In the personal worship of God in a form of one's choosing , the Shodasha Upachara forms an important minimum part of the Puja or Aaradhana .
The list of the 16 ritual offerings vary from text to text, but I give here a often used expanded list of 36 Upachaaras . .
1. Avahanam and praana prathista ( or invocation of the Deity to manifest himself / herself )
2. Aasanam ( offering of a seat )
3. Arghyam ( water offering to the deity to wash hands )
4. Padyam ( water offering to wash feet )
5. Achamaniyam ( water offering to drink )
6. Snanam ( ritual bath 0ffering )
7. Vastram ( offering of robes )
8. Yajnopavitam ( offering of the sacred thread)
9. Gandham ( perfume offering)
10. Tulasi patram / bilva patram ( offering of Tulasi ( basil - osmium sanctum ) leaves or Bilva leaves ) to Vaishnava / Saiva deities respectively .
11. Chandanam ( sandal wood paste)
12. Pushpam ( fragrant flowers )
13. Dhoopam ( incense )
14. Deepam ( offering of lighted lamps )
15. Kumkumam ( red vermilion)
16. Haridra Churnam ( turmeric powder)
17. Alankaram ( decoration)
18. Aabharanam ( Jewellry)
19. Darpanam ( Mirror)
20. Chatram ( umbrella)
21. Chamaram ( fly whisk )
22. Punar Arghyam
25. Neivedyam ( food offering )
26. Madhuparkam ( a sweet mix of milk , curd , honey , butter , and ghee)
27. Tambuphalam ( offering of betel leaf and areca )
28. Mantra Pushpam ( recitation from the vedas )
29. Vadhyam ( playing of musical intruments )
30. Sangeetham / sankirtan ( vocal singing in honour of the deity )
31. Ashtothara Shatha nama Archanam . ( recitation of 108 different names of the deity )
32. Dhyanam ( meditation on the deity )
33. Mantra Japam( recitation of an important mantra connected with the deity 108 times , like ashtakshara or panchakshara )
34. Pradhakshinam ( circumbulation )
35. Namaskaram ( salutation )
36. Shayanotsavam / Paryankasanam ( Deity is offered rest )
Basically the Deity is treated as the seniormost member of the family, and all affection , love , courtesy and respect is showered upon him / her .
Temple rituals are similarly structured and can be more elaborate .
Household Puja could be simpler in form than described above.
What matters is the sincerity with which it is done .
Variations in method occur from temple to temple, from household to household , and from individual worshipper to individual worshipper .
As Krishna says in the Gita ,he is pleased with a offering of a simple leaf , flower , fruit , or water
as long as it is offered with devotion .
The Puja and Aaradhana is considered important in the Bhakti Marga or the path of loving adoration ... which leads to surrender or Sharanagathi . This is considered the easiest of all paths , and purifies one gradually making one more and more sattvic and detached . Through the discipline of the Puja ritual , ones heart and mind turns away from the temporary worldly distractions and gets fixed on the ultimate goal of Moksha or liberation which is the permanent state of Ananda or true happiness .