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Hindus in Trinidad bid adieu to Lord Ganesh

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Port-of-Spain: To mark the conclusion of the 10-day-long festival honoring Lord Ganesh, thousands of Hindus in Trinidad and Tobago converged at beaches and along river banks to immerse the idols. The immersion took place on Sunday following the worldwide observance of Ganesh Utsav which began on September 16.

The end of the celebration was preceded with special prayer sessions, satsangs and yajnas at over 400 temples and at private residences in the Caribbean nation.

Hindus had abstained from all forms of alcohol, meat and merriment for several weeks preceding this period.

According to Pundit Ramesh Tiwari, spiritual leader of the Edinburgh Hindu temple, Lord Ganesh is revered by devotees as the remover of all obstacles and the bestower of wisdom.

“The elephant-headed deity is known as the son of Goddess Parvati, the Consort of Lord Shiva. Hindu mythology claims that Lord Ganesh was created from the sweat of Parvati and as she prepared for the ritual bath she told Ganesh not to allow anyone to invade her privacy. Lord Shiva appeared and was refused entry which infuriated him and in anger he cut off Ganesh’s head, Later, an elephant’s head was transplanted in its place,” Tiwari narrated.

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Pundit Seereeram Maharaj, spiritual leader of the Caparo Shiva Kailash Mandir said: “In the midst of all this religious fervour, we must ensure that all idols are environment-friendly to help create a cleaner and healthier society.”

“This is an imperative which I am urging the thousands of devotees to comply with,” he added.

Hinduism was introduced here between 1845 and 1917 when over 148,000 East Indians were brought here from India, principally Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, to work on enhancing the agricultural capacity of the then colony’s economy, principally sugar and cocoa.

Out of a population of 1.3 million people in Trinidad and Tobago, 44 percent are East Indians but just about 25 percent are devout Hindus.

(Paras Ramoutar, IANS)

 

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Frenchman Trip Across Atlantic in Barrel Coming to an End

With no engine, sails or paddles, the unusual craft has relied on trade winds and currents to push Savin 4,800 kilometers from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean

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FILE - Jean-Jacques Savin works on the construction of a ship made from a barrel on Nov. 15, 2018, at the shipyard in Ares, France. VOA

A Frenchman who has spent 113 days floating across the Atlantic in a custom-made barrel says he is in high spirits as he approaches the end of his journey.

Earlier this week, Jean-Jacques Savin, 72, posted on his Facebook page that he was just 750 kilometers from the island of St. Martin. But he has traveled only 250 kilometers in the past week because of the lack of wind.

But he does not seem to mind. “There is no hurry, let’s leave time to time and now there are a series of favorable days coming to push me towards the South-West,” he wrote. With no engine, sails or paddles, the unusual craft has relied on trade winds and currents to push Savin 4,800 kilometers from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean.

Savin spent months building his bright orange, barrel-shaped capsule of resin-coated plywood that is strong enough to withstand battering waves and other stresses. The barrel is 3 meters long and 2.10 meters across, has a small galley area, and a mattress with straps to keep him from being tossed out of his bunk by rough seas.

frenchman, barrel, atlantic
Frenchman Jean-Jacques Savin posted on his Facebook page that he was just 750 kilometers from the island of St. Martin. He set sail for the Caribbean Dec. 26, leaving from El Hierro in Spain’s Canary Islands. VOA

Portholes on either side of the barrel and another looking into the water provide sunlight and a bit of entertainment. The unique craft also has a solar panel that generates energy for communications and GPS positioning.

As he drifts along, Savin is dropping markers in the ocean to help oceanographers study ocean currents. At the end of the journey, Savin himself will be studied by doctors for effects of solitude in close confinement.  He also posts regular updates, including GPS coordinates that track his journey,on a Facebook page.

ALSO READ: British-led Nekton Scientific Mission in Indian Ocean Reaches an End

He described his journey as a “crossing during which man isn’t captain of his ship, but a passenger of the ocean.”  Savin’s adventure, which will cost a little more than $65,000, was funded by French barrel makers and crowdfunding.

Savin hopes to end his journey on a French island, like Martinique or Guadeloupe. “That would be easier for the paperwork and for bringing the barrel back,” he told AFP. (VOA)