Tag Archives: Hindu temple

Carrying a Kavadi at the Ealing Durga Chariot Festival (Aug2017)

Carrying a Kavadi at the Chariot Festival (at Ealing Kanaga Durga Amman temple, London):

Mani profile Kavadi Dancee.jpg

A year ago I decided and made an offering to do this `Kavadi dance’ at this year’s Chariot street procession at the Ealing Durga Goddess temple in London. That divine offering / prayer was fulfilled on 13/8/17.

The day started with a 5am wake up in my tent… and we got to Ealing temple for the big annual chariot festival by 7.30am. The Kavadi procession (dancing with this ritual `mountain’ prop) began around 10am and we returned to the temple after street procession and dancing throughout ..by 4-5pm (culminating with a final dance inside temple).

Personal history: long ago when i was little..I did this with a tiny version of it around a local temple (Sanathy Murugan temple, near Jaffna, Sri Lanka) .. which started my ritual dancing and drumming..which has evolved into my shamanic trance drumming & dancing.. So it’s apt that I’ve come full circle. It’s been a divine privilege..

Next year I will be constructing my own `Kavadi’ ..and hope to do this in 2 different temples (Wimbledon Ganapathy temple, and Ealing Durga Temple again).

Many thanks to my mother Rani Navasothy for accompanying me, providing me with water etc during this 6+ hours of procession and keeping me `safe’ as I completed my promise.. (and in and out of mild dance-trance). Am also grateful to Varathan Uncle for bringing the Kavadi and helping me with initial set-up & preparations.

-Manivannan Navasothy


Photos :Ther – Chariot festival at Ganapathy Temple – Wimbledon (7Aug16)

I attended the Ther (annual chariot festival ) at Ganapathy temple yesterday with my mother, and met a few relatives and friends 🙂 Also managed to to Ganapathy mantra 1000+ times (counting on fingers ..without my chanting Rudraksha was a bit difficult at times.. as we’re all walking..and much was going on.. )

It was amazing, spiritual and absolutely festive as ever. This time around I was able to focus more on the different aspects (forever studying and decoding the intricate ritual aspects and their meanings.. much of it is not usually taught in schools..except to Brahmins who are training to be Hindu Priests).

So here are the tons of photos. You can see full explanations under each photo in my facebook album.. (it’s my intention to preserve the meanings, and share that with those interested).

Om Maha Ganapathy Nama!

Hindu Chariot Festival at Ganapathy Temple (Wimbledon)

Dear all,

there are many who honour and worship the Hindu Elephant-headed God Ganapathy (Ganesh). He is a remover of obstacles! In London, this time of the year, the Ganapathy temple conducts their annual festival..which culminates after many weeks of celebrations and special poojas, with the Chariot Festival (Ther).
I will be attending this, and walking with the deities with the large chariots ..along the side roads.. to gain full divine blessings of Lord Ganapathy.
You are most welcome to do so.. (even if it is only for part of the journey).



Buses will be diverted in that area.. Please check TFL website for updates.

Nearest Tube: Wimbledon (District line)..Then bus 200 goes closer to Effra Road. `Colliers wood’ and `south Wimbledon’ are also nearby tube stations (Northern line) ..from which you will need to either walk 30 mins..or take buses to get to Effra Road.

Temple Address:
125-133 Effra Road, Wimbledon, London SW19 8PU.

The Chariot Festival will begin at 8.30am in the morning,.and conclude around 1pm…Then deities will be taken inside temple..fore more prayers / poojas..

(I aim to be at the temple by 8am. On this occasion, I will NOT be waiting to collect / organise anyone…as following early morning shower/ purification and meditations, I will be observing silence and get to the temple asap..to begin worship).

a temple roll.jpg

As some are already aware, last year (2015) in Autumn, I began organising/ facilitating `Hindu Magic Rituals’ in outdoor venues…

There has been a little gap. With this Ganapathy festival, I will be re-starting a full set of Hindu Magic rituals.

I will of course be sharing these events also in my other meetup  `London Woodland Witches & outdoor Pagans’ .

Bright Blessings
-Mani Navasothy


Omam – A Hindu Temple Fire Ritual in Ganapathy Temple (Wimbledon) for Goddess Durga

Back in Autumn ..last year, when life was being pretty difficult.. I was visiting a local Hindu Temple (Shree Ganapathy Temple in Wimbledon, SW London)…  for some peace and inner balance. And I found out they were about to do a special `Pooja’ (ritual)..  called an `Omam’..   where many Hindu Priests gather and create a sacred ritual fire…and make offerings to deities..  They use the fire as a medium… to take our offerings and pass it to the gods, as well as taking our prayers and wishes…and passing them on to the deities too.  (The Hindu Fire deity is a male god called `Agni’).

This particular one took place in the middle of the 9-Nights of the Goddess (Navarathri), so was particularly auspicious.

In my childhood days, my uncle Raveenthiran & Aunt Ratna used to take me to many Temple rituals..    (I call them Periyappa & Periyamma.. meaning Elder-Father & Elder-Mother)..and I had seen many of these special rituals..   But this was the first time I had the inclination and fortune to have done one on my own initiative (with my own partner April participating with me in the temple).

