1 July 2007


I received an invitation this week, to attend a July 1st, Garuda Puja and Function to be held at a nearby farm. Garuda (eagle) is revered as the vahana (vehicle) of Lord Vishnu. So wherever an eagle is spotted, devotees believe that the Lord is nearby. For the past five years a pair of eagles have claimed the palm trees and banana trees of this farm, as their own. So, this nice annual function is in fact the third year of Garuda Puja. I arrived at the farm and noticed the hive of activity going on in preparation of the 1,000 guests that were expected to participate.

Below is the young man, who is resident nearby, who so excellently co-ordinated all the arrangements of the Function. He is actually by trade an autorickshaw driver.

Next is the professional cook who was hired from a restaurant in town to come and cook the feast for us. Here he is making a potato side dish.

In the below photograph, a lady with a tremendous amount of determination is stirring up a giant pot (one of many) of rice; it looks like hard work.

Once she had finished with cooking the rice she dashed off to another spot and started preparing the vadai. Here the yellow mixture is waiting to be flattened into individual flat cakes and fried in hot oil.

Just some of the kids at the function; and there were many of them. A very nice afternoon with lots of laughter and larking around.

In the below photograph these men are cutting up banana leaves in individual plate size for our lunch; it works better than plastic and the cows just love munching on the leaves afterwards.

One of the trees which is a particular favourite of our heroes; the eagles!

Even though a thousand people are dashing around, making lots of noise and the smells of curry, vadai and rice are in the air; this little puppy is having a peaceful and deep snooze right in the middle of all the action. Absolutely an Indian dog!

Every so often one of the eagles would go for a soar around the neighbourhood, I really think he was aware that the crowds had turned out just for him. Everytime he flew around, people would look up and call, 'Hari, Hari' (Lord Vishnu).

A local village man looking very hungry and ready for what would prove to be a most delicious lunch.

A temporary Garuda altar was set up next to the tent and a local priest performed the worship.

In more of a close-up, a photograph of an eagle (Garuda) that received very special attention during the puja.

Below is one of our stars, Garuda, trying to act like he was totally unaware of the excitement he was completely responsible for.

And in the below photograph, Garuda in flight.

A nice Mum and her sweet baby, who was kind enough to stop crying for just long enough for me to take this photograph.

Waiting for lunch and below the little girl in brown in the middle of the photograph made me laugh, as she had so much attitude!

Now that the puja is over and Garuda is safely back in the trees, we can have a nice lunch of the deliciously prepared foods; and it was really yummy. In the below you can see the traditional Indian way of serving meals to large numbers of people. This is how it is done everywhere in Tamil Nadu.

So many people had turned up for the function that there had to be several sittings. I feel grateful to have been invited as it was a most special day, and even our star, the Eagle seemed to have been completely satisfied with how things went.

1 comment:

Divya said...

Sounds like an absolutely exciting and invigorating day, wish I could have joined you for the lunch afterwards!