Vrindavan – Evening ceremonies

12th to 13th February 2014 (Day 4 to 5 (early morning)) (Vrindavan #7)

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Washing clothes at the pump.

Following our visit to the sugar factory, we returned to Vindravan.  The first two images look across the road before we alighted on the bus.  The next four are from the bus on the way back.

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Ever get the feeling you're being watched?

Ever get the feeling you’re being watched?

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Preaching to the converted?

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When the light was starting to get low, I headed off to the river where another puja ceremony was underway.  This time I was more interested in what was happening around me than the ceremony itself.

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The ceremony is going on below me here as I sit on top of a pillar like the one at the right.  While I was sitting there, a young girl aged eight approached me to sell me small containers with a candle surrounded by flowers.  I did not understand their purpose at the time but it was to set them adrift on the river with the candle lit as an offering.

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DSCF0764-Edit

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I didn’t photograph her then but she was in the details of some of the images I took from the boat of the puja ceremony, two nights previously.  She is on the right having probably just tried to interest the people sitting on top of this column in her wares.

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Gunjan.  Image by David Bassett.

Here is a portrait of her taken on this evening by Dave Bassett, another member of our group.  Her name in Gunjan.  We know this because when we returned to Australia, Brian Rope, the leader of our group, discovered a remarkable article on the web about her.   By an extraordinary coincidence it was published on the web just nine days before this night, though we did not know of it at the time.

Her father was killed by his brother a year or two ago and her mother has difficulty finding work so Gunjan supports her family of five by selling the flowers.  This means she is no longer able to go to school and she is illiterate (though she speaks English very well).  At the time of the article, her twelve year old sister was unable to leave the house because she was of “marriagable age”, lacked a dowry and it was not safe for her to go out by herself.

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Image by Brian Rope.

Gunjan is here talking to me as I sit on top of the column.   The photograph is by Brian Rope (web site, blog).

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Slowly the sun goes down.

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The women in the archway above are eying off the monkey to make sure it does not creep up on them.  These monkeys have been known  to attack women and children.

It is some hours later, quite late at night, and this is the entrance to the Sri Radharaman Temple.  It is a Hindu temple dedicated to Krishna that dates to 1542.  It escaped the systematic temple desecrations in Vrindavan at the time of Mogul Emperor Aurangzeb in the seventeenth century because it was located in what was thought to be a residential quarter.  It houses one of the most important deity statuettes of Vindravan.

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We were able to photograph during the ceremonies though we were given some instructions on etiquette such as not to turn our backs on the altar.

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Returning to the ashram through the narrow back alleys….

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3 comments on “Vrindavan – Evening ceremonies

  1. leecleland says:

    Amazing coincidence on the article about Gunjan, and how photogenic she is. Once more great glimpses into another section of Indian culture.

    Like

  2. […] 12th:  Evening ceremonies […]

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