Tag Archives: Krishna river

Bhavani Deeksha…

Always on the theme of red, found out more about the scarlet clad people i saw all over Andhra Pradesh:

The lrumudi is the only travelling kit which a pilgrim carries on his head during the pilgrimage. The bag is in two compartments – the front portion is reserved for keeping all the offerings to the deity while the rear part is meant to hold the pilgrims personal requirements for the journey.

The Bhavani Deeksha, also known as Durga Bhavani Diksha or Mala, is a Deeksha or vrata (a kind of blessing) dedicated to Goddess Kanakadurga of Vijayawada. It is observed for 41 or 21 days. The dress code followed is – red coloured shirt and trousers or dhoti and a pancha (shawl type cloth on shoulders).

After taking a dip in the Krishna River and donning the sacred red robes, the devotees climb the adjacent hill to the nearby Durga temple to initiate or end the blessing period (see previous post). For the duration of the Deeksha they must, amongst other things, take baths only with cold water in the early hours of the day, eat limited and simple food, refrain from shaving, haircut and nail trimming during the Deeksha, not see or touch a woman in her menstrual period (i saw women pilgrims also so not sure how this works???) not wear footwear and sleep on the floor for all the 41 days. For full set of rules click here.

sundays and class outing…

Sunday morning

Hindu blessing

Afternoon – took all my classes on trip, with only me in charge of a bus full of kids. TERRIFYING responsibility, and like i have said before, health and safety is not an issue here. No seat belts ever. No one wears motor cycle helmets. You often see whole families on the back of one motorbike, including babies and toddlers…  there are no safety guards or railings on sheer drops…All this is fine for yourself, but believe me just getting 40 kids safely across a crazy busy road with no lights…well…anyway all went well, no casualties and we even got to see the Krishna River when its not raining!!!!! and some great photo requests

…so i spotted this group crossing the road and wondered to myself,

if they would mind me photographing them as they looked so devout and all…in the end they spotted the camera, came over, surrounded me and started posing and singing and asking why i was not taking more photos. PHOTOS REQUESTED BY SUBJECT:

krishna river

The krishna river…it always rains when i come here. Pilgrims first climb the adjacent hill to a temple, absolutely no photos allowed and you have to climb the hill barefoot (not nice). Then they come down and bathe in the krishna river and then they give thanks at this tree. They leave offerings of bananas and coconuts, hence these giant rats live inside it, coloured yellow by the powder from the shrine, they appear every now and then to grab some food and disappear back into the heart of the tree.

middle of somewhere…

… so i find myself yet again in an unusual situation. For some reason one of the organisers here insisted i accompanied the doctors who were going to see another facility. Its a residential place for mentally handicapped orphans that is also under the care and share umbrella. So we drove and we drove into the middle of somewhere and we eventually got to the place, we pull up a road that was lined by a number of men squatting to defecate, backsides akimbo pointing towards the road, while on the other side was a lake of stagnant water. Round another corner and we are there. Half the facility is a high school and the other half looks after the handicapped kids.


High school girls who were fascinated by my hair, which they think is much more beautiful than theirs despite the fact that it is the same style of two braids and is dark brown rather than black. Theirs is longer, shinier and nicer…but they were having none of it!

…and course the place is run by nuns, so there are icons, Jesus and Mary everywhere and also for some reason the place is full of large billowing curtains which coupled with the religion gave the place an ethereal, other worldly impression.



Not that it was a sad place, the kids seemed well looked after and stimulated, but can’t the same thing be done with a little less Jesus i kept asking myself? On the other hand, one of the reasons Christianity has been so readily embraced here is that it ignores the very strong caste system…Anyway,  the docs started snapping away, and the kids (like everywhere else i have been) asked to have their picture taken, but i stopped very soon.


What am i going to do with these pictures and why am i taking them? I photograph the kids all the time in Daddy’s Home, why should this be any different. But i stopped none the less.

We ate biscuits in a small refectory that was lined by a tide mark that rose one meter plus up the walls. In Oct, after severe rains, the Krishna river burst its banks and flooded the area, the nuns and orphans had to be rescued by a navy boat that sailed up the courtyard to come and save them at three in the morning. I feel a film script coming on.



rain and the city…


Did i mention the traffic here? unbelievable chaos EVERYWHERE all the time, in the city but also in the bigger villages and main roads. Just crossing the road is pretty hairy, cars weave in and out of lanes, monster trucks do battle with three wheeled bikes…and no seat belts EVER, even the cars i have been in that actually have seat belts…they don’t work.


And indian people like to cluster, even outside the city in the dark in the middle of the road, you have to swerve as you come across groups of men…chatting. Lorries stop randomly….all of them have signs on the back saying “please honk your horn” (presumably to let them know you are there)…but no need to worry, every driver honks regardless, generally every three seconds, for the entire journey. Drove around Vijayawada in the pouring rain, huge lakes of brown water replacing the roads. Watched pilgrims bathing in the Krishna river dressed either in scarlet or black robes in the pouring rain. Saw a dead body perched on a stretcher atop a lorry both of which were festooned with turmeric yellow petals, waiting to be burned on the Krishna river (was kind of beautiful) all witnessed from the back of a car in the pouring rain.