: A Pop-Up Gallery of Traditional Art and Wisdom."  There are four deities represented in this book: Lakshmi, Shiva, Durga and Ganesh.  Each one has a gorgeous illustration made into a pop-up, a description of the deity that explains some of the symbolism, the yantra, or geometric representation associated with the deity, and the unique, traditional mantra with phonetic pronunciation.  The mantra for Durga (to protect from fears and grant success) for example, is: Om Hrim Dhum Durga Deviya Nama.

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