Cochin has been home to myriad communities from all over the country. There are the konkani-speaking Gowda Saraswad Brahmins from Goa and elsewhere, who took refuge here from Portuguese religious persecution. There are Gujaratis. There are the Kutchi Muslims hailing from the Kutch region of Gujarat. These communities are perhaps the oldest settlers from other parts of India, and their traditional occupation is trade. After Independence, the sleepy town of Cochin slowly developed into a bustling port city of commercial importance, and other communities found their niche here. I have in earlier posts covered the festivals of the Bengalis and the Sikhs (see Durga Puja in Cochin and To the Gurdwara).
Another of the communities settled in Cochin, the Rajasthanis, took to the streets to celebrate the festival of their temple, the Ramdev temple, which is located on TD Road, not far from the main Gowda Saraswad temple in Cochin, Tirumala Devaswom, which lends its name to the road it stands on. It was the loud drums which told me something was brewing on the streets, and I rushed out with my camera to capture the spectacle. The photos follow. From talking to some of the turbaned ones, I learned that several had traveled all the way from Rajasthan for this festival. I asked them about their impressions of Kerala. They were fascinated by the abundance of water here. Their own state, Rajasthan, of course, is famously dry, home to camels and the Thar desert.
After the legs come the wheels.
And now the holy men with their distinctive clothes and head gear.
The kids convoy.
The welcome arch near the Ramdev temple.
Later that day, I met some of them in a mall.
At the venue of the bhajan (devotional songs) session in the evening.