Phuket, southern island of Thailand, celebrated Hindu festival of Ganesh-Chaturthi with fanfare and the Governor Tri Augkaradacha participated, according to reports.
Complete with conch-blowing, fruits and flowers offerings, decorated Lord Ganesh statue and women dressed-up in saris; few hundred Hindus and others participated. A young elephant squirted people with water, reports suggest.
Hindu community leader Rajan Zed commended the Hindu community in Phuket for keeping the traditions alive and said that it was important to pass on Hindu spirituality, concepts and traditions to coming generations amidst so many distractions in the consumerist society.
He also applauded Governor Augkaradacha for patronizing a minority festival so that it felt included in the larger community.
Quoting scriptures, Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, suggested Phuket and worldwide Hindu community: conquer your passions and senses; meditate; keep your heart pure and full of love; seek higher knowledge; and realize Self which is deathless, source of all light and knows all.
Theravada Buddhism is national religion of Thailand and as with most of Thailand, majority of Phuket population is Buddhist, followed by significant number of Muslims. There are reportedly about 2000 Hindus on the island. Phuket’s Thalang National Museum reportedly has a Visnu statue.
This island, about 536 miles south of Bangkok, is about 31 miles long and 12 miles wide. It is known for Patong Beach, Laem Promthep sunset viewing point, Vegetarian Festival, and water sports; and is popular with snorkelers and scuba divers. Fortune magazine voted it as one of the World’s Top Five Retirement Destinations. Lonely Planet describes Phuket (poo-get) as: “Phuket is as colourful as it is cosmopolitan and one of the world’s most famous dream destinations”.
Popular festival of Ganesh-Chaturthi, which celebrates the birth of Lord Ganesh, is held on fourth day of the bright lunar fortnight of Bhadrapada, which may last for up to ten days.
One of most widely worshipped deities in Hinduism, elephant headed (with a broken tusk) and human bodied Lord Ganesh is regarded as god of wisdom and good luck, patron of learning and remover of obstacles, and invoked at the commencement of all undertakings. He is said to have equivalents in Buddhism and Jainism also. Business people and students present their books to Lord Ganesh to ensure good fortune.