The Color of Faith 信仰的颜色

April 6, 2018 2018年4月6日



In India, Somvati Amavasya is an event that typically happens two or three times every year. It refers to the appearance of a new moon on a Monday, and on every Somvati Amavasya, over 700,000 devotees travel from different corners of India’s Maharashtra state to the small village of Jejuri for the Bhandara Festival, a holy day dedicated to Lord Khandoba, who is believed to be a manifestation of Lord Shiva. In the day-long celebration, turmeric powder is flung around, covering the Khandoba Temple and legions of devotees in rich hues of yellow. The turmeric represents gold, which symbolizes the wealth and riches that they hope Lord Khandoba bestows them with.

在印度,新月节(Somvati Amavasaya)是指在星期一出现新月的现象。这种现象每年通常都会出现两到三次。在新月节这一天,会有超过 70 万信徒从印度的马哈拉施特拉邦(Maharashtra state)各地出发,前往一个名为杰久里的小村庄,一起庆祝班达拉节,一个致献湿婆的化身勘都巴神(Lord Khandoba)的节日。


At the extravagant celebration, the importance of Lord Khandoba to Maharashtrian communities around the country is put on full display. All of the devotees who arrive in Jejuri on this day have made the pilgrimage to let Lord Khandoba know that they believe in his powers and in the miracles that he brings to their lives.

“I could never build my house right, there stood many issues every single time I tried,” says Keshav, a 35-year-old man who has come from the nearby village of Valanj to celebrate the festival with his wife and twin daughters. “Once it rained heavily, and another time the cement sacks were stolen. Then I came to Jejuri one morning and prayed until the sun went down behind the temple. Within the next three months, I had built a house of my own in the village.”


“我一直都没办法建好我的房子,每一次我想要动工,总是会有各种问题出现。”35 岁的 Keshav 说道。他带着妻子和双胞胎女儿从附近的 Valanj 村庄特地过来庆祝的。“有一次是因为下大雨,还有一次几袋水泥被偷了。然后一天早上,我来到杰久里祈祷,一直到太阳下山后。之后的三个月里,我终于在村里建好了自己的房子。”

One of the more peculiar traditions that can be witnessed at the festival is a ritual of self-punishment. Devotees can be seen whipping themselves with a thick rope, believing that by doing so, they can free themselves from the clutches of their past sins. Those that engage in this practice also see it as a way of paying ultimate reverence to Lord Khandoba.


The highlight of the festival is the ferrying of the palki to a nearby river to be bathed. The palki is a chariot-like vehicle that houses the deity, and when it’s brought out of the temple, there’s an immediately noticeable shift in atmosphere. This is when the euphoria of the celebration reaches its peak. People can be seen tearing up at the mere sight of the palki; other devotees are bellowing out holy chants of “Yelkot Yelkot Jai Malhar” at the top of their lungs as a show of devotion; and around the actual palki, swarms of devotees are fighting for a chance to touch the palki.

“Every year we see a rise in the number of people who come to Jejuri on this day,” says Asha, a woman in her late 50s and a festival attendee for the last 40 years. “They paint the village golden with their untouched faith in Khandoba, and in a matter of hours, you see Jejuri turn into shimmering gold. Back in the 90s, my son once got a chance to be one of those to carry the palki to the river. That was the happiest time of my life.”

节日的亮点是运送“Palki”到附近的河流中去沐浴。这种双轮战车般的车辆,上面摆放神像,当它一出寺庙大门时,周围的气氛瞬间就变了。这是庆典的高潮之处:人们一看到 Palki 就开始热泪盈眶,一些信徒者放声歌唱圣歌《Yelkot Yelkot Malhar》,以示内心的虔诚;在 Palki 的四周,成群的信徒争先恐后地要摸一摸 Palki,以期带来好运。

“每年到杰久里参加这个节日的人越来越多。”一位50多岁女士说道,她在过去 40 年一直都有参加这个节日。“他们出于内心对勘都巴神纯粹的信仰,将整个村子粉饰成金色一片,短短数小时内,你就能看到杰久里变成闪闪发光的金色。90 年代的时候,我儿子曾经有机会成为那些运送 Palki 到河边的人之一。那是我一生中最快乐的时光。”

The festival is a stunning experience not only for the devotees but for anyone attending. Even if you’re not of the faith, it’s a breathtaking feeling to be immersed in the celebratory energy and feel the connection that these revelers share with their god. If you want to experience the celebrations yourself, the next Bhandara Festival will be taking place this month on April 16th.

不论是对于信徒,或是任何参加这个节日庆典的人来说,这都是一次令人心潮澎湃的体验。即使你不是信徒,沉浸在欢庆的能量中,感受到这些狂欢者与他们的神之间的联系,也是一种令人惊叹的体验。今年的班达拉节将于 4 月 16 日举行,你也可以亲自前往,体验当地的节日狂欢。

Contributor, Photographer, and Videographer: Omkar Phatak

供稿人,图片摄影师与视频摄影师: Omkar Phatak