Thursday, May 21, 2015

Flower power

We've all seen the traditional pictures of an Indian bride with flowers strung in her hair on her wedding day, but today the class really learned how integral the flower is to the Bangalore economy, religious tradition, and heritage.
Flowers provide a metaphor for aspects of India I would never have guessed. The picture below is of a flower wholesale market in Bangalore where people bring their goods to sell, mostly in bulk. Flowers are picked at dawn, strung, and sold in the city.

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Most of the flowers are strung on strands to use at weddings, but they are also used for religious offerings, to adorn cars and houses during holidays, and for Hindu women to put in their hair before they enter a place of worship.

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Today we were told a story of a woman who was in love with one of the gods. She was very in love, but he didn't have time for her. She pined and pined and eventually died of a broken heart. Her ashes were strewn around the area and everywhere they landed, jasmine sprung up.

We went into a Vishnu temple with our jasmine hair garlands and learned about some different aspects of symbolism at play in the temple. We were not allowed to take photos inside, but this roof's layers (pictured below) represent the seven layers you need to get rid of to become your true self.

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Flowers really string the social aspects of Bangalore together.

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