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The Shivratri festival



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Today was the Shivratri festival, an annual event in which people visit the temple dedicated to Shiva – one of the most important, ancient and complex deities that exists in the Indian pantheon. Try to imagine a deity who is both creative and destructive at the same time, who is Lord of yoga, sometimes sits meditating and at other times is Lord of immortality and dances on the back of death. A complex figure, right?

In Saidpur, where we stopped yesterday, we were accompanied to visit this festival and took part in the celebration. First, you take off your shoes. Then, with a copper container full of water and flower petals, you wait your turn to enter a small room where you pour the water on the oldest representation of Shiva – that of creation, which is the conjunction between the male reproductive organ and the female reproductive organ.

Now we have arrived in another small village, guests of a non-governmental organisation that deals with the restructuring of hundreds of schools in Uttar Pradesh. From the room assigned to me, I still hear the sound of the music and songs of the people participating in the festival. They have told me this will go on all night but, considering my tiredness, I will not take long to fall asleep.

Tonight we will have to sleep under the anti-mosquito net for the first time. In fact, a few hours ago we were informed of an outbreak of dengue fever.

alex bellini - festival shivratri - 10 Rivers 1 Ocean
alex bellini - festival shivratri - 10 Rivers 1 Ocean
alex bellini - villaggio - 10 Rivers 1 Ocean
alex bellini - gange - 10 Rivers 1 Ocean
photo credit: Mauro Talamonti