Down By the River
We have been travelling during this Puja month
But there has been a lot of activity all over our part of South Asia.
We showed you some of the evolution of a pandal
("temporary temple" constructed by clubs in each neighborhood)
From a pile of bamboo and cloth into a beautiful temple.
And we showed you the Hindu idol in the river at the conclusion of one Puja.
In just a couple weeks,
Those idols are made in sheds on the side of the road out of sticks and mud,
Taken to the pandals,
Where guys like these priests or pundits
Tell the lines of devoted worshipers (oddly, mostly women/girls) how to give the "gifts"
(fruit, sweets, food, and money) to the gods.
And the next day, the gods are loaded in the back of trucks,
Where a bunch of mostly young (and many times drunk & high) guys/boys
And some not-so-appropriately dressed dancers
Accompany the gods to the river.
Religiously, we aren't sure if there's a reason for throwing the gods in the river after every Puja.
Pragmatically, the gods are just mud and sticks, so what else are you going to do with them?