Colorful clay gods are used in some religious ceremonies in homes in India. A Pooja or prayer ceremony is done on Diwali (Hindu Christmas when the God Ram came home after conquering evil Ravana in Ceylon).
It is not auspicious to retain these clay gods and after the ceremony they are bade goodbye and consigned to rivers or seas. In suburbia and villages away from any flowing water, a Peepal tree(Ficus Religiosa) becomes the official receiver of such forsaken and broken clay figures which too are not kept at home.
The red thread around the tree marks the tree as being sacred and anointed. The same red thread is tied around wrists to mark your presence at a religious yagya, an offering of incense, spices, clarified butter (ghee)rice and nuts on a small container of burning wood. Yagyas with the right mantras can turn the tides of time and fortunes. Yagyas can cause clouds to appear and deliver rain during times of drought. Yagyas are the highest kind of offering to the pantheon of Hindu Gods who are as real to Indians as their own family members.
Also notice the red cloth with gold trimmings. This is a traditional offering to the all powerful goddesses including, Durga, Laxmi, Mansa and Kaali. People tie the red cloth with golden trimmings around their forehead as a badge of their visit to a holy shrine. The sight of the forehead cloth elicits cries of ‘Jai mataa dee’ from passers by who sing praises to Mataa or mother in the form of Kaali, Laxmi, Durga, Santoshi or Mansa.