I happened to be in Chennai, India last month when the Amman (Durga) Festival took place in temples all over. I caught the ceremony in a small temple in a local neighborhood.
It was a great event - lots of devotion showed by simple, often desperately poor people. My son and I had cameras and we were made to feel welcome all night. Great experience!
Kali Amman is a form of Parvati, the wife of Shiva and one of the premier goddesses that are worshipped.
The festival began with the idol of Amman carried around the neighborhood by the priest for all to see and get blessings from:
IMG_1743-Edit-2-3 by Scrumhalf, on Flickr
The idol is of Kali, a fearsome version of Parvati, who is this form is supposed to defeat demons and evil doers. Looks pretty fearsome:
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …/87114888@N07/9667831021/
IMG_1743-2 by Scrumhalf, on Flickr
Drumming is a major way for devotees to participate in the festival. Drumming took place all day and all night by various groups of drummers.
This guy accompanied the Kali Amman procession through the neighborhood:
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …/87114888@N07/9678393786/
IMG_1742-Edit-2 by Scrumhalf, on Flickr
These guys were one of the groups of drummers that drummed all night long. The lighting was terrible for photography.
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …/87114888@N07/9671059134/
IMG_1755 by Scrumhalf, on Flickr
The neighborhood kids were not used to seeing a photographer at their little neighborhood temple, so they were hamming it up for the camera!
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …/87114888@N07/9667830651/
IMG_1761 by Scrumhalf, on Flickr