I notice that there are a number of temples and shrines all along the road. They’ve been by the highway too, but here I could see them more clearly. Each was marked by a pair of flags by the road. Blue for Sheikh. Red often trimmed with shiny gold for Hindi (usually Krishna or Matha). Occasional green for Moslem. There were black flags in front of a large ornate temple. I couldn’t make out the figures. Vikrant told me that I was good luck on Saturday to give money to “this guy.” I asked again “whose temple?” He answered with what sounded like, I swear, “Sunny Day.” I suspect that god is one of the versions of Shiva with his crescent moon and trident.

The Dalai Lama’s folks paint all of their temples and monasteries yellow, the color of the Gulupa school of Tibetan Buddhism. All monks wear a dark red. The Gulupas wear a yellow vest under their shaws.

On the way back down there, everyone is orange. Every image of the monkey-god Hanuman is completely painted orange, Horses have orange splashed on them. People are dressed in orange. In Punjab, orange turbans abound. Children are wearing orange sashes and women are wearing orange saris. Some people have their hair dyed orange. It’s like an Irishman’s nightmare of a Protestant St. Pat’s with all green gone orange. Many of the orange people seem to be traveling. Some have orange flags. My driver just nods when I ask him and can’t explain or doesn’t quite get my questions or doesn’t understand why I would want to know or thinks I shouldn’t know.

Later in the airport, a guy tells me that this is the festival of Ganesh, the elephant god, who is much beloved all over India. Why no Ganesh is painted orange and why every Hanuman is, he can’t say.

One Response to “Colors of the Gods”
  1. Sri says:

    Paul:

    Glad to see you are having a good time. I suspect “Sunny day” is “Shani
    Deva” who is an integral part of the Navagraha and is asssociated with
    the planet Saturn. He is typically paid obeisance on Saturdays–Hindus
    believe that he has a good semblance of control over karma.

    As for the color issue on Hanuman Vs Ganesh, I guess it could be because
    orange monkeys are probably more ubiquitous than orange elephants (ha!).

    I took umbrage to your earlier post about being unable to get good coffee
    in India–that is certainly true in North India. Next time, when you
    visit with me, I’ll take you to the South and make sure that you have some
    of the best coffee that you would ever have had anywhere.

    Have a safe flight back home.

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