06 October 2011

Ganpati Visarjan: A Photo Essay

Every year, Ganesh Chaturathi (Birthday) is celebrated followed by Visarjan (immersion into waters) with great fervor in Maharashtra and now is many other parts of the India. In 1893, Indian freedom fighter and social reformer Lokmanya Tilak transformed the annual domestic festival into a large, well-organized public event.
Tilak recognized the wide appeal of the deity Ganesh as "the god for everybody", and popularized Ganesh Chaturthi as a national festival in order "to bridge the gap between Brahmins and 'non-Brahmins' and find a context in which to build a new grassroots unity between them", and generate nationalistic fervor among people in Maharashtra against the British colonial rule.
Tilak encouraged installation of large public images of Ganesh in pavilions, and also established the practice of submerging in rivers, sea, or other pools of water all public images of the deity on the tenth day after Ganesh Chaturthi
Great Festivities and Colors

It rained the whole evening, and I was ruing of not starting earlier. Now at around 8 pm, managing any worthwhile shots in pouring rains, seemed highly unlikely. So we decided, we will wait till 9 pm and see if things improve. It did indeed, just stopped for twenty odd minutes, enough to entice me out of dry comfort. So there I was at Powai lake, amidst heavy rains. Should I save my camera (and new 35mm lens) or should I step out from under the bus stand and shoot. After all everyone else seemed to be least bothered about rains.
Ganpati Bappa Morya - A Devotee
 There is never any lack of devotion in Hindu festivals. Everyone joins the fun.

Generations Together
 So while it continued to rain in bit and pieces, it was the crowd, police and moving vehicles which one needed to be more careful off. The good news is one can easily get passed off as press photographer. Infact the police officers would let you do your own thing as long as you can behave like a pro- photographer. (Some tips here from Sephi)
No Kidding - Looks the Devils here too.
Cradle Love

All hands together
 Shooting at 11pm in the night was possible only because of artificial lights at the venue. I soon realized that it was the day of 'isolating your subject' assignment. The sharp F 1.8 lens helped. Meanwhile, Lord Ganesha kept arriving in all shapes and sizes. From being held in cradle, to using modern day cranes to lift the Lord 'Up in Air'.
Up in Air
Shooting street festivities is never easy. The dual challenge of cutting the clutter and being in the right place at right time was tough. The fixed lens added to the fun! To view the last stages, here is an earlier post.

Hope you liked the post. Your comments, feedback is all that is needed to keep the faith (in shooting).


Saru Singhal said...

Beautiful pictures and thanks for sharing an interesting fact.


PK Talli said...

This is some work Mayank. I think I have seen the devil photo earlier but this was starred in my google reader :D so came back...In the first photograph I loved the warm colors and the guy next to the idol who is smiling at you?

The black and whites are even better! And you took these photos risking your camera in rain? *respect*

The Blunt Blog

mayankpandey said...

Chintan - thanks. Yes, you must have seen the devil in the earlier post on "Why I love street photography". Remember you liked it even then. Letting you onto a secret, its often easier to shoot in B&W - one dimension (colors) less to control in composition.

mayankpandey said...

thanks. @cloudnine :-)

Rishi B said...

Wonderful pics... subtle beauty... Rishi

Cloudninetalks said...

Lovely pictures Mayank. The first one looks a riot of colors with all the other ones looking muted and subdued. The last picture is stunning by the sheer size of Ganpati:) Lovely post!

mayankpandey said...

Dont want to get into this artistic sensibility trap. Its the first impressions and viewers feedback which is often real. 

thoma said...

unlike your unique artist eye my o-r-d-i-n-a-r-y mind and eye go for first impressions!

mayankpandey said...

@Saru - thanks. Am glad you like coming back to blog. Happy Dussera to you and your loved ones.

mayankpandey said...

@Zephyr - Happy Dussera. I am well a festival behind in blogs. Thanks again. Tints - i think you mean the Out of focus lights (right). Yes they are great visual components and give pleasing view to shots. 

mayankpandey said...

@Thoma - thanks. Steve was ofcourse a special man. Innovation = Steve Jobs for this generation. You like first one! wow.. i was almost not posting it because it so cliched. :-)

mayankpandey said...

@Kaushal : Well said. Its a bit of awkwardness right now but i know i am gonna love this lens. Thanks for feedback. Yep finding devil in the crowd was fun. He turned around and asked me to oblige with a portrait immediately is the story I didnt put up.

thoma said...

oh God...saw your twitter widget and came to know abt Steve...very saddening news...

i can't tell you how much i love that first shot...and all the rest in tow. kudos for a wonderful job in the splitting rain!!

Kaushal said...

Mayank this is what I mean by getting involved.  Very nice.  I absolutely love the fourth image and even the last one is interesting.  Patience always pays! ANd it seems like the new lens is working for you.  As you get used to your prime lens you will start to compose and frame in your mind before even lifting the camera to your eye which is a great power to hone.

Zephyr said...

A nice collection. Loved the shots of Ganapati being lifted in the air and the man in Gandhi cap doing Arti.  The tints give the pics a lot of depth.