>Travel Pictures


Ganesh Festival 2008

An evening on the street

The roads and the houses are lit up, as the whole city goes crazy for the yearly visit from the Hindu god Ganesh. The elephant-headed god is easily the favorite in town, and everywhere we turn we see idols, signs, shrines, and temporary temples for him.

(for a quick overview of the god's story and what happens during the festival, check out the overview our school librarian wrote)

I went out for a walk to see the idols in our neighborhood, and foun this huge shrine right around the corner from our house. There were a number of cones of incense burning in front of the gods, adding to the air of religousity. All of these brightly painted statues are due to be immersed in the Arabian Sea at the end of the holiday, but are visited often for blessings by people - all day and night.

The man watching it (in the green shirt, above) was very excited about having me come in, take pictures, look around... There were also two interesting statues of women flanking the shrine, as well as a number of young boys who were just interested in hanging out.

Walking down the brightly-festooned street, I could see up into people's apartments and hear them singing, chanting, and clapping in homage to the shrines they had set up in their own homes. It reminded me of the ceremony we had been invited to last year, where we were there for the final day and actually got to see the god get immersed.

There were quite a number of these private parties going on, and one man was quite proud to let me take his picture in front of his house. It is amazing that a symbol with such deep historical meaning in this part of the world has become associated with such ugliness in the west.

As I headed home, I tried to set up and take some pictures of the lights hanging above all the roads. Just as I started the one at the left, a miniscooter almost ran me over - and I was standing on the sidewalk! The driver hopped off and ran over to shake my hand - it was one of the cooks (Ahrun) from the local schwarma stand I visit here! He was glad to have seen and recognized me, as was I. Speaking of which, it is getting close to dinner time. I think I will call Carter Blue and have them deliver schwarmas tonight!!

Ganesh celebration pages: Street lights - Procession - Household ritual and the immersion itself

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