Hindu Celebration Draws Many North Georgians

October 11, 2008

Author: John M. Willis

Source: Rome News-Tribune


The music hits your ears first, well before you enter the carpet showroom off Union Grove Road in rural Gordon County.

Once inside, several hundred men and women of all ages are dancing, clapping in time with the throbbing beat and moving in a counterclockwise circle around an altar on which pictures of the nine aspects of Durga, the universal mother, are displayed.

The women are dressed in traditional Indian saris, although some of the younger ones dance with cell phones in their hands or tucked into their waistbands. Most of the men wear slacks and shirts.

As the dancers move, the devotional music speeds up and the circle starts to move faster. As the dancing continues, some of the participants sit down in chairs along the showroom’s walls and are replaced by other dancers. Outside, young boys play games in the parking lot.

It seems an unlikely setting for the celebration of one of the most important festivals of the Hindu religion.

For nine nights worshippers from around North Georgia have been gathering just outside Calhoun to celebrate the Hindu festival of Navaratri — the nine divine nights.