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‘Puja’ at mud volcano

OFFERINGS TO MA DURGA: These Hindu women gather at the foot of the mud volcano as they make offerings to Ma Durga, the Hindu deity said to reside in the earth

Story: Villagers who live on the perimeter of the mud volcano at Colombia Estate, Fullerton Village, said that for the past few days, hot mud has been flowing constantly as the earth trembles near the volcano. The mud volcano is usually dormant. Scattered about the plateau are mounds of other smaller cones which spewed hot mud every few minutes. Villagers said that when there is a steady overflow, the volcanic mud seeped into their backyard gardens. Situated approximately four miles into a heavily forested area, the volcano’s recent activities have left villagers fearing a major eruption. To allay these fears, they went to the site and together with a pundit, offered prayers and even threw flowers and fruits in a solemn act of “feeding the monster within the bowels of the earth’s crust”. Devotees said they performed the puja (prayer) at the mouth of the volcano in the hope that the “devil” in the earth’s crust will not explode. The mud volcano is among some 20 dormant ones in south Trinidad. There has never been an eruption of the Colombia Estate volcano in recorded history. The only such eruption of a mud volcano was at the Piparo mud volcano and this occurred in 1996. It destroyed 15 homes.
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