Here are a collection of photos from my visit to the state of Rajasthan in Northwestern India. It’s my favorite place to photograph in India. This makes up part 3. Hope you enjoy them.

rajasthan-pot-maker

This man and his family made pots that are to be sold in Rajasthan and neighboring states. Everything about being in the room with him while he was working was charming...the brightly fluorescent colored walls, the light on his face, the preciseness of his work, ...

Traditional Rajasthan lady

We stopped at the home of this Bishnoi family living out in the desert south of Jodhpur and the family invited us in to their mud home. The lady of the house, at my request just before leaving, agreed to pose for this photo. Rajasthani women take great pride in their appearance and are so very inspiring.

Camels in the desert Rajasthan

Saddling up the camels with brightly colored blankets in the Great Thar Desert.

colored-powder-india

Mounds of colored powder are on sale to make colorful bindis!

modern-rajasthan

Westernization of a culture. A camel trader, dressed from head to toe in a traditional Rajasthani outfit (including shoes) chats with a young man in full western attire.

 

Today’s photographic reflections of 2011.

rajasthan-children-village

This little girl looked neglected and bummed that her dad was more interested in gambling with his friends than playing with her. West Rajasthan, India.

dandapani-rajasthan-shoe-maker

The cobbler....was quite engaged in his phone conversation that I got right up to him to take this photo that he hardly noticed me

sri-lanka-hill-country

One of the highlights this year was riding the train from Kandy to Ella in the hill country of Sri Lanka. It was simply breathtaking.

mahoot-elephant-kerala

This mahout was hanging out with his elephant in a forest in the hill stations of Kerala. Most of us have dogs and/or cats but I think having an elephant must also be a lot of fun.

 

As the year comes to a conclusion I thought I’d share, over the remaining days, some of the photos that I took this year that stood out in my mind. Here’s the first set. Four photos taken during our most recent spiritual adventure to north India.

More photos to come tomorrow.

islamic-man-jama-masjid-india

Photographed in New Delhi at India's largest mosque, Jama Masjid.

old-rajasthan-woman

This photo was taken in the home of a weaver well outside of the village of Chandelao in West Rajasthan. Life's impressions on her face left an impression on my mind that age, indeed, prowls like a leopard and it is wise to take to the spiritual path early on.

young-girl-india-village

As I was walking, early one morning, along the narrow quiet lanes in the village of Khejarla the bright blue doors to a home suddenly opened and this young girl peered out. It's always nice to be greeted with a smile first thing in the morning.

smiling-village-girl-india

I took our group on an excursion one evening and after an hour of driving we arrived at an even smaller village than the one we were staying in. We were greeted by over 30 smiling, giggling and laughing children that kept running up to us and then running away. A good reminder to adults that it is ok to play. After all, my guru did say, life is meant to be lived joyously.

 

Happy Pancha Ganapati everyone!

Pancha Ganapati - ganesha in graffiti in Melbourne, Australia

We continue with our five-day celebration of Pancha Ganapati. Today, is the final day of the celebration, and Gurudeva shares from his book “Loving Ganesha”

DECEMBER 25, ORANGE
The family sadhana for the final day of Pancha Ganapati is to bring forth love and harmony within all three worlds. Because of sadhanas well performed during the first four days, the family is now more open and aware of Ganesha’s Grace, and their love for Him is now overflowing. On this day the entire family experiences an outpouring of love and tranquility from the great God Himself. His blessings fill the home and the hearts of everyone within it, inspiring them anew for the coming year. This exchange of affection between all members of the family and the Lord is invoked and perpetuated through the day by performing five special pujas. The first puja is at 6AM. Before the puja, personal offering trays are prepared and placed before His shrine. After the puja, each one gives verbal testimony about prayers that were answered during the past year. Hearing testimonies strengthens the faith of everyone. Then vows of sacrifice can be verbally made. Vows should improve the quality of the life of the individual, such as giving up smoking or correcting other harmful habits.

The second puja is at 9AM, and the third at 12 noon. The fourth puja is held at 3PM. At 6PM the fifth and final puja of the day is held. These five pujas to Pancha Ganapati solicit help from His devas in the home and establish the patterns for improvement in family life. The overflowing love that is felt today will inspire generosity in the year to come, bringing in return abundance and good fortune. All gifts received during the day are placed unopened before Pancha Ganapati.

The evening puja, held at six o’clock, is the long-awaited time. The five sadhanas have been completed. Peace, love and harmony among everyone have been restored. After the puja and before the great feast that follows, Lord Panchamukha Ganapati Himself gives His final darshana and prasada to one and all. Gifts are distributed and joyously opened. Happy children. Happy parents. Happy God.

 

We continue with our five-day celebration of Pancha Ganapati. Today, day 4 of the celebration, Gurudeva shares from his book “Loving Ganesha”

DECEMBER 24, GREEN
The sadhana of day four is to draw forth the vibration of joy and harmony that comes from music, art, drama and the dance. Family, relatives and friends gather for satsanga to share and enjoy their artistic gifts. When the program is over, all sit together before Pancha Ganapati, Patron of the Arts and Guardian of Culture, discussing Hindu Dharma and making plans to bring more cultural refinements into each household. More gifts are placed before Lord Ganapati.

A young girl prays to Ganesha in the city of Kathmandu, Nepal.

Photo: A young girl has just completed her morning prayers to Ganesha and apply sacred ash and flowers from the shrine on her head. Kathmandu, Nepal.

 

We continue with our five-day celebration of Pancha Ganapati. Today, day 3 of the celebration, Gurudeva shares from his book “Loving Ganesha”

DECEMBER 23, RED
The family sadhana for the third day is to create a vibration of love and harmony among business associates, the casual merchant and the public at large. This is the day for presenting gifts to merchants and customers and to honor employers and employees with gifts and appreciation. The sadhana today is the settling of all debts and disputes. Gifts received are placed unopened before the Deity.

A stone sculptor artists carves a statue of Ganesha in the seaside town of Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) in Tamil Nadu, South India

Photo: A stone sculptor artists carves a statue of Ganesha in the seaside town of Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) in Tamil Nadu, South India

 

We continue with our five-day celebration of Pancha Ganapati. Today, day 2 of the celebration, Gurudeva shares from his book “Loving Ganesha”

DECEMBER 22, BLUE
“The family sadhana (spiritual practice) for the second day of Pancha Ganapati is to create a vibration of love and harmony among neighbors, relatives and close friends and presenting them with heartfelt. The sadhana of the day is to offer apologies and clear up any misunderstandings that exist. Relatives and friends in far-off places are written to or called, forgiveness is sought, apologies made and tensions released. Gifts received are placed unopened before Pancha Ganapati.”

A local villager worships Lord Ganesha at shrine outside the protected temples of Khajuraho in India

A local villager worships Lord Ganesha at shrine outside the protected temples of Khajuraho in Northern India