Monday, September 19, 2011

Vishwakarma Puja

This past Saturday as I was walking in RTC I noticed a car that was decorated with balloons and colorful ribbons all over it. At first I didn't think much of it, I thought that maybe someone had a birthday and the car had been decorated by friends. When a few minutes later I noticed that people were decorating motorcycles and other cars,I knew something different was going on.... but what? I asked my roommate and she told me that Sept 17 and 18 Vishwakarma Puja is celebrated by Hindus in Bhutan

Vishwakarma is regarded as the God of technology, architecture and engineering. In fact as a son  of Brahma, he considered to be the divine draftsman of the whole universe, and the official builder of all the gods' palaces. Vishwakarma is also the designer of all the flying chariots of the gods, and all their weapons. My roommate even told me that I should be thankful for the existence of laptops to him. I decided to take a bus into town and see for myself how this was being celebrated. As the bus starts descending into town I notice that in auto shops and constructions sites, colorful shrines are being built and the statue or image of Vishwakarma is being venerated by workers dancing and chanting ! What a view ! Offerings of food and money were being made and of course once we reach  the city bus stop I noticed that they had their own shrine as well.On the highway other cars, taxis and buses were also decorated and people were honking as they passed us.

The next day I went into town and I thought that by now the celebrations would be over, but little did I know it is a 2 days celebration. As I was standing on the street a construction bus rushed by with workers on  the back dancing, drinking and singing ( they even carried palm trees on the back of the bus with them). They were also carrying the statue of Vishwakarma. I saw a couple of more buses heading towards the same direction, and it turns out that the celebration culminated in the river bank where the Vishwakarma is thrown into the river and washed away. It was hard for me to understand why an image that was venerated was being thrown into the river after the festivities were over. What does that symbolize ? That I still don't know.

Marijose Vila 2013 ( pics by me ) 

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