Monday, 11 March 2013

Seeing The Sadhus At The Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela is a huge Hindu festival, 100 million pilgrims coming from all over India and all walks of life. Families, rich, poor, kids, elderly, everyone shows up. But who gets the press, the attention, all the iconic images? The sadhus.

For good reason. They're the holy men, the ones who have dedicated their lives to an ascetic existence in which their days are filled with spiritual teachings and religious guardianship. Or so the story goes. The more people you ask, the more stories you get about the true definition of sadhus.

One thing is certain, they make a good picture.

Here come the sadhus.

What do they do all day when not bathing? They hang out in tents, handlers around, tea brewing, ready to dispense blessings. Or maybe they're a little more of the "relaxation" style and all about smoking a little cannabis.

It can't all be bathing and religious devotion, sometimes you have to get out of the tent, stroll around and do a little shopping.

Or maybe you're looking to raise a little rupee. Strip a thorn bush, throw yourself in it, play some tunes and hope the money pours in. On the right, a formal portrait.

Another look at a typical tent scene, sadhu holding court for some visitors.

A portrait at a bathing area. Sadhus lining up for a meal at one of the many ashrams.

Various photographers jockeying for that iconic image of a sadhu, post-bathing, freshly covered in ash and holding his long hair in all its glory.

1 comment:

  1. Sort of reminds me of the Rainbow Gatherings in America. ;)