2012-02 Sita Ram: Barhabigha

Pictures can only describe one aspect of the atmosphere of a place. The festival on Barhabigha really reflects something of the inner nature of life here in Janakpur – how everything revolves around the cultural cycle  – much more than it does or even potentially ever did in the west. The next festival is always around the bend and religiosity or at least spirituality and mysticism is a fundamental part of existence for most people here. The chanting on Barhabigha was continuous, day and night with the constant refrain of Sita Ram in its plethora of intonations. With the office so directly opposed near the site I must admit that the constant intrusion was more than a little vexing at times. Some of the musical interpretations were to my ears rather abhorrent and the distraction whilst trying to work was at times unbearable. There we many times however that I was struck by the deep beauty of the incantations and on this occasion, cycling past I was caught by a primal tingle in my spine – the kind that purest forms of music seems to strike in me – certain lilts in pieces that seem to cause almost a welt on the consciousness – disarming and profound at the same time. This was one of those moments and – after I had collected myself I took my camera and captured some rather shakey footage of the mist ridden scene that morning. Now the festival is over and the hiatus of music is held until tomorrow when the next celebration begins….

Turn the volume up and try to imagine being here with this noise permeating across the entire city – hopefully it will give some paltry rendition of what it has been like to live here these past days.

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One thought on “2012-02 Sita Ram: Barhabigha”

  1. I’ve heard about these morning mists but never experienced them. The place looks wonderfully eerie. Nor have I been around for the Sita Ram festival. The story of Sita seems to have so much bearing on the women in Dhanusha and has really informed my work on women’s mental health. It’s lovely to see recent pictures of the team. Do send my regards. Kelly

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