Rural areas of developing countries have various indoor air pollution sources along with solid fuels used for cooking. This study aims to compare five indoor air pollution sources, viz., incense stick, dhoop, mosquito coil, cigarette, and cooking fuel charcoal, with respect to their pollution potential. The monitoring of PM, CO, CO2, NO2, and particulate bound heavy metals was carried out. Dhoop (DH1) was found to be emitting the highest concentration of metal Sb among all the analyzed metals. Dhoop, incense sticks, mosquito coil, and charcoal were found to be having high pollution potential. The first-order decay rate equation indicated that the highest decay rate constant per hour was observed with dhoop (DH1) for PM10 and PM2.5 and with mosquito coil (M1) for CO. The highest half-life of PM10 and PM2.5 was observed for cigarette (CG1) and charcoal (C1) respectively indicating their slow decay in air. The average daily dose values indicated that the age group 6 to < 11 years, 11 to < 16 years, and 31 to < 51 years will be more vulnerable to PM emissions from dhoop (DH1) and incense stick (IS1). The highest hazard index was estimated for incense stick (IS1) and charcoal. Significant carcinogenic risk was observed from cigarette and charcoal. The multiple-path particle dosimetry (MPPD) model was used to estimate the deposition of PM fractions in various regions of the human body. © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V. part of Springer Nature.