Year 2009. I was in a business trip of that November to Pune, India. I knew about the celebrations of the rituals related to this particular holy Hinduism calendar and I wanted badly to stop at a place where this would happen. I inquiry with the driver appointed by the company and he said; tomorrow is the best and most important day of the whole celebration length. I checked my duties at the factory and nothing would happen before 10:00am. Knowing that the best of the rituals would happen before and during the sunset we agreed we should leave the hotel at 5:30am. I grabbed the breakfast kit the hotel has prepared for such early bird and left to the parking located behind the garden where the driver was waiting, on time! We arrived in the temple premises at 6:30. It was a great day for photography. After inquired if I could take photos I was said that it was no problem provided that I wouldn’t interfere with the rituals and their practices. The rest was common sense such as; respect.
Diwali, popularly known as festival of lights, is a celebration with deep spiritual meaning for Hindus. Hinduism believes there is something infinite beyond the physical body and mind with an eternal purity. Diwali, then, represents the celebration of the inner light and is decided by the lunar calendar. During the 5 days it last, believers light oil candles handled in different forms and bathe in sacred rivers before sunrise and then rub scented oil in their body before putting on, many times, brand new clothes. As part of the ritual too, families visit temples where they offer prayers to their God* and then everyone feasts with a special Diwali preparation consisting mainly of sweets.
I manage to keep my distance to shoot the photos. Among the many I took, this photo is my choice to illustrate the moment and the purpose of the day. She just bathed, rub herself in scented oil, light-up an oily lamp on the ground and barefoot walked to the temple in such a grace that she seems carried in a pillow of clouds. This photo made my plenitude.
* It can be very confusing for an outsider, like me, because there are thousand of Gods in Hinduism. In these circumstances we can have the impression that Hinduism affirms many deities. But Hindus are more monistic (believing there is only one God) than they are polytheistic (believing there are many gods).