India: Devotion 8

ABOUT THIS PHOTO: So, the majority of the photos I’ve posted today were taken in Varanasi. The reason is simple: as a site of pilgrimage for all denominations of Hinduism, for Buddhists from around the world, and also for Jains (who I haven’t even mentioned before), there’s a real confluence of religious ideas, symbols and devotees swirling around here– literally pressing right up against you.

Our guide, Davesh, a Varanasi native with a masters degree in Indian History, Architecture and Religion (I think I’m getting his list right), was always very careful and specific and respectful when explaining to us about the various religious customs and imagery we were seeing. He would tell us about the customs surrounding the cremations at the ghats, the history and origins of the Buddhist temple at Sarnath, all about the various Holy men, priests, pilgrims and Sadhu we met along the way.

When we spotted this silver man eating food donated by a Hindu religious organization, sitting on the steps of the ghat– we asked Davesh, expecting to hear about how the silver paint represents a god, or his self-sacrifice… or something.

Instead, Davesh took one look, shook his head and said “I’ve never seen that before. I think he’s just crazy. And he should go wash that silver paint off– it’s going to make him sick.”

WHAT AM I DOING TODAY, AN EXPLANATION; I’m using the next few Sundays to showcase the last of my favorite photos from our recent trip to London and India. Just like last Sunday’s eight-photo series “Colors”, this will be an eight-photo series called “India: Devotion.”

The series began at midnight and runs through 11.59 pm today. This is the last photo of the day.

For previous photos, please check the archives.

SO WHAT IS THIS SERIES ABOUT?: All throughout India you encounter people who have devoted their lives to their religion; Pilgrims…Priests… Teachers… Sahdu — or just devout believers.

Religion is such a part of life, or so it seems to the casual passerby, to be such a part of daily existence as to be inseparable from it. It’s especially obvious in places of special religious meaning, such as Varanasi, Mysore, Sarnath, and many others. Today, I’m trying to show a little bit of the various kinds of devotion we experienced on our trip.


2 comments on “India: Devotion 8”

  1. LOL! I like the way the cow is staring at him like he is crazy. I’ve enjoyed these pictures a great deal!

  2. In some ways, this is my favorite one. It says a lot about Varanasi, in some ways. It attracts both the devout, the curious and the off the wall. And everyone there is very much okay with that. Or, at least seemed to be…

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