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Something for me — The Flower Market

November 26, 2009

Under the Howrah Bridge on the banks of the Hoogly is the Malik Ghat wholesale flower market.  Bill negotiated our way through the back streets of Kolkata to find it for me.

It was the holiday Raksha Bandham that means “bond of protection”.

Rakhi is basically a sacred thread of protection symbolizing the love and affection of a sister for her brother. The Rakhi festival also has a social significance because it underlines the notion that everybody should live in harmonious coexistence with each other.

On the day of the Rakhi festival, the sister ties the Rakhi on the wrist of her brother and both say a prayer to God for the well being of each other.  In return, brothers make a promise to take care of his sister under all circumstances.

We found a unique set of Hindu deities, Durga for Bill and Ganesha for me!  This shop had been in the same family for years.

Swings are adorned with flower garlands and erected on altars in August during festivals celebrating Krishna’s life.

We passed by shops selling orange clothes for Shiva pilgrims.

We were getting close to the Howrah Bridge–and the flower market.

At this wholesale market Kolkata’s shopkeepers go each day to stock up on fresh flowers brought in directly from the countryside.

The market is the supply point to all the flowers shops in Calcutta. Some merchants will collect the supplies here and wait in one big hall for the next ferry to take them to the other districts and states of India.  So many people depend on it for their livelihood.

Offering flowers is a must during Puja (the ritual paying homage to the Gods and Goddess). Every single flower offered to the deity gains a single value of blessing.

The trident symbol of Shiva were prominent.

If you offer a single Marigold flower during Puja, you can receive a blessing equivalent to 10 flowers. That’s because each Marigold flower contains more than 10 single complete flowers in itself!   These strings of Marigold are used for decorating the temple, garlanding the God/Goddess at home or in the temple, and blessing a marriage hall or home.  The marigold strings also bless new places of business, shops, cars, buses, even bicycles.  Family members put marigold garlands around the photos of their beloved dead.

Too soon we left my flower market and were back on the street.

My India is also great.

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