Faces of India – 343 from Srirangam, Tamil Nadu

Faces of India

a series through which I intend to portray the various characters of my country whom I met during my travels. I bring back souvenirs, frozen moments from my travels, why not some memories of people I have met and interacted during the travels. Faces of India is a weekly series in my blog since MARCH 2011. See more here

Faces of India from Srirangam

Do you think that beggar woman is scared of the approaching elephant?

Can you sit calmly when an elephant walks by so closely?

I was at a good distance from the scene yet was little scared of the mighty temple elephant majestically walking down the street. (One can never be sure of an elephant’s violent rage and sometimes fatal outbursts.) This elephant participates in daily puja of Srirangam Temple in Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu. This elephant is being led away after the prayers offered at Srirangam temple which is an elaborate procedure.

 

Prayers at Srirangam

The priests in charge and the personnel begin prayers everyday at 6.45AM. Since ancient times the priests at Srirangam temple follow these customs religiously:

Long before sunrise a cow and one of the Srirangam temple elephants are brought near the sanctuary. Both are made to stand in such a way that they face each other in front of sanctuary. At the same time sacred water drawn from the Koleron is carried by two priests and poured in the ‘5 ritual vessels’ kept in the sanctuary. The door of the sanctuary locked at night, is then opened, premises carefully cleaned, and wicks placed on lamps filled with oil. The stage is all set for prayers to begin.

At the right auspicious moment the curtain is raised, and God is believed to begin his day in contemplation of the most auspicious signs, an elephant and a cow. The devotees walking in procession before the sanctuary are able to see God. Devotees try to reach the spot early in the morning to get this auspicious darshan (sighting). The curtain is again lowered, while the cow and elephant are led away. Srirangam temple astronomer stands before deity and reads aloud the astronomical signs for that day and the next.

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13 Responses to “Faces of India – 343 from Srirangam, Tamil Nadu

  • The grand and the lowly coexist safely!

  • Sindhu Devi K
    4 weeks ago

    I don’t think I would stay so close to an elephant! May be, I she is habituated to the routine.
    Interesting rituals!

  • the elephant walking down the street like that is sooooo cool – I would love to be there!

  • I love learning other people’s culture and this is just so interesting for me. Thanks for sharing!

  • This is so interesting! I would love to visit India someday 🙂

  • Interesting post , have never witnessed such prayers being offered before the start of the day with Cow and and Elephant and reading out astrological predictions.

  • The elephant seems to tower over both people–the man and the woman near him. I would be scared too, if the elephant came that close to me! Good that they hold animals in high regard though.

  • That picture is phenomenal. It’s very thought provoking.

  • Wow, so interesting and beautiful. That photo captures the moment perfectly.

  • If I had a elephant walk by me I would be in shock and awe so I do believe I would be able to stay still if it walked by me.

  • I really love your serie of Faces of India! People watching is my favorite thing to do when I travel. I like to observe how the locals are carrying their ordinary life. Their life and habits might be diggerent but what I have learn is that we are human and that we all have fear, we love, we laught etc.
    You really captured a very good moment of fear. I belive wherever we are from, having a giant elephant walking pass by one should fell fear!

  • It’s interesting that the woman is not intimidated or worried she could be trampled by the elephant. Maybe she has had some bad things happened to her in the past so she knows worse things can happen. Or maybe it walks past her closely on a regular basis so she is used to it.

  • Rye Santiago
    3 weeks ago

    The woman is probably not scared. It seems that she’s been staying there for quite some time to witness the elephant’s grandeur on a daily basis.

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