February 12, 2012

Festival of Murugan, India

Update from the India folks…

Last Tuesday Paul and Emily had the opportunity to accompany a medical team from the Pasam Trust –in hospital (a local charity hospital) down to the plains, where they ran a walk in clinic and massive propaganda program for an upcoming free plastic surgery program that they will be hosting.   We went to a nearby city that was having a festival in celebration of the hindu god, Murugan.  

The scale and scope of the festival was enormous.  Tens of thousands of people had traveled for days (by foot), making a pilgrimage to see a famous temple on top of a mountain at the edge of the city.  The Pasam bus parked on the side of the road going into town, where we could watch the multitude of pilgrims stream past all day. 

The Hindu festival was extremely colorful- people where wearing a variety of bright clothes, feathers, ornaments, etc. and often had some paint or other decoration on their faces.

People traveled in groups (family or village groups), which usually consisted of a number of drummers and a dancers.  The dancers had these arches made of wood, cloth and peacock feathers which they used for shade, but also incorporated into the dancing.  Groups would frequently stop and began  drumming and dancing in the middle of the road.  They might stay there for 15-20 minutes before moving on. 

The streets were lined with vendors of all sorts. We saw dozens of different types of fruits being sold- we couldn’t name them all.  People were grinding sugar cane into juice, making fresh lime soda, boiling, frying and baking foods all along the street.

This young girl was balancing on a rope along the road all day long.

A couple of groups of people had pierced their cheeks, and made the pilgrimage with these long rods through their faces.

Many people had shaved their heads, and donated the hair to the temple of Murugan.  They then painted their bald heads yellow/orange to indicate what had happened. 

The Pasam doctors and nurses saw patients with basic complaints and distributed medicines.  They also handed out hundreds of pamphlets about the plastic surgery clinic (a free service provided by German doctors for burn victims).   A youtube video about Pasam can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_daIgCJOoc

No comments:

Welcome to our Blog!

Your donations make a difference! The medical students of CHM LMUV invite you to follow us through this blog in our travels to Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Peru, and Uganda. We want to share with you our experiences and how your generosity helps those in need.

Thank you for all of your support!