Toronto area Hindus honour Ganesh during annual festival

Posted on August 8, 2010

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Perched atop an ornate custom-built chariot, the elephant-headed Hindu God Ganesh slowly circled his way around the Sri Varasiththi Vinaayagar Temple in Scarborough Saturday morning.

Thousands watched reverently as an idol representing the deity was pulled along outside the temple on two ropes by devoted followers during the annual Hindu Chariot Festival.

Temple officials say the chariot festival, now in its 11th year, is the most important of all annual festivities at Sri Varasiththi Vinaayagar and a significant event for members of the Sri Lankan Tamil Hindu community within Canada.

The chariot ceremony offers a chance for Ganesh to venture outside of the temple to bless the community.

To show their gratitude and respect, devotees make offerings to the multi-limbed god and perform rituals that involve rolling behind the chariot and piercing their skin with hooks to suspend themselves.

While Sri Varasiththi Vinaayagar Temple serves predominantly Sri Lankan and Indian Hindus living in the Scarborough area, all are welcome to attend the celebrations.

This year, as many as 20,000 people were estimated to have participated in the elaborate ceremony, which hosted a number of community leaders, prominent and distinguished citizens, and cultural groups in the Toronto area.

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/839865–toronto-area-hindus-honour-ganesh-during-annual-festival

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Posted in: World Hinduism