Drama in the fjord.
Salutations to the Portly One and Festival Greetings to all!
The festival of Ganesha will be celebrated on Friday, August 29.
The story is told that the elephant-headed Ganesha and his brother Kartikeya, the god of war, were once locked in a dispute. To break the impasse they sought the counsel of their parents, the great God Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Lord Shiva proposed that the boys compete in a race of 3 laps around the universe. Kartikeya mounted his peacock and dashed out of sight, hoping to open up an early lead. Ganesha, on the other hand, was in no hurry. He walked over to Shiva and Parvati, went around them thrice and bowed, saying, “You, my dear parents, are the manifest universe. I have completed the race.”
This parable illuminates Ganesha’s character – loving, highly intelligent; a fount of wisdom. Immensely loved in India, he is acknowledged as a scholar nonpareil, music runs in his blood, and as his portly figure suggests, he is a confirmed foodie. It was Ganesha who transcribed the great Hindu epic Mahabharata in real time while the sage Vyasa dictated it.
Ties to Ganesha run deep in Hindu families where he is often viewed as a member of the household. He is invoked at the beginning of every new undertaking and his blessings sought at major events in life. Generations of students given to goofing off have been known to petition him for a lifeline just before writing their final exam.
The festival of Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated every year, and the festivities in western and southern India are especially intense.
My earlier posts on the Ganesha theme are at this link.
At the northern boundary of Death Valley National Park in California, the mountains of the Last Chance Range ring the towering Eureka Sand Dunes, the tallest dunes in the park. Another elusive system of dunes is located in the area, the appropriately labeled Hidden Dunes. Eureka Valley is reached via a long drive on a rough gravel route.
This is the next installment of Panjim Promenade, our series on the heritage of Panjim.
The concrete span across River Mandovi seen in the first two photos below is really two bridges. The original bridge, built in the 1970s, collapsed in 1986. The main reason for failure was determined to be “corrosion of the prestressed cable that attached the precast concrete segments to the piers.” (See this.) Shoddy workmanship, poor technical supervision and corrupt practices are the touchstone of Indian ‘engineering.’
A second bridge was constructed cheek by jowl and the original one restored later. Both are striking eyesores and boast third-rate build quality; other than that they are “majestic” (according to Wiki). Not one to rest on past laurels, the current Chief Minister of Goa, Manohar Parrikar, has pulled another rabbit out of his IIT
behind bonnet and commissioned a third bridge. After all, bridges and Indian politicians are natural bedfellows.
The first two images were taken from the roof of the Tourist Hostel building.
The old photos featured here are from the Central Library Archives in Panjim. The ferry was the main mode of transport across River Mandovi well into the 1970s.
In this image the Idalçao Palace (Adilshah Palace, which served as the Old Secretariat for almost three decades in post-Liberation Goa) is to the right of the frame. The arrow indicates the location of today’s Tourist Hostel from which rooftop the first two photos were taken.
Panjim in the 1980s, showing early signs of decay (i.e. the advent of ugly Indian concrete). The original Mandovi Bridge is seen. The arrow again points to the Tourist Hostel.
I shot a similar perspective from the second deck of the Doordarshan TV tower in Altinho (see final image below). It entailed going up a flight of rusty stairs inside the dank, dark tube and then praying that the platform on the deck would hold. Prayers and Indian ‘engineering’ always go together.
PS: Check out Ponte de Liñhares, built by the Portuguese in 1632.