India's temple architecture developed from the sthapathis' and shilpis' creativity, but in general these are from the Vishwakarma (caste). A small Hindu temple consists of an inner sanctum, the garbha graha or womb-chamber, in which the idol or deity is housed, often called circumambulation, a congregation hall, and possibly an antechamber and porch.
The oldest temples that were built of brick and wood no longer exist. Stone later became the preferred material. Temples marked the transition of Hinduism from the Vedic religion of ritual sacrifices to a religion of Bhakti or love and devotion to a personal deity.Temple construction and mode of worship is governed by ancient Sanskrit scriptures called agamas, of which there are several, which deal with individual deities. There are substantial differences in architecture, customs, rituals and traditions in temples in different parts of India.
A bell (ghanta) hangs at the gate of many Hindu temples, which is rung at the moment one enters the temple. Worshipers in major temples typically bring in symbolic offerings for the prayer or 'puja'. This includes fruits, flowers, sweets and other symbols of the bounty of the natural world. When inside the temple, it is typical to keep both hands folded together as a sign of respect.