Tourism, Accommodation and Historical Attractions in Durban, South Africa
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Dedicated to the god of healing, Muruga, the festival is held January to February and April to May each year. Devotees fast for two days and then pierce their cheeks with needles, walk on nailed sandals and pull wagons using hooks embedded in their backs.
Others carry a Kavadi - a wooden structure balanced on their shoulders. These structures are then thrown into the Umgeni River as a sacrifice. The devotees then walk across a 30ft bed of glowing coals.
In celebration of the goddess Draupadi, this festival is held either in April or May and is a Tamil festival. It is held over 18 days and culminates in a ten metre walk over glowing coals. It can be seen at the Bellair Road Temple.
Mariamman (Porridge Festival)
The festival takes place over ten days during July and August. The goddess Mariamman is both the cause and the cure of infectious diseases.
A Decorated image of the goddess is placed outside her temples and offerings of porridge, goat's blood, coconut and pumpkin are brought to her. The best temple is that at Isipingo Rail.
Diwali (The Festival of Lights)
This three day festival is held in November and is observed by all sections of the Hindu community. It is celebrated by fireworks and the placing of dozens of small lights around the houses.
Ratha Yatra (The Festival of Chariots)
Hare Krishna devotees pull a huge red chariot along the beachfront in late December. It stops near the Amphitheatre where there is free food, dancing and exhibitions.
July/August: when sisters tie decorated cords onto the right wrists of their brothers to ward off evil.
Associated with the great serpent. Effigies of snakes are bathed in milk and offerings are placed in front of cobra holes.
Pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain
The festival takes place on the first Sunday of the New Year and takes the form of a procession from Ebuhleni 60kms to Ndwedwe.
The devotees are clad in white, barefoot, men carrying the Ark of the Covenant first, followed by more men, followed by maidens and finally by wives and mothers
The holy mountain of Nhlongakazi is reached on the second day at the foot of which the pilgrims rest, waiting for Shembe's word. They then climb the mountain and hold a service next to a great cairn after which each pilgrim deposits a stone.