Dussehra – At Home

Our driver, Dayalan, celebrated the Hindu festival of Dussehra this week by performing a ritual for the vehicles and tools in our household, i.e. our car, my bicycle, the driver’s own motorcycle, and – for the first time – my camera.

Here are two photos of Dayalan performing the ritual. In the first he is holding a pumpkin. At the end of the ceremony he threw the pumpkin to the ground to break it in half, and then placed the two halves at the entrance to our driveway.

puja with pumpkin

In the second photo he is holding a coconut, which smashed beautifully at the end, more easily than the pumpkin. Can you see the banana leaves on the front of the car?  This year we used leaves from our own garden, instead of buying them.

puja with coconut

We have a beautiful garland of roses on the car now.

rose garland

Performing the ritual on Friday afternoon at 4.30pm served two purposes – it was an auspicious time, and it was late in the week, so the prices of flowers had dropped by 40 per cent.

flowers on front of car
We placed lemons under the wheels of the vehicles.  The final part of the ritual was driving over the lemons to smash them.  Almost impossible with my bicycle; tricky with the Suzuki motorbike; but dead easy with the big Toyota Fortuner.  Now we are ready for anything on the roads of Bangalore.

Related posts from 2012 and 2013:
2012 Dussehra – part 1 – the car

2012 Dussehra – part 2 my bike

2012 Dussehra – part 3 the offerings

2013 Dussehra – the Prequel

2013 Dussehra – On the Streets

Dussehra – the Prequel

What do you do with a sackful of flowers in Bangalore this week?  Celebrate the festival of Dussehra (also called Dasara).

tumbling flowers

At this festival people honour the tools that they use in your home or at work. Anything from a sewing machine to a tractor to a laptop, even a camera.

My photos of last year’s Dussehra appear in a series of three blogposts, starting here.

This year, our driver is planning a puja for the vehicles on Friday, so I don’t have photos of our own ceremony yet.   Instead, here are the supplies that you need for the puja, on sale from roadside vendors on Whitefield Main Road.

If you are doing a puja for the car, you need banana leaves to decorate the front of the vehicle.

banana leaves

Then you need offerings of fruit and leaves.

Fruit

leaves for puja

And pumpkins to be smashed.

P1020483

This ceremony means a lot to our Hindu driver; and to me it is a symbol of the anniversary of my husband’s job in Bangalore, and of our driver working for us.

Dussehra part 3 – the offerings

You’ve seen the car and the bike; here is the heart of the matter.  The car keys, and Dayalan’s motorbike key, are on the banana leaf with the offerings on the pavement in front of the car.

Dussehra offerings 2012

Some of the fruit was deliberately split open, by throwing it on the ground, or driving over it (easier said than done on my bike!); and some of the fruit was given to our household, i.e. Paul and me, the driver, the gardener, and as various crises occurred over the next few days, the plumber and the snake-catcher.

Dussehra offerings and flame