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A temple (from the Latin templum) is a building reserved for spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. Religions which erect temples include Christianity (whose temples are typically called churches), Hinduism (whose temples are called Mandir or Kovil), Buddhism, Sikhism (whose temples are called gurudwara), Jainism (whose temples are sometimes called derasar), Islam (whose temples are called mosques), Judaism (whose temples are called synagogues), Zoroastrianism (whose temples are sometimes called Agiary), the Baha'i Faith (which are often simply referred to as Baha'i House of Worship), Taoism (which are sometimes called Daoguan), Shinto (which are sometimes called Jinja), Confucianism (which are sometimes called the Temple of Confucius), and ancient religions such as the Ancient Egyptian religion and the Ancient Greek religion.
The form and function of temples are thus very variable, though they are often considered by believers to be, in some sense, the "house" of one or more deities. Typically, offerings of some sort are made to the deity, and other rituals are enacted, and a special group of clergy maintain and operate the temple. The degree to which the whole population of believers can access the building varies significantly; often parts, or even the whole main building, can only be accessed by the clergy. Temples typically have a main building and a larger precinct, which may contain many other buildings or may be a dome-shaped structure, much like an igloo.
The word comes from Ancient Rome, where a templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template", a plan in preparation for the building that was marked out on the ground by the augur.
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