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Dasara in Pune – a photo essay

October 23, 2007

Last Sunday was Dasara, and I was in Pune. The festival is known as Dasara in Maharashtra, but in the north it is known as Dussera. The 10-day festival has a different meaning in the south, the west, the east and in the north and is celebrated in different ways although fundamentally the festival is a celebration of Good triumphing over Evil.

On this day farmers start a new crop season…people also worship they tools they use…either machines, books or computers. It is an auspicious occasion to buy gold, start a new business or purchase a new house. In addition, in Maharashtra it is a custom to exchange Aapati leaves. The leaves symbolise gold.

Dasara is in fact one of the most important festivals in India and celebrated with pomp and show all over the country. Pune is a city which never fails to celebrate festivals with gusto and I leave you with some photographs of my trip.

The day before Dasara we had gone out for dinner and on the way back got stuck in two separate processions…the road was jammed with vehicles, people, and ofcourse…Goddess Durga.

Although it was late, people were still buying marigold flowers and garlands which are used extensively during Dasara.

The next morning the streets were wore a deserted look as everyone was busy making preparations for the big day of pooja and the festive lunch.

Vehicles were decorated with marigold garlands.

Shop-keepers were busy with decorations too.

There were flower sellers at every corner, just in case someone had to do some last-minute buying.

This kid had attached flowers to the wheels of his cycle…

Just an example of a dressed-up temple in the city.

Rangoli (drawings with white and coloured powders) is a kind of floor art and part of religious tradition in India. During major festivals it is common to make rangolis outside one’s door or in the courtyard.

But this doesn’t mean that life isn’t normal. 🙂 Youngsters were out to have their street-side chaat. After all, it was a holiday…

(Photographs by me)

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. October 23, 2007 8:38 am

    OldSailor appreciates your colourful coverage of dasara in Pune

  2. madhurisinha permalink
    October 23, 2007 6:07 pm

    Hi Nita,
    The photos remind me so much of home. Everything looks so colourful and bright. I love the little boy who has decorated his cycle wheels (ingenious). 🙂

  3. October 23, 2007 6:16 pm

    That is the whole idea Madhuri, to remind you of home! 🙂 I know if I was living abroad these pictures would bring great joy to my heart because I enjoy religious festivities a lot, being basically very social. The meeting of relatives (we have a huge family) and cousins and eating good food…its so much fun! And there is something so beautiful about people’s faith. I respect it whole-heartedly and many times I wish I felt that something too. I guess faith is something that one either has or hasn’t. But yes, I respect all those who have it.

  4. Bharath permalink
    October 23, 2007 7:10 pm

    //Its so much fun! And there is something so beautiful about people’s faith.//

    well captured Nita.

  5. October 23, 2007 7:49 pm

    Interesting to learn about Durga. The image of her many arms intrigues me, and her warrior powers. I read somewhere her many arms symbolize her infinite powere and ability to do all things at once.

    Maybe it’s a coincidence, but in Mexico this time of year, Oct. 31-Nov.2,
    they celebrate the Day of the Dead. The marigold is the main flower they use to decorate the altars.

  6. October 23, 2007 7:57 pm

    Wonderful and colourful celebration. I like the idea that people revere the tools whereby they make their living. Also love the colour of the marigolds in their variety which seem to distill the generative colours of the sun. The people in your photos appear very festive. The immersion of Durga shrines in the rivers must be something to see, the symbolism of the marriage of clay and water is marvellous. If turmeric is put into the rivers, a flowing golden yellow-orange watercourse must be something to see and be in awe of. G

  7. October 23, 2007 9:58 pm

    Thanks Bharath, Christine and Surburban. 🙂 Actually there were many shots which came out blurred as there were people dancing. Unfortunately I could not capture them well.
    Christine, that’s interesting what you said about Mexico. But here it’s about a new beginning so I think it’s different.
    Suburuban, that is the idea I like the best. In fact even though I am not exactly religious, I never fail to put some flowers on my computer and we do it for our car too. Books too…it gives me a satisfaction, as if there is this one day in the year when we appreciate all that gives us life…our work. It is so easy to take our tools for granted, because they are inanimate. Actually I love my books, I feel that they have a life…

  8. feastival permalink
    October 24, 2007 2:25 am

    These photos really capture the spirit of celebration of the Dussehra- the day of Victory over darkness- that follows Navarathri (Nine Nights) during which Indians pay their obeisance to the three Devis Saraswati (representing Satva Gunas), Lakshmi (Rajas) and Durga (tamas). These three together form the Mahasakthi- the Great Energy.
    Thanks for this detailed photo esaay.

  9. Padmini permalink
    October 24, 2007 4:00 am

    Another aspect of celebrating Dassara (or any Indian festival) for people away from home and India is actually remembering the festivals in order to celebrate them! I know several people, especially young folks, who say that they completely forgot about it when you call to wish them. Although there are temples and mosques everywhere, the actual living tradition and culture is missing. The one missing factor is the gradual build up before the festival actually comes by. In India, the festivities are in the air, in the colors,smells and tastes wafting everywhere which is glaringly absent abroad. However, the hope is that one day things are going to be almost like home!

  10. October 24, 2007 5:32 pm

    Happy belated Dusshera Nita. Lovely Photographs.

  11. October 24, 2007 10:52 pm

    Happy Dusshera Nita. It is one of the things I miss about India – all the revelry and festive spirit.

  12. jack permalink
    October 25, 2007 6:30 pm

    hi nita,

    nice articles u come up with on ur blog..

    i m really interested to know which camera u r using to take the snaps especially the one in Pune.

  13. October 25, 2007 6:54 pm

    I use canon digital 610, and I avoid the flash. The only time I used the flash was when I took the second last photo.

  14. jack permalink
    October 26, 2007 1:29 pm

    nita, thanks for reply.

    actually i liked the naturallity of colours in ur photographs. I was of the opinion that this kind of colour quality can be achieved from Film / Roll Camera only and not thru digital camera. But i m glad to see the results u r getting from Canon.

  15. October 26, 2007 2:06 pm

    I am total convert to digital Jack. 🙂 I took those pictures on the ‘Auto’ mode even though there are a lot of options available. I have written a review of the camera here.

  16. jack permalink
    October 28, 2007 4:17 pm

    thanks for cool and informative review on Cannon A610.

    you are welcome Jack. 🙂 Nita.

  17. Ram permalink
    October 7, 2008 3:45 pm

    Hello Nita,

    Happy Dussera 2008 🙂

    Could you please where is Durga temple in Pune?

    Thanks in Advance!!!


    Ram, happy Dussera to you too, but as I have not lived in Pune for many years, I do not know. I visit Pune occasonally. – Nita.

  18. Nitin permalink
    October 6, 2011 6:31 pm

    you should have mentioned whrre is actually celebrated in pune….Dusshera means burning RAVAN..other days are called DURGA POOJA…..

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