Tonight we took the time to explore a bit of the festivities that are taking place throughout the city during this time of Durga Puja - this is a festival that celebrates the Hindu Goddess 'Durga', who is depicted in numerous 'pandals' (temporary structures, often themed i.e. Mayan) with numerous arms (up to eighteen) holding various weapons, riding a lion or tiger, and slaying demons. Her name means 'invincible'.
The pandals are elaborate, and typically the larger, and grander structures are said to gain greater blessings in the Hindu religion.
To see such adornment, such large steps to worship a higher-being, and such a public display of their belief, really makes me think about the way I worship Jesus, and challenges me in the image I create through this.
We went out with a few friends from Freeset, who happen to be locals, so they knew their way around and through the alley-ways, and short-cuts (so many people! So many bustling crowds, noises, smells...), and we had a good time enjoying a new insight into a culture we live alongside.
The crowds were jovial, the people were curious (our pale skin attracts enough attention without wrapping it in a saree), and all in all it was an experience I will remember for a long time. Our friends were welcoming and warm, and we were all smiles, laughter, and community - and we topped all this off with a crazy ferris-wheel ride, that spun insanely fast (I honestly believed that I wouldn't stay in my seat).
Enjoy the chaos + colour.