Dear Stephen, Thank you for sharing that eresting bit about the Ark of Covenant .
Yes only the temple priest is allowed to enter the GG. He needs to perform sone purifying rituals whenever he enters. And remains throughout the rituals that commence by bathing the idol dressing him/her up according to theto the tradition which varies with the course of the day.
And invocation so that the idol is infused by divine energy through riruals and mantras (sanskrit version). There are three aspects that are intriguing. The Brahmin priestly class flourished as they were an indispensable part of temple traditions.
But the science of Temple worship is not Vedic. The knowledge is derived from the Agamas, which some consider non vedic.
In fact the Vedic people never worshipped Idols.
The temple is built as a proportion to the dimensions of the idol of thepresiding deity.
The deity is seen as the core living aspect of a town or village and the protector.
Interestingly many Town and villages lend their name to the deity aand the temple the idols and rituals are unique to the place.
For eg. The local deity in my town is regarded as an aspect of Vishnu of trinity. But he is identified as a local somuchso that even non hindus consider him a divine quality that emerges in their hometown.
The living presence, the subtle suggestion of the rabbit hole that leads to the next dimension.
All require us to leave the Ego at the doorstep before we enter the sacred space.