Durga Pujo in Muscat: A Photo Essay

Shubho Nobomi. A very vital aspect of Hindu middle class migrant life in the Gulf is the temple run on festival days. The best saree, an opportunity to express an ethnic identity in a foreign land, even if one is raised here has a celebratory feel, as if one is clutching on to something fluid.

So this Navratri/Durga Pujo, on the final day at the last hour I managed to visit the Pujo and the Garba for a brief while, to the oldest Hindu Temple in the GCC in old Masqat next door to a community Masjid , and the more contemporary Shri Krishna Temple in Ruwi, lodged next to a flourishing Church Complex. Oman with its multicultural character, is endearing as the Hindu Bania’s arrived here almost two centuries back. We often forget that Sindh and Kutch in British India were not too Far East of Masqat, as it was in the Trading neighbourhood of the Arabian Sea/Sea of Oman and the Western Indian Ocean.

The Bongs were arranging a Dhunuchi Naach Competition, while a stream of the faithful were passing by with pranams, and the Bong association pandas were rushing the outsiders, as the focus was on the insular activities of a cultural club rather than larger Hindu fraternity. Not a single iota of a handout was present typical of a Gulf Bong. The Gujaratis in the Garba at the Krishna Temple were more amiable. Teenagers and their older kin were in the best attire. Oman is special and inclusive, and such days are testament to its ethos.

#migrantscholars #weekendhistorian #experienceoman

@ Shree Krishna Temple, Muscat, Oman

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