Category: Customs

Rajasthan Bangles

These pictures of bangles I captured at Mount Abu. The happy shopkeeper allowed me to take a few snaps 🙂



Incredible India

India is a country with a huge population, people from diverse cultures living amicably. Indians love celebrating festivals and the places of worships are socio- religious institutions and they enjoy making merry and make festival an excuse to gorge sweet meats and the like.

I have travelled extensively in India and the various customs, beliefs, and rituals have fascinated me. I thought I would share some of the customs I have seen.

Now I am staying in a small town in Tamil Nadu. Come festival, and the town is flooded with the people from near by villages.The town wears a festive look with decorations, music blaring from speakers, fire works and the array of shops erected especially during the festival displaying all items which would catch the fancy of any villager. The balloon seller, children flocking around him and the ice candy man, exhibition of various cultural programmes, people dressed in their best clothes make the festival season a memorable one. I love where ever I am; be it a city, a town or village. I feel there is lot to see , learn and enjoy from each and every place.

Now it is the festival season and I am narrating here what I am seeing for the last few days.

First I want to speak about the entry of the village folks in the town during the festivals. It is really a spectacle. They come with lot of expectations with their whole family along with pots, mats and all paraphernalia required for a few days stay and they pitch up their tents in and around the venue of the festival. Most of the people are from farming community , the harvesting would be over in January and they would have money in hand. Marriages, tours are all arranged post January and they use a portion of the earnings which they have been saving for the whole year to offer to their deities.

These people come by buses , bullock carts, open trucks, or they traverse hundreds of kilometres on foot wearing yellow or red clothes marching in groups to the temple chanting God’s name and eating frugally till they reach and pray to God. These people visiting the temple carry various offerings to the God as a token of their love and respect to the deity.

Another custom which surprises me is the carrying of fire pot with bare hands by men and women during the festival. Similarly many participate in the ritual called Pookuli. Pookuli is nothing but walking over hot charcoal. For this a pit at least 10 feet would be prepared and filled with burning coal and devotees walk through the fire as if it is a bed of roses. The participants chanting God’s name go into a trance and cross the fire pits; the mere sight gives me butterflies in my stomach.

Sprouted grains for the deity

Fire Walk

To participate in the various rituals like fire pot and pookuli devotees undergo a 41 day Vritham. Vritham is a kind of discipline one follows to increase their tolerance level, concentration and they toughen their mind to perform the ritual.

Another custom is carrying kavadis and piercing the tongue and body with the holy Vel – the weapon of Lord Murugan. This has a long stem and the top portion resembles a leaf . The size used for piercing varies from smaller as short as 4-5 inches and as big as 5 -6 feet. Some even prick small hooks on to their body and pull small chariots. It is very scary to see these piercing pins into the body (This offering is mainly seen in Murugan temples.)

Pilgrim with kavadi

Pilgrim with Kavadi

Milk pots for the deity

Fire pot ritual

The people also carry pots of sprouted grains and and pots of milk for the Goddess. I am witnessing such scenes daily for the last one month as the festival season is on in various temples.

Angapradakshinam is another ritual offered by the devotee. For this the devotee in drenching clothes makes a round about of the temple by rolling on the ground, which is not at all an easy task and devotees do it with lot of fervour.

Offering sacrifice with goat and fowl is also very common in these parts. Strange customs and strange rituals. Shall be back with more .

Jai Ho!!