Monday, April 1, 2013

Winter Travels 2013 - Part 7: A Flower Market in Varanasi, India

Spring seems to be finally here for good, with the temperatures beginning to regularly hit double digits. Crocuses are blooming here and there and on Saturday I bought a couple of pale purple violas which are now literally sitting pretty on my outside windowsill, next to a young Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard' and a small Geranium maderense 'Guernsey White' which I brought back from my recent sojourn to San Francisco. Other than that, though, things are still pretty grey, and so I decided to post another burst of bright color from my trip in January. While staying in Varanasi we went to one of the city's flower markets, in part because one of the girls in our group was studying the grower-to-consumer-to-compost-heap distribution systems for flowers used in religious ceremonies in a pilgrimage center like this one.

Fabulously fragrant roses and jasmine

Piles of marigolds and white chrysanthemums beneath an image of a deity draped in garlands

Marigolds reign supreme

Some pink waterlilies and more marigolds

Foliage dear to various gods - bel leaves (Aegle marmelos) for Shiva and grass for Ganesha

The vast majority of flowers and other plant parts available at the market are destined for the sacred city's ritual life - flower garlands to drape images of gods and goddesses and decorate sacred spaces and auspicious occasions and specific flowers, leaves, and in some cases fruit to be given as part of offerings. However, there were also a few vendors who offered to make purely decorative arrangements more akin to the products of Western florists, albeit a tad bit gaudier.

1 comment:

  1. We do enjoy seeing photos of your travels, keep them coming!

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