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Christa Neuenhofer | profile | all galleries >> Hindu rituals at the Holy River Kaveri in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu, India tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Hindu rituals at the Holy River Kaveri in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu, India

In this gallery photos of two different rituals are shown that take place at the Amma Mandapam Ghat at the banks of the holy river Kaveri in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
First there are photos of Hindus who celebrate the anniversaries of their fathersī deaths. (Normally this is repeated every year.) One ceremony that involves a young boy is shown in detail. First a small hole is made in the sand into which two small brick stones are put that symbolize the boyīs parents. Then the boy holds his hands over these stones and a priest pours milk over them. The hole is closed and the boy ties a thread around his “parents”. Then a banana leaf is taken, a banana (symbolizing the father) is put on it and the priest and the boy sprinkle some rice over it. Flowers, incense sticks, a further banana, some money and the holy fire complete the offering. Then the banana leaf is wrapped around the banana and the rice, and the boy has to take it to a holy cow on the templeīs compound. It is a good sign that the cow eats it. – A new banana leaf is put on the ground and a banana that has been divided into three parts is put on it. The three parts stand for father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Next to the banana leaf a small pyre is lit by the priest, reminding of the ancestorsī funeral pyres. Again rice is sprinkled over the banana parts and puffed rice over the pyre. The boy decorates each part of the banana, first with yellow then with red colour. Again flowers and a second banana complete the offering. During the whole ceremony the priest speaks prayers and the boy repeats the words. Finally the boy has to take this second banana leaf with all the offerings on it to the river and hand them over to the water. He has to take off the sacred thread that he wore during the ceremony and he also has to clean himself in the river, which also washes off the white colour on his forehead and body that the priest had blessed him with before the ceremony.
In a second ceremony a young widow has to leave behind everything that reminds of her status as a married woman. With a razor blade her mother in law cuts the thread that her husband had put around her neck during their wedding. Then two brothers in law cut the thread further to collect in a small bowl the golden coins that this necklace was decorated with. The woman has to take off all her jewelry and ornaments, also the flowers out of her hair. Then she has to bathe in the river. She has to wash her hair and by this washes away the red colour (sindoor) at the parting of her hair, the sign of a married woman. In the water she takes off her colourful sari and puts on white cotton clothes, symbolizing her status as a widow. Finally the whole family puts on new clothes. Apart from famous Hindu temples there is also a rich variety of temples and shrines for Dravidian Gods in South India, esp. in Tamil Nadu. When visiting that Indian state one should not miss to learn more about those folk deities. I made a book (and ebook) with lots of photos about this traditional religion. Have a full preview of my book about Dravidian deities (120 pages with lots of photos) in German: AYYANAR UND MARIAMMAN, DRAVIDISCHE SCHUTZGÖTTER IN SÜDINDIEN and in English: Christa Neuenhofer, AYYANAR AND MARIAMMAN, FOLK DEITIES IN SOUTH INDIA (see below).
AYYANAR UND MARIAMMAN, DRAVIDISCHE SCHUTZGÖTTER IN SÜDINDIEN by Christa Neuenhofer | Make Your Own Book

AYYANAR AND MARIAMMAN, FOLK DEITIES IN SOUTH INDIA by Christa Neuenhofer | Make Your Own Book

The English book also exists in a low-cost version as an ebook . ISBN: 978-1457955617: http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/417542-ayyanar-and-mariamman-folk-deities-in-south-india
Ritual for the anniversary of a fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Ritual for the anniversary of a fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Ritual for the anniversary of a fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Ritual for the anniversary of a fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Ritual for the anniversary of a fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Ritual for the anniversary of a fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Ritual for the anniversary of a fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Ritual for the anniversary of a fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Ritual for the anniversary of a fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Ritual for the anniversary of a fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Ritual for the anniversary of a fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Ritual for the anniversary of a fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Ritual for the anniversary of a fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Ritual for the anniversary of a fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Ritual for the anniversary of a fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Ritual for the anniversary of a fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Ritual for the anniversary of a fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Ritual for the anniversary of a fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Ritual for the anniversary of a fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Ritual for the anniversary of a fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Another ritual for the anniversary of a fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Another ritual for the anniversary of a fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
An old man celebrates the anniversary of his fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
An old man celebrates the anniversary of his fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
A Brahmin family celebrates the anniversary of their fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
A Brahmin family celebrates the anniversary of their fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
A Brahmin celebrates the anniversary of his fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
A Brahmin celebrates the anniversary of his fatherīs death in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
A young widow has to give up all attributes of a married woman, India.
A young widow has to give up all attributes of a married woman, India.
A young widow has to give up all attributes of a married woman, India.
A young widow has to give up all attributes of a married woman, India.
 A young widow has to give up all attributes of a married woman, India.
A young widow has to give up all attributes of a married woman, India.
A young widow has to give up all attributes of a married woman, India.
A young widow has to give up all attributes of a married woman, India.
A young widow has to give up all attributes of a married woman, India.
A young widow has to give up all attributes of a married woman, India.
A young widow has to give up all attributes of a married woman, India.
A young widow has to give up all attributes of a married woman, India.
Ritual place at the Kaveri River in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.
Ritual place at the Kaveri River in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.