The frequency of holiday celebrations was one of my favorite aspects of life in India. Since I have an abundance of photographs from those occasions, I decided this week to focus on Ganesh Chaturthi, a 10-day Hindu festival celebrating the elephant-headed god Ganesh(a), who is considered “the remover of obstacles.” Andhra Pradesh, the state where I lived last fall, is one of the places where this holiday is most celebrated.
1. On the final day of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, Hindu celebrants submerge large and small statues of Ganesh into nearby bodies of water. These statues are being sculpted from mud. Photo taken in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. September 2010.
2. While fun and festive, the statue submersion tradition is also fatal to fish because it increases the acid and metal levels in the water. Photo taken in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. September 2010.
3. On a street corner near my apartment, a large crowd of drummers and celebrants swelled for hours of music and dancing on the nights of the festival. Photo taken in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. September 2010.
4. Ganesh statues can be smaller than your hand or three times your height. The largest ones are set up on platforms for worshipers visit and pay respect. This statue is being transported in the back of a truck. Photo taken in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. September 2010.
5. Because of the high number of holidays, streets in India are decorated with festival lights almost year-round. Photo taken in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. September 2010.
Check back next Friday to see photos of Diwali and New Year’s Eve in India!