Mystery and Awe: Navaratri Hindu Festival

Navaratri is a festival dedicated to the worship of the Hindu deity Durga. The word Navaratri means ‘nine nights’ in Sanskritnava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Devi are worshipped. (Wikipedia)

In Bangkok the Navaratri Hindu Festival is celebrated every year during the ninth month of the lunar calendar mainly around the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple on Silom Road.

The roads around the temple are closed, making space for thousands of worshippers to pray and make offerings alongside hundreds of makeshift altars and stalls with flowers, food and souvenirs.

Traditional dancers, music bands, fire-eating and body piercing performers entertain the worshippers and tourists.

At night the lights are dim and the atmosphere created by candles lights, incense smoke and ritual music conveys a sense of mystery and awe.

And there are dangers. As I ventured later in the night into the crowd during the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple’s grand procession, I was foolishly robbed while taking photos. Once inside the massive crowd there wasn’t any escape.

Taking photos in a crowded space and mostly in low light is challenging.

Hindu deity inside a Leo beer box

Festival preparations: Hindu deity doll inside a Leo beer box

Navaratri Hindu Festival

Hindu Festival

Navaratri Hindu Festival

Hindu Festival

Navaratri festival dancers break

Navaratri festival dancers break

Navaratri Hindu Festival

Hindu deity

Rice and beans offerings

Rice and beans offerings

Navaratri Hindu devout

Worshipper in traditional clothes

Blessing ceremony

Blessing ceremony

Prayers and blessings

Prayers and blessings

Sri Maha Mariamman Temple procession

Sri Maha Mariamman Temple procession

The dancers parade

The dancers parade

Children music band

Children music band

The highlight of the day was to witness the cheeks piercing of a Hindu devout with a metal spear.

Hindu devout with her cheeks pierced with a spear

Hindu devout with her cheeks pierced with a spear

Be there and experience a touch of Indian culture in an unforgettable night of thrilling rituals and religious ceremonies at the Navaratri Hindu Festival in Bangkok.

When: during the ninth month of the lunar calendar (October)

Where: Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, Bangkok

 

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