Sunday, August 4, 2013

Naked Sadhu

I was always fascinated by these naked sadhus of Kumbhmela. Their look and style is something I was in awe of. Have done some paintings inspired by them, but this photoshoot is something am really proud of. So here is my NAKED SADHU series.


A bit about the sadhu's and kumbhmela in the end for your reference.













In Hinduism, sādhu (skt साधु sādhu, "good; good man, holy man") denotes an ascetic, wandering monk. Although the vast majority of sādhus are yogīs, not all yogīs are sādhus. The sādhu is solely dedicated to achieving mokṣa (liberation), the fourth and final aśrama (stage of life), through meditation and contemplation of brahman. Sādhus often wear saffron-colored clothing, symbolizing their sanyāsa (renunciation).

Kumbh Mela, a mass-gathering of sadhus from all parts of India, takes place every three years at one of four points along sacred rivers in India, including the holy River Ganges. In 2007 it was held in Nasik, Maharashtra. Peter Owen-Jones filmed one episode of "Extreme Pilgrim" there during this event. It took place again in Haridwar in 2010. Sadhus of all sects join in this reunion. Millions of non-sadhu pilgrims also attend the festivals, and the Kumbh Mela is the largest gathering of human beings for a single religious purpose on the planet; the most recent Kumbh Mela started on 14 January 2013, at Allahabad. At the festival, sadhus are the "biggest crowd pullers", with many of them "completely naked with ash-smeared bodies, sprint into the chilly waters for a dip at the crack of dawn".


The lives of sadhus in contemporary India vary tremendously. Sadhus live in ashrams and temples in the midst of major urban centers, in huts on the edges of villages, in caves in the remote mountains. Others live lives of perpetual pilgrimage, moving without ceasing from one town, one holy place, to another. Some gurus live with one or two disciples; some ascetics are solitary, while others live in large, communal institutions. For some sadhus the brotherhood or sisterhood of ascetics is very important.

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