Camphor is a white substance that comes from the camphor tree native to Taiwan, Japan, Indochina and China. Camphor can be used to repel various types of insects and to kill fleas. Camphor tablets are used by homeowners and others as a low-cost source of bug protection. Hindus worship a holy flame by burning camphor, which forms an important part of many religious ceremonies. Camphor is used in the Mahashivratri celebrations of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction and (re)creation. As a natural pitch substance, it burns cool without leaving an ash residue, which symbolizes consciousness.
In Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala & Andamans, camphor is the primary ingredient in any holy rituals. At the end of a holy ritual camphor flame (called aarti) is burned for the deities.
In some Hindu puja ceremonies, camphor is burned in a ceremonial plate for performing aarti. This type of camphor, the processed white crystalline kind, is also sold at Indian grocery stores. It is not suitable for cooking and is hazardous to health if eaten.