as i said, people like to have their pictures taken.
well, most people.
i took these photos at a local festival for the goddess mariamman, the mother goddess. more on this shortly.
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we went back the next day for the main procession, of lord shiva and the 63 saints. the streets were not as crazily packed as they were the day before, but the area in front of the temple, which had been enclosed for the occasion, was fully jammed with worshippers. oddly, the event wasn’t as grand as the celebration of the day before, but i think it had more religious significance.
|i saw a group of kids in the chariot from yesterday, so of course i had to climb up as well and take a look. i don’t know if there is a three-story shed somewhere or if they dismantle the chariot after the festival. right: two priests handing out ashes for marking the foreheads with the sign of shiva.|
|a temple band (horns and drum) play and the sun shines appropriately through the roof as the chariot with the statue of lord shiva wheels into place. (i’m sorry for having used such a shallow depth of field in the first photo.) right: devotees carry the first palanquin of saints’ statues out to the street. how often do you see the word “palanquin” these days?|
|you can see that the saints are riding backward in their palanquins, so they can gaze on lord shiva who comes afterward. right: the procession went out onto the street, where i again found the rolling beggar from the day before.|
today, my friend and fellow tirupati traveler james and i went to kapaleeswarar temple to see the arubathimoovar festival. arubathimoovar celebrates 63 saints who were canonized for their devotion to lord shiva, and the highlight of the festival is the parade of temple chariots, each of which carries a statue of a saint through the streets.
one of the first things we encountered was a group of beggars who roll themselves through the streets, chanting, blocking traffic, and begging for alms. as the middle shot shows (and i’m only including it as evidence, not because it’s a particularly good shot), they aren’t in such bad shape for rolling themselves four or five blocks in the procession with the chariots; i have to believe this isn’t their first rodeo, so to speak. the chariots themselves are pulled along by devotees while priests distribute holy ashes and other blessings …
… that is, until the chariot carrying shiva pulls into view. this was a much more serious affair, about two stories tall, with more than a hundred guys pushing and pulling it and thousands thronged around it.
|the ropes used to pull the chariot, and the crowds pushing, pulling, or following it, were massive.|
i’ve just signed up for some online courses with an outfit called “the compelling image.” for their sample lesson, i was instructed to take two shots that incorporate various described compositional techniques to create images with visual impact, rather than the equivalent of snapshots of uncle fred by the side of the house. i didn’t think it right to submit shots i’d already done, so i went out today and grabbed a few shots. compelling? who knows. it’ll be interesting to read the professionals’ feedback.
happy new year.
i only had to submit two, so i didn’t include the third one, but there’s something about the girl’s face and the boy’s body position that interested me so i’ve included it here.
for the past two days, we have received increasingly frantic warnings about cyclone thane, which at first was heading straight for chennai: charge our phones, fill our gas tanks, stock up on milk and water, and so on. yesterday morning, however, the cyclone veered south, straight for pondicherry; bad news for pondicherry, but this downgraded our expectations to just heavy winds and rains.
this morning, we looked outside and saw that there indeed had been heavy winds overnight (leaves and branches down), but no real damage. i took the dog down to marina beach, despite the driving rain, to shoot the impact of the storm with a holga plastic camera and a roll of 120 mm film. it was a lot of fun, and even cooper, who hates getting bathed, was happy to run around in the rain.
the holga is a clumsy camera, but sometimes it gives you exactly what you want.