Monday, 17 March 2014

Report IX: The Sacred Cities Photo Expedition

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved
On the eve of the "final" Holi day, we've arrived to the point of diminishing returns.

Having braved the masses of people crowding the relative small courtyard of the Banke Bihari mandir, we've looked back and concluded that our better photographs of the festival were made during the initial days of Holi, and it was now entering a repetitive phase, where only amorphous crowds changed, and the action remained the same. The above photograph was made of the crowded courtyard of the temple.

Tomorrow is the day of the Holi maelstrom in Vrindavan, and to a lesser degree in Mathura. It's expected that the streets and alleys leading to the main temples will be jam-packed with people...some inebriated and others on bhang, and with an exuberant determination to hurl color powder and squirting water on as much people as possible.

As a side anecdote:

We were advised more than once to mind our effects, and to watch our for pickpockets and thieving monkeys. As we were waiting for the doors of Banke Bihari temple to open, a small monkey lunged at Shane Green, and swiped his sun-glasses. In a matter of a split-second, the monkey came down a grill door, and just snatched them from his face...then ran up to his perch and started taunting the delighted crowds with it.

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved
Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved
Shane didn't care much about the sun-glasses anyway, and bid them farewell rather dispassionately. However, Mukesh (one of our loyal drivers) wasn't too happy at the monkey's lack of civility, and somehow managed to eventually return the sun-glasses (minus a lens and an arm) to their rightful owner.

As they say in India, "Everything will be all right in the end and if it's not all right, then it's not the end."