Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Festival Time: Colors & Sparkling Lights

Hinduism is one of the most colorful religion, liberal, gregarious and open. The practice entwines itself with spirituality in ritualistic manner that unifies mind and body for inner peace. The exemplary myths are what makes and ideology peaceful an benevolent. The rites and rituals may appear to be indigestible to many but they are actually personification of soul and inner self. The apparently unscientific and irrational envelopes the truth and teachings of a civilization thousands of years old. Hidden deep with the spiral maze of invisible quagmire coexist the expression of science and spiritual quest.

The great events and auspicious happenings are celebrated as festivals. The celebrations are celebration of life and the World around us. The celebration of belief in God and his limitless creation. The festival of lights or Diwali is a follow up of series of events some related to Holy Ramayana.    

Navratri/Durgautsav: Dance & Music: This is the beginning of the harvest season whence Goddess  Durga is invoked as thanksgiving. Durga is representation of Shakti (Cosmic Power & Strength) as consort of Lord Shiva is blessed with constructive and potent destructive power. Navratri is celebration of her victory over Mahisasur the demon.  A nine day long ritualistic prayer sessions follow up with lot of fun and gaiety in brightly decorated and illuminated pandals or temporary fabricated structures. This is also the time for culture to manifest itself in traditional dance forms like Garba of Gujarat State. Commercial life except shopping comes to a stop in some states especially Bengal where Durga Puja is celebrated with religious fervor.  Finally the idols of Durga are immersed in the rivers and large water bodies with offerings of prayers.

Dusshera/Vijayadashmi: End of The Battle: It is celebrated for the victory of truth over evil.  This is the day whence Lord Ram killed Ravana the personification of evil. Ram is the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu the preserver in holy trinity. The 10th day is marked as Dusshera whence Ravana was killed by Ram along with his ten heads he!he!. The ten heads are nothing but representative of destructive and evil might of Ravana the King of Lanka. Effigy of the devil king is set to fire for ultimate demise and to signify victory of good over evil.

This event is celebrated with full gusto in many places in India especially in the erstwhile kingdom of Mysore. The palace is the center of attraction decorated with dazzling lights for full 10 days. The royals perform the ritualistic prayers at Chamunda Devi Temple. The festivities galore with the beginning of the precession of Goddess Chamundeswari on elephant back in the streets. The spectacle of singing, dancing and ritualistic fervor is amazing and attracts thousands of tourists to Mysore. The procession is a conglomeration of local audience, tourists, dance groups, live bands, tableaux, decorated elephants, camels and horses.              

Diwali: Lord Returns to Ayodhya: Ram, Wife Sita & Brother Laxman return to Ayodhya from fourteen years of exile after victory over Sita's abductor  Ravana. The return is celebrated as Diwali the festival of light. Illumination of structures by traditional clay lamps or diyas and modern lightening takes place during Diwali. Bursting fire crackers are a way of celebration that can be used for days especially on the Diwali Night.       

The rows and rows of houses and commercial complexes are illuminated with dazzling lights. The night is lit up in urban centers with diyas and modern methods.After the evening prayers the scene erupts and crackers and rockets take to the sky. It is an event of social gathering,  fooding, and night long of fire crackers till exhaustion takes place.

Travel in India during the festival season is a spectacle of huge unmanageable rush. All travel services are fully booked hence travelers to India and holiday makers should book transportation and accommodations in advance. 

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