Southern India day 13 – Narkasur!

17 Oct 2017. What a wonderful place. I woke up in time for a swim before breakfast. Derek was already up there, and Abbie was in the gym. Matt rested in bed. Then the spread for breakfast was amazing! Indian food, western food, and all kinds of things to order. We were in heaven.

After breakfast, we collected our laundry. After the past few days, all of us were completely out of clean clothes. We decided that the hotel prices were too high, so we researched other places. It was great, because the walk gave us the opportunity to walk past areas where groups were working on their Narkasur effigies.

The best explanation of this festival that I found is here: http://www.goaholidayhomes.com/information/narka-chaturdashi-celebrations-in-goa.html

If you don’t want to read it, basically, on the day before Diwali begins, which is the festival of lights, the demon Narkasur is defeated which brings the return of goodness and light. So throughout Goa, neighborhoods and clubs and other groups create effigies of Narkasur. On the last night before Diwali begins (it’s a several-day thing, although the main event for THAT is day 3), all the puppets are ready and people cruise around Panaji (the largest concentration of them) to see them. At dawn, they burn them in the streets. This is what I had found out about and what we were here to see. It turned out we’d just gotten lucky in our hotel shuffle. Our hotel was closest to all of them.

So we walked to the laundry. And found that its prices were as high as the hotel. Oh well. By now we were near Miramar Beach, so while Derek got a haircut, the rest of us wandered over to play in the surf. After he joined us, we walked up and down the beach along the water.

Finally, we headed back to the hotel along another route full of Narkasurs in progress. I don’t think we ever had lunch.

Back at the hotel there was another rest time. I think I may have gone up to the pool again. At 18:30 the hotel had a Narkasur/Diwali reception, with lots of snacks and an open bar. We enjoyed it immensely, then headed out to enjoy the party.

Derek didn’t enjoy all the techno so much, so he headed back early, while the rest of us danced from party to party around the neighborhood, talking with lots of people.

We went back for a rest around 01:00, so that we could wake up early and see the burning.

I’m going to add the morning here, rather than the next day. We left the hotel at 05:30 and had already missed some burnings. One of the biggest parties we’d been at the night before wasn’t planning on burning until the police forced them to, so we moved on.

We eventually found the one we’d watched get assembled in the first place. We were in time to see it entirely dismantled then burnt. It was fascinating! Derek left to go back to bed when it was finished, but the rest of us watched a few more.

Matt got interviewed.

Then we had breakfast, turned on the Do Not Disturb light outside our doors, and went to sleep. The staff were all very pleased we’d gone out to see the Narkasurs.

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