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Ladakh - Planning The Trip

Over 2000 Km by road, in around 10 days. Stunning landscapes, wonderful people. That sums up our Ladakh trip. But how did it actually work? How did we make it happen? Read on to find out!  Leh, the capital of Ladakh , is accessible by air and road. Flying into Leh is the easiest, and time-saving option, while the road is the time consuming one, but with the added advantage of driving past some of the most beautiful landscapes in our country. Each option has much to recommend it, and we chose the road for just one reason – altitude sickness. Altitude sickness was one of my biggest concerns, since I suffer from motion-sickness. Yes, I do travel a lot, but that is despite my condition, and, over the years, have learnt how to handle it. I struggled with it when we visited Nathu-La in Sikkim, and wondered if I would be able to manage a week at the even higher altitudes that we would encounter in Ladakh. This was the reason we stuck to a basic plan, of only 9 days in Ladakh, though we

Ganpati Celebrations Big and Small

The ten day Ganesh Chaturthi celebration is one festival celebrated by one and all, at least in Mumbai. Rich or poor, the devout bring the Lord home, and spend the ten days immersed in the festivities - offering prayers, enjoying the offerings, or maybe just taking in the sights and sounds of the festival.



These days, I find myself skeptical about the way we celebrate the festival... pandals at every corner, blocking every road, blaring out loud, inappropriate music all day long, idols which wash up on the shore every year after immersion.... yet I end up going for a tour of the Ganesha pandals every year, telling myself that I am giving my son an opportunity to enjoy the same experiences I did! 

Starting off with my tour, here are the first Ganeshas we visited this year... and which so beautifully typify the variety in the celebrations....

This beautiful Ganesha was in a pandal by the side of a busy road. A couple of bored young men stood by the entrance, and we were the lone visitors....


A few steps down the road, and we came to this one...


It was much simpler, the idol as well as the decoration, but what struck me was that the size of the idol was almost the same as the size of the house it was placed in!! 


Here, there were a bunch of kids who ran out as soon as we crossed the road to take a closer look. They placed a mat in front, and offered us prasad.. and seemed happy when I clicked a photo..

What was most interesting about both these idols was their location. They are located right opposite the Ram Mandir at Wadala, which houses one of the GSB Ganpatis. This is one of the richest idols in the city, and is covered with gold.. real gold! We were actually headed to this temple when we saw the other two Ganeshas, but couldnt have darshan since the queue was too long, and Samhith refused to wait. I didnt really mind, since i have been to see this Ganesha almost every year for the last 10 years, and nothing much has changed, except the amount of Gold adorning the God. And this amount increases every year, no matter what the state of the economy! This pic is from a previous post.


Three Ganeshas on one road.... all three of them different.. yet they all depict the same God, don't they? This is probably what characterizes the festival in this city.... ne a rich god, for those who can afford it, who pray more to the Goddess of wealth than to the Remover of obstalces; one who is more of a statement, where the size and form matter more than the offerings or the prayers, and one where the God is almost as large as life.. or at least as large as they can afford Him to be! Yet all three of them share one thing in common - faith that the Lord will answer their prayers!

Comments

  1. Wonderful captures Anu.. Looks like I have been to the second pandal. Interesting perspective in the end. Loving my celebrations here with your Ganpati series. :)

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    1. Thanks Arti!!! If you went to the Ram Mandir, you would have surely seen the second one! Its just a bit ahead of the temple... waiting for your ganpatis now :D

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  2. The amount of gold on the third one is well, dazzling. For I'm sure sure Ganpati is the Vighnaharta in the first case too — as a remover of obstacles in getting more wealth.

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    1. you should go and see all the gsb ganpatis sometime, Sudha! they are not just dazzling, but blinding!!! and oh yes, he is a remover of all sorts of obstacles.. it depends on us which obstacles we wish him to remove :D which is why he is such a loved god!

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