Christmas colours in the Himalayas

Christmas colours in the Himalayas

By way of introduction: these days in India there is a degree of frankly puzzling talk by some politicians about the evils of religious conversions. There seems to be a growing (& encouraged) religious polarisation like I have never seen in my 37 years of knowing this great country.

At some point I’ll write about the apparent fear politicians have of people being converted to other religions – an issue that, to my mind, is resolutely personal.

But for now, on the cusp of Christmas, I choose rather to celebrate what seems to me to be a lovely moment of Indian religious fusion.

We are up in the chilly hills of Uttarakhand for a few days, and every morning I have been running through the forest up to a local hill-top shrine. The shrine is tiny, and all locked up for the winter.

I remove my running shoes and wander round, alone, and at peace. Today I even had a local dog for company, which was sweet.

There are little bells tied to every available surface of the shrine, and even on the trees – I think people offer them to the temple.

Many years ago I had visited another temple in Uttarkhand, which was equally festooned with little bells, and was told that people ask the gods for a favour or a blessing, and when their wish is granted they offer a bell in thanks.

So I imagine it’s something similar here.

But what struck me today was that with the red and green decorations on the walls of the temple – totally Xmas colours – and all the bells and the tinsel, it looked very Christmassy indeed.

And this made me very happy.

Very happy indeed.

Very Indian-fusion-y-happy.

I’d like to think that whatever deity presides over this tiny hill-top temple, up in the Himalayas, was wishing us all a very happy and blessed Christmas.


  1. Rehana Fazli

    A beauty of an image, caught by your camera, no doubt, my friend.
    Have a very good Christmas, Christine, with family, while we enjoy our 45th wedding anniversary tomorrow, with Shehryar and his lovely fiancée, Beenisch

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.