In some temples the pujaris offer different oils according to the season &amp; local avaiblity. For example, in Vrndavana pujaris commonly offer ruh khus during summer, kadamba and rose during the rainy season, jasmine during autumn, and hina (myrtle) during winter. One should avoid synthetic oils, which contain impure chemicals &amp; alcohol.
The principal element of the bath is clean water. In descending order of quality, the best water for bathing the deity is Ganga or Yamuna water, then water from any tirtha, water from a river that flows directly to the ocean, water from a tributary river, water from a natural spring, lake, pond, or man-made reservoir, water from a well, and finally water from a pot. Bring the water to a pleasant temperature for bathing, depending on the weather, ie. the water should be cooler in warm weather and warmer in cool weather. One should bathe the Lord with water in which nicely scented flowers have been soaking for some time. By adding various ingredients, one may prepare many kinds of water for bathing the deity. You can also add sandalwood paste to the water. Tulasi should always be in the bathing water for the Lord.
Brass deities require regular polishing, especially where the environment is humid and salty. This is generally done with a paste made of tilaka and fresh lemon juice. Lemon juice should be from fresh lemons. One may also polish the deities with a paste made from tamarind pulp and water. To make the paste, add fresh lemon juice to powdered tilaka, after a few moments the mixture will bubble. You may apply the tilaka to the body of the deity directly with your fingers, with a cloth or with cotton wool. Always check the paste before applying to see that there are no small stones that will scratch the deity.
If fresh tulasi leaves are unavailable, you may use dry tulasi leaves for offering food and for placing on the Lord’s lotus feet.
Sandalwood paste is made by grinding sandalwood on a stone with a little water or rose water. If you are adding other ingredients to the paste, such as saffron of camphor, add them after you have made a little paste, then grind them into the paste until they are completely absorbed into the paste and there are no small pieces left. Sandalwood paste may be also made by adding a pinch of aguru (aloes), musk, orkunkuma.
The Hari-bhakti-vilasa dedicates an entire chapter to the subject of flowers. Flowers are a very important item in deity worship. Always try to offer the best flowers possible. If flowers are unavailable, you may offer leaves (especially tulasi, jambu, mango,amalaki, sami, and tamala leaves) or newly grown grass shoots. Srila Prabhupada writes, "There is no question of using paper [or] plastic fruits and flowers for worshiping the deities. If no fresh fruits or flowers are available, then you can decorate with some fresh leaves. You have seen our temples, nowhere do we use such things… We are not after decoration; we are after devotional service for pleasing Krishna’s senses. Decoration must be there, of course, to make the temple as opulent as possible for pleasing Krishna. Outside the temple, you can use the plastic ornaments. But not for worship. For daily worship there must be fresh fruit, flowers, and leaves." Krsna belongs to the village atmosphere of Vrndavana, and He is very fond of flowers.
Incense may be of many varieties. Unfortunately, most of the commercially available incense sticks contain impure, synthetic chemicals and possibly even animal products. As far as possible try to attain pure incense to offer to the Lord.
Ghee lamps offered in arati vary widely in shape and size and traditionally have an odd number of wicks. The standard number of wicks for a arati is five. The ghee lamps are made of fine cotton balls tapered to fine point. They are soaked in just sufficient quantity of pure cow ghee.