17/1/16 - 17/1/16
Post from April'13
We are living in an age where we can travel around the globe. In fact we can travel to the moon and back. But in a little quiet town (well known for its breakfast delicacies) Udupi – God travels through naalu beedi literally meaning four streets, in an elaborate procession called as Utsava. God idol is carried out of the temple and placed on huge, intricately decorated wooden chariot known as Ratha.
(Photo credit: Chendil Kumar)
Trumpets are blown; Drums beaten; Fireworks lit against the evening sky;
- All to announce the commencement of the Rathotsava- pulling of the chariots, carrying the idol of Lord Krishna.
People from the temple, streets and nearby lanes gather. Almost everyone joins in - priests, devotees, followers, tourists, shop keepers, street vendors, married woman and children too. Together around 50-100 people take ropes tied to the chariot in their hands. They begin chanting ‘Govinda.. Govinda.. Govinda.. Govinda..' in reverence to Lord Krishna and pull the ropes with great excitement and strength.
God travels across naalu beedi based on people’s faith, belief, excitement and strength. It’s crowded, messy, sweaty but you find faith binds them all. When at turns (junctures) , where the chariot is not moving, you almost want to give up. Loud chanting, drums beating and festive sprit around, cheers you to try harder and not give up, and to pull ropes of the chariot with all the strength. And then there times when you seem to just hold the rope and it feels as though the chariot is moving on its own and you have run to keep up with pace of the chariot and the crowd.
It develops a wonderful relation among its believers, it works brilliantly as a teamwork exercise. It instills multiple lessons:
· that you are not alone and that it is always a teamwork that makes it happen.
· to never give up and to take that one more step forward.
· to cheer others (motivate) through chanting who are pulling the chariot.
· you see so many other people doing it, believing in it – your belief strengthens.
You sweat, toil, pull, walk bare feet and then there is sense of achievement when the chariot is back at the temple. But as soon as it is completed people bow down facing the chariot attributing all of it to the Lord. Thereby developing this feeling that someone is always looking after you.
What a beautiful ritual/exercise to bring about such a transformation among so many people. It's celebration exemplified!
That’s why it’s an Utsava!
(Photos credit: Chendil Kumar)