Colors of the GodsPaul, · Categories: General, India and Tibetans
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.