The ritual went longer than planned..  and took almost 5 hours..from set up to end!  And in all that time, a large indoor fire roared…billing away huge amount of smoke, fueled by some 50 different sacred herbs, food offerings, oils and incense!   All the while, the Hindu priests were chanting sacred names of Durga, and reciting stories of the deity’s many battles with various demons..!  And it is said that those who participate in such a ritual is not only fortunate and blessed,!

(Photos taken on my mobile phone.. !  Faces have been blurred for privacy reason)

For my part, I sat in semi-meditative state, watching, and doing personal magical work. The 4-5 hours was quite long enough to explore my mind, my life, it’s many trials and  use the energies of the Warrior Goddess Durga..  inwards…and dispel my own inner demons and any negative energies… !

Either for psychological reasons, religious, psychic or spiritual reasons, it seem to have worked.  Up until that day I had had suffered many a `psychic headaches’ and was constantly being affected by various energies. But after those 4-5 hours with Durga’s sacred healing fire..  I came out of that temple a new and cleaned man.

And even now…once in a while..  I have a bonfire in the garden..  and enact similar psychic work!

There is much power in Agni..  He burns but also cleanses..and purifies!

-Mani Navasothy

Note on Ganapathy Temple (Wimbledon) :  This temple began in 1981 (few years before I came to England), and was one fo the earliest temples in London. (converted from another building for purposes of Hindu Worship). It is dedicated (main shrine called Moolasthanam) to the hindu God Ganapathy (Ganesh, Pillayar) who is the elephant-headed god who removes obstacles.  I recall my uncle & aunt’s wedding taking place in this temple way back in 1985.  Several of my other extended relatives have had weddings here.  The temple address is 125-133 Effra Road, Wimbledon, London SW19 8PU, United Kingdom.


my blog on Navarathri- 9 nights of the Hindu Goddess 

Elephantom – Eco-Hero (Cartoon children’s book written by Mani Navasothy)

Sooran Por – `demon war’  Hindu festival

Ganapathy Temple Wimbledon 

Walking with Elephants – my temple experience

At Play. Scene from `Elephantom Origins’ (children’s book) (c) Mani Navasothy. 2012.

After writing my blog this morning on the birthday & mythology of  the Hindu (elephant headed) God Ganesh, I went to attend a training course – on interview techniques. Nothing I don’t know already (must write about that!) but this is one I had to attend. It was in Wimbledon.  So afterwards I tried going to the Ganesh temple. It was packed, and no parking space anywhere!

So I was driving back with disappointment, and memories of my own personal experiences came back to me – which I thought I’d share here, as part of the festive celebrations (in my own way). After all, a temple is where you make it, and Hindu Priests have been known in ancient times to build `inner temples’ meditatively – efforts that had taken them years. It is known that Hindu gods had favoured such inner temples. (another blog to write!)

Back to Elephants – one of the sacred animals in Hinduism – an eastern pagan religion.

The Ride on Elephant

My earliest memory of Elephants, like for most people, was at a Zoo, and it was back in Sri Lanka.  I do recall one occasion where my parents paid for me to go for a ride on a Zoo Elephant.  They are big creatures, and once you mount them, on one of those people-carrier basket things that can hold about 5-6 people at a time, it’s incredible – especially when the Elephant starts walking – away from any tall stands. It gentle wobbles of course and walks slowly. I don’t remember much more, but that is a precious experience to have had. These days people who visit 3rd world countries and nature reserves (africa?) can quite easily have one of these elephant rides. If you get a chance, do have a go. I mean, how often can one say he or she had a ride on the largest mammal on the planet? !

The Temple Elephant

My second Elephant experience was at a Temple – and it was with a Temple Elephant, back in Sri Lanka. It was a sacred special temple, one that my grandmother & family had to hire a coach and drive a day to get to – as part of a pilgrimage. I remember then getting to the booked accommodation (large room, where all of us slept ..with just sheets on the floor). The part that still stays in my mind is the bathing in the nearby river in the evening. It was expected, and there were no other facilities anyway. And straight afterwards, while still wet, we had to make our way up the mountain paths to the temple – for worship.

It was the temple in Kathirkama, where Priests do not speak. They have their mouths covered by a piece of cloth! There is a similar temple in Wales, UK that I have been to, where they do this.

Well, after the Pooja, I was guided to the area where the temple elephant resided. As was tradition,  I was `blessed by the Elephant’  (on the nudge of the Keeper, the Elephant places its  trunk in a blessing manner on my head!) I was a very young boy and what came next was even more previous now to remember. My relatives told me to circle around the Elephant and pray, and also walk under it. So I did – went in from one side, walked under the Elephant, came out the other side from it’s body!

I don’t think it ever occurred to me that if the beast had decided to move in haste or upset, or anything of the sort, I would have been splatted in a second! At the time, I was focused on it as a spiritual experience- and still do.