Colours, devotion and vale karaththa

I wanted something exciting today. As always took the bus to class. Was surprised to see that it was bit crowded and most of the passengers were colourful dressed. Eagerly chatting about some event they were having, I thought. Two reasons that I was unable to make out what the whole thing was about. One, they were talking in Tamil and two, I was fascinated by my newly purchased handset and ears plugged in.

On my way back. Carefully got into a bus where there were plenty of places to sit. Lazy person I am. Needed to sit and watch the glimpse of blue, green ocean that pass by on the way to Bambalapitiya and Dehiwala.

Well what do you know it was a special day for Hindus. All dressed up quite festive waiting for the procession. This is a unique procession that I have had seen only once in my life. When I was a kid, had to go to school for some reason on a Sunday and I still remember how we peeped through a tiny opening from the school gate. That’s history but today was gifted. With a live close up of the whole thing.

The procession named if I am not mistaken with my spellings, “Vale Karaththa”. Those days they used actual bullock carts which we call Karaththa in Sinhalese. But I am not too sure what Vale is as its a Tamil word. Nowadays the procession is consist of Trucks from which devotees are hung. The devotees are hung using ropes and metal hooks piercing their bare skin. Its not pain that is in their faces but love and respect to their gods. Looks very fearsome but for the devotees this is a scarifies to their gods and they do it with all due respect.

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For their gods

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And few places the hung devotees were swung by those who were in foot. All the while chanting “haro Hara” . Something equivalent to Hallelujah in English.

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And some of them were seated in a pole and again hung by metal hooks.

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Less younger, may be armature devotees were walking in bare foot. But with hooks piercing the skin.

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And then again there was music.

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There was dance. Its a special form of dance, called “kawadi ( Not too sure about the spellings though). With colourful and fully decorated props, people were dancing on the streets. This is a dance devoted for the gods and it was told that some of them dance being possessed by gods.

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And then there was smiles all over the place.

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    And this is a special photo where the kids were shouting at me. “akki ganna ganna photo ganna” (transplation – (elder) sister please do take a photo) And yes they did speak in Sinhalese.

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It was unaccepted. Thought it was another Sunday afternoon for me. Where nothing out of the ordinary. This was never planned. A surprise. My apologies that the photos are from the same angle. But I was inside a bus which was moving slowly. And practically I had to get in to the foot-board to take these photos. One hand holding tightly a pole and the other hand my phone. And no I didn’t tell my parents about this yet :D. Its something that I have never done. But the mere excitement just gave me the boost.

All photos were taken from my Nokia 5610 Music xpress, 3.2 mega pixel camera. In day light. But with lot of colours.

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8 thoughts on “Colours, devotion and vale karaththa

  1. Wow nice pics…. It’s a long time since I saw a Vale Perahera. nice post Ran … The places that peoples faith takes them are both weird and wonderful. A cultural melting pot is so great

  2. I was there. :)

    Was on my way to meet a friend and passed the place. My friend is a photographer. He was waiting for me somewhere there and wanted to stop by and take pics.

    Where were you?

  3. @ Dili faith faith hmm does make you do things unimaginable :D

    @ papare boy – Ah you were..? I was inside a bus.. busily taking photos.. didn’t you see a girl nearly falling out from a bus :D.. on my way back from classes at around 1 or 2…

  4. kool. You’ve captured them so well. Well I was passing them too around that time. And some women who were inside my bus, covered their faces with hands saying “aiyooo” . he he…
    I barely managed to watch the scene without laughing :)

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