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Sharing my experiences of this beautiful world that we live in through photography. And some geeky tech photo stuff.

Portraits of Sadhus, holy men of the Kumbh Mela

February 2, 2013  -  Festivals, Monks & Priests

As I get ready to leave for the Kumbh Mela festival later tonight I felt inspired to share portraits of some sadhus I had photographed over the years. Sadhus, Hindu holy men, are a big part of the Kumbh Mela festival. Thousands come out of seclusion to bathe in the confluence of the holy Ganges and Yamuna rivers in the town of Allahabad in northern India. I’m eager to photograph as much as I am to pilgrimage to this sacred event.

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A sadhu smears ash all over his body and face under the evening sun.

A sadhu smears ash all over his body and face under the evening sun.

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Thaipusam Festival at Batu Caves, Malaysia

January 31, 2013  -  Festivals

On January 27th the annual Thaipusam festival took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Each year over a million Hindus gather at Batu Caves on the outskirts of the country’s capital city. It’s a Hindu festival dedicated to the deity Muruga and is held once a year during the Tamil month of Thai. Hindus of all ages pilgrimage here from around the country and overseas to offer their love to Muruga. Some perform tapas (penance). The performance of tapas helps to develop willpower and remold the subconscious allowing for the superconscious to flow through. Some of the form of penance involves various forms of piercing the body.

Here are some images from the Thaipusam festival I attended last year at Batu Caves, Malaysia.

A devotees takes a shower before beginning his journey up the stairs at  Batu Caves.

A devotees takes a shower before beginning his journey up the stairs at Batu Caves.

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Men and women of all ages come to offer their love to the Hindu deity Muruga.

Men and women of all ages come to offer their love to the Hindu deity Muruga.

Some devotees perform penance by piercing themselves. Miraculously there is no sign of blood or marks of the piercing.

Some devotees perform penance by piercing themselves. Miraculously there is no sign of blood or marks of the piercing.

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Can Women be Monks?

January 21, 2013  -  Monks & Priests, Women

It is a question I get asked quite often and the answer, at least in the Hindu religion, is Yes! And if you want to be pedantic then they would more appropriately be called nuns.

In Hinduism men and women can attain the same heights of spiritual awakening. It is taught that God is equally present in all. Women tend to naturally gravitate towards the householder path hence you see more men as monastics as oppose to women. However, throughout time there have been many women monastics in Hinduism who have been greatly respected by Hindus all over the world.

At the Kumbh Mela festival in Hardwar that I attended in January 2010 there were a small contingent of nuns. Some were in the role of gurus, spiritual leaders with small to large groups of disciples and then there were a few women ascetics who appeared to be more reclusive.

Here are some images that I took at the Kumbh Mela of these Hindu nuns – gurus and anchorites, a small photographic insight into the world of women and the monastic path.

Women monks in Hinduism at the Kumbha Mela in Hardwar

Women monks in Hinduism at the Kumbha Mela in Hardwar

Women monks in Hinduism at the Kumbha Mela in Hardwar

Women monks in Hinduism at the Kumbha Mela in Hardwar

Women monks in Hinduism at the Kumbha Mela in Hardwar

Women monks in Hinduism at the Kumbha Mela in Hardwar

Women monks in Hinduism at the Kumbha Mela in Hardwar

Women monks in Hinduism at the Kumbha Mela in Hardwar

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