Posts Tagged ‘sankranti’

The Coconut Vendor

April 9th, 2011

This portrait was made in Hyderabad, India, as I took a stroll in the early evening. Makeshift stalls were everywhere on the crowded streets, with vendors selling their wares as people celebrated the Makar Sankranti harvest festival.

To me this picture represents the innate kindness and generosity of people. The small kindness of strangers, and how the smallest of things – a smile – can allow people to open up to others. This lady initially tried to sell me some coconuts, and after a smile and a laugh were exchanged, she handed me a flower as a token of the festival season.

More coming soon!

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Makar Sankranti – Bhogi!

March 27th, 2011

We arrived in Hyderabad at a rather ungodly hour of the morning. It wasn’t yet dawn when we arrived at our guest house but the inhabitants of neighbouring houses were outside, making small fires at the entrances to their dwellings, talking, and drawing in chalk upon the ground. Children were out on the streets barefoot, gathering twigs and small logs for the fire.

After an all too brief rest, we headed out to our meeting – the reason I was in Hyderabad. Turns out it was the first day of the Makar Sankranti festivites. Makar Sankranti (also known as Pongal) is a harvest festival celebrated in large parts of India.

It currently generally takes place on the 14th of January,some 21 days after the winter solstice. It commemorates the beginning of the harvest season, the end of the monsoon in the Southern parts of India and is regarded as the beginning of an auspicious phase of the year.

In Andhra Pradesh, the province of which Hyderabad is the capital, Makar Sankranti is celebrated over a four day period. The first day is called Bhogi and it marks the day when people discard old things and concentrate on the new. The disposal or burning of old things at dawn symbolises the lack of attachment to material things, and the embrace of a virtuous way of life.

Seems our arrival coincided with Bhogi.

Later that day, I had the chance to take a closer look at some of the chalk drawings. Below are some pictures.

More coming soon!

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