We had our new car delivered late on Friday. This was after many days of attempting to get $$ wired from our US bank account to our new Indian Bank account... but that's another story.
After much investigation, comparison shopping and a few test drives we settled on the Maruti-Suzuki "DZire." We really wanted to purchase an Indian brand so we are glad that this worked out. It is a nice little 4-door sedan. The car is brand new, and was delivered with only 24 Km on the odometer. The DZire has a quiet, comfortable ride for such a small car.
The first order of business when you buy a new car here is to have the vehicle blessed. There is a convenient Temple in Sector 18 that is essentially a drive-up Temple, designed with this purpose in mind. First you purchase a tray of items to be used in the blessing ceremony. These include a coconut (for good luck), marigolds, incense, matches, sweets, a red ceremonial scarf (which is ultimately tied around the rear view mirror), and special oils.
The priest then conducts a series of chants and prayers using all of the aforementioned items. This is done over the hood of the car and from the driver's seat (including a ceremonial toot of the horn as a part of the ritual.). He included us in the prayers by placing red and white strings around our wrists (Lesa, Evan, myself and our new driver, Kirti were present for the blessing). He also placed a red "third eye" on each of our foreheads. The ceremony ends with the smashing of a coconut for good luck. Our priest seemed to enjoy doing the blessing for us. So much so, he gave us a tour of the Temple insisting, of course, that we photograph him in front of each deity's display - probably a dozen or more figures of gods including Kali, Vishnu and Ganesha (some of our favorites).