The Kumbha Mela is, needless to say, a photographers paradise. For those of us who have never been to a Kumbha Mela or never will, it is these men and women that do their best to bring this experience to our doorstep by photographing this exhilarating festival, if it is even possible at all to do so.

It’s not an easy task to say the least. Long hours on your feet, being shoved, pushed and pulled in every which way and every thing taking place in a split of a second.

The main bathing day with the colorful parade is especially challenging. Nobody seems to know what, where and when things will be taking place. One can only hope to be positioned in the right place so I was up early and placed myself in what I thought would be a strategic position. But before long I was sandwiched into a crowd with absolutely no way to move in any direction. I watched in utter dismay the parade of sadhus go by. My lens sadly hidden behind a sea of heads.

After the parade was over everyone that had gathered headed off in a different direction or followed the procession to the Ganges river. The street had never been so empty in the last few days. I waited there thinking that perhaps, if it is my good karma, that theses sadhus would return the same way they went down to the river. And surely enough my patience paid off. About an hour or so of patiently waiting the parade returned and this time I ensured I was perfectly placed.

Many of the sadhus don’t mind being photographed. In fact, some of them will gladly pose for you. But it is always polite to seek permission first before taking a photo of these holy men and women especially if you are coming in close for a portrait shot. During the day I also occasionally pointed the camera in the opposite direction and captured the images above showcasing a few of the photographers present at the Kumbha Mela.

If you would like to be at the Kumbha Mela festival next February in India for an amazing spiritual experience and boundless photographic opportunities do join our spiritual adventure that is planned to take us across North India. Click this link to find out more about our Kumbh Mela spiritual and photography tour.

 

Going through my archive of photos I came across these images that I had taken a couple of years back in Rajasthan, India. Most of these photos were shot on the outskirts of Jodhpur in small villages. I applied a particular style to these images to give them the look that they have below. These styles were applied in Adobe Lightroom 4 initially using “Matt’s 300 Look – Soft” (by Matt Kloskowski) preset then modified to give them the final touch below.

Rajasthan children hugging each other, India

rajasthan-mother-and-child India

 

On July 6th I did a blog post of photos of Indian children I photographed in the little town of Nagaur in northern Rajasthan. Here are a few more photos of kids from that town. The town truly is in the middle of the desert and the only highlight besides the wonderful people is the amazing 1700 year old fort.

 

I enjoyed my time in the little town of Nagaur. Located 2 hours north of Jodhpur in state of Rajasthan, India, Nagaur is a little oasis in the desert with literally nothing around it. And there is nothing to do in this town other meets its people and get a flavor of local life. And the one place to stay is Ranvas Nagaur, the 4th century fort which has been partially converted to a boutique hotel.

On the evening we arrived there we explored the town and here are a few photos of some of the locals I photographed.

old-woman-rajasthan-india in town of Nagaur

Drinking chai, Indian tea, is a favorite indulgence for most locals.

The metal pot maker holds up one of his latest pieces.

 

I’m in a little town 2 hours north of Jodhpur in the state of Rajasthan, North India. On an excursion yesterday evening in town I encountered so many children with bright smiling faces and sweet shyness. Here’s a small collection of photos for now. Thanks for a great evening kids!

India children rajasthan in town of nagaur

rajasthan-children-nagaur india

children-nagaur-rajasthan-jodhpur india

rajasthan-children-nagaur-india

 

This is part 3 of our series of posts on the Madurai Meenakshi temple in Tamil Nadu state in South India. Today’s images show Hindus worshiping in the temple. From statues carved into pillars to small shrines tucked away along the long corridors to the sanctum sanctorum, there is no shortage of devotion to be seen anywhere in this temple.

A Hindu couple applies oil on a carving of a deity on a pillar who is depicted to be pregnant.

One of the many statues carved into the pillars at the temple

A Hindu lady worships at one of the smaller shrines tucked away between two gigantic pillars

A Hindu girl places kumkum (red powder) on her friend's forehead.

A massive Ganesha graces a shrine at the Meenakshi temple. Here Ganesha is known as Mukkuruni Vinayagar and is one of the largest Ganesha statues in the south.

A young girl prays devoutly to Ganesha.

 

Morning at the Madurai Meenakshi Temple. Tamil Nadu, South India. (Part 2)

Within the walls of Madurai’s famed Meenakshi temple we explore the area in front of the Siva Sanctum. The pillars in this area are amazing in beauty and in size, and probably the best in the entire temple. Most of these I did not photograph but amongst all the gigantic pillars there was one that was quite simple but very popular among many of the pilgrims. The statue of the Mahadeva (great angel) Hanuman was carved on it. Hanuman is the popular monkey faced being who is worshiped by most Hindus.

Here he is covered in an orange-red paste. Countless pilgrims stop by him, touching his feet in search of blessing and lighting small clay oil lamps in offering. Hanuman is getting much attention amongst the devout pilgrims of this temple.

The morning light was just right to capture all of this and I quietly positioned myself next to a nearby pillar and took the following photos. I hope you enjoy them.

A statue of Hanuman portrudes out of a tall granite pillar at the Madurai Meenakshi temple.

An elder pilgrim touches Hanuman's feet in search of blessings.

A lamp is kept filled with oil throughout the day and burns brightly next to Hanuman.