The area around La Chapelle metro, bordering the 10th and the 18th arrondissements, is a home to Paris’s Little India. Many of the restaurant and shop owners are technically Sri Lankan tamils, but if you miss South India in general (food, spices, smells, colors, etc.), this area will cure homesickness until your next trip. Last Sunday the feeling of South India/Sri Lanka intensified, as the neighborhood hosted the annual Hindu festival: the Ganesh Festival. It was our second time participating in the procession and even though we felt that the festival was maybe a little bit less spectacular this year, it still made our day. The temple’s website has excellent information about the Ganesh festival, available here: http://www.templeganesh.fr/fetegan.htm.
This year, the website mentioned that religious ceremonies begin at the temple at 9am. Around 11am the parade leaves the temple and circles around until 15h, before returning to the temple. We arrived in the neighborhood around 14h and still managed to get a good glimpse of the festival. Upon arrival at the temple, we asked the policemen where the parade is, and followed their directions.In the beginning part of the parade there was a van carrying a small Ganesh statue, followed by a much bigger Ganesh. Then came the flowers, colorful dresses, fires, dancers and players. If you print the itinerary in advance from the temple’s website, you can easily locate the parade and just stay fifteen minutes if you like.This festival will definitely introduce you to a very different Paris, while providing you with fantastic photo-shooting opportunities. I love the Ganesh festival and will return next year for sure.
PS In addition to printing out the map, do not forget three things:
1) Do your lentils and spices groceries at one of the multiple shops near La Chapelle metro station.
2) Visit the temple (http://www.templeganesh.fr/). Remove your shoes before entering and visit the temple clockwise.
3) Eat DELICIOUS South Indian thali at Saravanaa Bhavan (My love affair with Saravanaa Bhavan)