Monday, 18 October 2010

Dusshera Mela

On Oct 13th there was a Dusshera Mela or fair in my vicinity. These fairs are held during the Hindu festival of Dusshera and Navratras ( nine nights) during which the goddess Kali or Durga is worshipped in her various avtars or incarnations.

This festival is celebrated with most enthusiasm by the people of Bengal.Besides the temples they erect worship venues or pandals ( elaborate marquees) where Durga is worshipped with music and dance. A nine day fast is also observed during which a special Navratra diet is consumed.
People are known to participate in various forms of black magic and sacrifices to ward off the evil eye and please the goddess (similar to voodoo).
In my city Dusshera is celebrated with street fairs and religious processions called Ramdal.
They begin a week after the birthday of god Krishna. The festival concluded yesterday with the burning of the effigy of the demon god Ravana and immersion of the idols of Durga.

I went to click some photos the procession with the pageants and floats comes out very late at night. An elephant makes the rounds.

There are stalls with cheap toys, jewelry and food and games and rides for children.

The chaat wala (street fast food)

Colorful glass bangles.

The bangle wala. Indian women are very fond of tinkling glass bangles. We used to buy lots when my sisters were all here.

Cheap sunglasses


Steel kitchen toy utensils for children.

A mother carrying her little one.


Plastic dishes.

Fresh coconuts
Lamps and decorations
Plane ride

A boy selling bows and arrows for kids

Chinese noodles and burgers - vegetarian
A take away from a posh sweet shop

Vegetarian burgers called Pav Bhaji
Garlands to decorate idols

Artificial flowers

More jewellery

Stuffed toys

Naag devta or serpent god

Hot pop corn made in a wok over charcoal.

Rice and sesame sweets called andarsay ( I bought some)

Sweet light


Son papri ( sweet)

Peanuts being roasted.

Ornamental figures

Sweet and snack kiosk

Little purses
I hope you like these photos.

17 Fertilize my soul:

Dani said...

Amazing photos..reminds me so much of Vanity Fair in the book Pilgrim's Progress...have you read that? truly amazing

Amrita said...

Dear Dani I apreciate your comment, specially about the Pilgrim 's Progress. Yes I hav e read the book an d the movie made a very deep impression on me as a new Christian. (I have it on CD)
Yes come to think of it, its like Vanity Fair.

Zimbabwe said...

I enjoyed Your work very much - they are so alive and colourful.
It is so interesting, how much different cultures are in reality so similar. I knew about voodoo in Africa and Haiti, but nothing about Indian version of this - but I heard something about cult of Kali in Bengal (from it is named the city Calcutta - isn't it?).
I greet You, Amrita, very heartly from cold and wet Cracow.

Felisol said...

Dear Amrita,
Thank you for your considerate and lovely greetings.
We'll stay in touch.
Yours Felisol

Abigail Jasmine said...

Wow~ Amrita, these photographs are worth a thousand words! I love seeing into your world & India. I am looking so forward to the day to visit!

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

So many beautiful and interesting pictures depicting typical life in your village during celebration of a festivity. It must be very hard for you to live in your country where you are exposed to so many religious beliefs and practices so diametrically opposed to Christian teachings. That you are able to hold on to your faith despite the religious persecution is a testament for your great love for the Lord. Thanks for the beautiful post. God bless you always.

Lynda said...

I've never seen anything like this. All the vendors, the lights the food makes it fascinating.
These are wonderful pictures showing a part of your country. Do all these religions make it hard for you as a Christian, or does it just give you much to pray about?

Amrita said...

Dear friends its my pleasure to show you the world around me.

Zimb, black magic is prevalent here, illiteracy, superstition etc enhance it more. During this time the media reports human sacrifice too. Some days we saw on TV a report about 7 members of a family, including the parents of 2 children - strangulate them to ward off misfortune and get rich. Children are kidnapped and murdered.

That will be a great day Abigail.

The grac e of God keeps us Mel. We have to keep alert - watch and pray an d give no foothold to the devil.

Dear Lynda,
If we keep holding on the Jesus , have fellowship with true believers an d recive correct teaching nothing can touch us. Bu t yes we have to face social difficulties and persecution in the name of religion.

John Cowart said...

Hi Amrita,

These are some of your best photos yet. This festival certainly is colorful.


JI said...

Interesting photos. These Hindu festivals seem to be getting bigger and bigger each year. I know nominal Christians like to join in, but for true believers it must be a bit intimidating. Even Bollywood actors and actresses get involved, but you won’t get many Hollywood actors doing the same for Christian festivals.

Very sad to read about human sacrifices. I thought India had moved away from such things. Obviously not. Will Sati make a comeback too, I wonder? In terms of superstition India seems to be going backward.

Kathryn said...

Wow. Very festive. It reminds me of the Farmer's Market, the Swap Meet, & the County Fair, with some Disneyland & Knot's Berry Farm thrown in!

I learned long ago that especially at a fair, the folks running it are very adept at parting people from their money & using distraction while doing it. Yes, like John Bunyan's Vanity Fair.

Do you benefit from this, Amrita? Food not available at other times or at a better price than usual?

Amrita said...

Thank you so much John. The photos wer e blurred where there was less kight. I have a small Sony Cybershot, an d I feel self conscious taking photos in a crowd- being alone- it is not very safe.

Hello JI,
You should see the Kumbh Mela and lots o f other gatherings. The govt. spend s crors of rupees on them, bu t there is not a penny for Christians.

We have never participated in the melas, we use d to go there to buy bangles, sweets and toys- never the religious part.

You ar eright liberal Christians join in -some do th e black magic to war d off the evil eye- buri nazar utarna.

Kali demands blood my brother. Children disappear during this time. We see news reports on TV. Wha t can I say, Satan ha s blinded people.

There have been cases of Sati in Rajasthan and MP- but the law come s down heavily on them. We have an ancient Sati temple in my city.


Amrita, thank you for sharing some great photos and insights about your culture. I always enjoy learning more about your fascinating country India :-)


Amrita said...

Hi Ron, its my pleasur e to tak e my blogfriends on an Indian journey. The un-touristy daily life in a city.

Amrita said...

Hi Ron, its my pleasur e to tak e my blogfriends on an Indian journey. The un-touristy daily life in a city.

Amrita said...

Dear Kathryn, you should see our vegetable markets- very colorful an d busy. When i get a chance i will tak e some pictures.

Oh yes its like Vanity Fair bu t the stuff being sold i s very cheap, not quality - its aime d for the lower middle class and poorer sections of society.

My dear the food is not cheap. I prefer the permanent shops than the liike stalls.

For fun we buy some sweets and pop corn. Actually its afte r year s I went to this fair, altho it takes place 2 mins away

Saija said...

WOW! that is quite the market ... lots to see and do!