Prayers for Kamala Harris at ancestral Indian village

Thulasendrapuram (India) (AFP) –


Villagers from the southern Indian ancestral home of US vice-president hopeful Kamala Harris prayed Tuesday for her victory in an election on the other side of the globe as polls opened.

Harris, 56, was born in California, but was often taken to India by her mother -- breast cancer specialist Shyamala Gopalan -- and has spoken about the positive influence of her grandfather.

Her maternal grandfather P.V. Gopalan, a senior Indian civil servant, was born in Thulasendrapuram village in Tamil Nadu state.

At the village's main temple Tuesday, some 60 locals offered prayers, bathed an idol of Dharma Sastha -- an avatar of Hindu god Ayyappan -- and served food as part of a ceremony.

On nearby streets and outside the temple, large posters featuring Harris had been erected.

"The entire village is rooting for her," villager Rajesh told AFP.

"We are hoping for her to win, which is why we are offering special prayers here."

"We are immensely proud that she is from this particular village," added Arulmozhi Sudhakar.

Harris is already a trailblazer as California's first Black attorney general and the first woman of South Asian heritage elected to the US Senate.