Archive for October, 2009

Holiday Fair in Tiruvannamalai

October 31, 2009

Deepavali (Diwali) starts the winter holiday season in Tiruvannamalai. First is Deepavali in October, then Deepam in December, concluding with Pongal in January. During this festive season a fair is set up on the east side of Arunachala. Thousands of people, almost all Indians, with very few westerners, go to the fair each year. Families take their children, and groups of young men and also young women go to look through the shopping booths, eat, and ride the amusement rides. There are rides suited for young kids and ones for the more adventurous.

This started the week after Diwali. I am not sure how long it will be open. This was another chance to use my new tripod to shoot at night with just available light.

Setting up the Rides

During the days of Diwali, workers are setting up the rides and booths.

The man on this ride has seen me with the camera, and is waiving at me.

The ferris wheel stands ready for passengers.

Arunachala stand silently in the background.


Arunachala is also featured atop the entrance.


Women, bent over, sweeping the area around the entrance.

This ride looks interesting. I wonder what it does?


Here is the row of rides.


Men carry what looks like a boat out to assemble one of the rides.

Here is the ride I first saw from the other side of the wall. There is a compartment at the bottom.


I love how this looks, so ‘industrial’, with the massive steel legs forming a pyramid.


Going to the Fair

Arunachala is featured at the entrance.


After the main days of Deepavali have passed, the fair is open. The parking areas are filled with motorbikes and rickshaws.

We walk over and buy ticket, Rs 5 each.

People stream up the stairs into the fair.


Here is the ride below the pyramid of steel. We can’t walk there directly now. There is a wall now, and we have to walk the other way.



We must walk through a row of booths before we can get to the rides.



The booths are filled with people looking over the wares for sale.


What there are the most of is booths selling adornments for women, mainly bracelets for the arms are barrettes for the hair.


This booth sells colorful images.

You can buy the latest is shower heads, now only Rs 20 each.

A booth filled with treasures for the ladies.

“Lizard Reppellent” is featured in this booth. Not a product you would find in the USA.

Now here is a booth whose product I am familar with, Pop Corn. I buy a paper cone full, Rs 10.


Colorful masks line the wall. I think I see Mickey and Minnie Mouse. I wonder if they got a license from Disney?

This is a family we see walking on the inner path. Carol does a ‘fist bump’ game with the kids. They look for us each morning when we walk by. They are in the Deepavali post in their new clothes. Tonight they are all dressed up for the fair.

We get to the area with rides.


There is a nearby booth that sells giant Poppadams, more than a foot wide. This man is munching one down.


We see a dragon train rising ahead.

First we walk by another ride. This one features Donald Duck in the center. Again, I wonder if Disney knows?


People line up in a crush to board the Dragon.

A ride with small cars for the kiddies.


The Dragon Train passes by, a blur in the exposure needed for the light conditions.

The ride area with filled with many, many people.


Two happy women. I think they are mother and daughter, one in a saree, the other in a Punjabi suit.


Another kiddie ride, this one with motorbikes.


A food booth, with many people standing and getting something to eat.

Yum! (I wonder what it is they are eating?)

Back into the rides area. A merry-go-round is ahead to the left.


Here is a mad teacup ride, with a golden teapot at the center.

Close to us is a ride for the kids, a ‘boat’ suspended from a structure made from yellow steel rods. The boat swings back and forth. Here it is almost vertical, and we see all the kids and parents sitting in it.


I love what looks to be a giant machine on the other side of the people. This is really a composite of two rides, a big blue swing boat for adults and the ferris wheel.

Here is the kiddie swing, with the happy bird (goose?) in front.


The ride I first saw. Now I see the compartment, filled with people, swinging around.

Round and round.

The ferris wheel.


More kiddie rides.

Here is the big pyramid, with many people lining up to ride.


I see. The ride goes in a circle, and swings back and forth.


Back and forth.


The ferris wheel from another angle.

There was a group of Muslim girls that Carol interacted with. She was teaching them how to do a ‘fist bump’ routine. The routine she taught them ended with a ‘high five.’

The girls were so excited to interact with Carol. This was the first time we had talked with Muslim women wearing veils. What surprised me was just how similar they were to the other Tamil women and girls we have gotten to know.


Here are the three girls.


To leave, we had to walk back past all the rides, through the crowds.


Walking back, Carol was looking for barrettes.


The booth looks like a treasure chest to me, filled with sparkling baubles.

There are more barrettes here than we have seen anywhere.


One glance back through the booths as we leave.


We have a great time and certainly got our five rupees worth. Maybe we will go back again before it closes (after Deepam in December). Maybe we will try some food from a food booth. Maybe we will try a ride.


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