Photographs of Sacred Sadhu's @ Maha Kumbh Mela 2010
Kumbh Mela is the worlds oldest and largest religious festival. It takes place in India every three years at four different locations in rotation.
I am writing from the 2010 Maha Kumbh Mela in Haridwar India. I have returned after 12 years when the last Kumbh Mela took place here. Officially the Festival does not start until January 14, 2010 but I got here early and the sadhu's are starting to arrive.. There is going to be millions of sadhu's here and I don't mean a million or two but maybe 20,000,000. That would be a fair estimate. Currently, I am looking for old friends when I spent 6 weeks here making friends and having all kinds of religious experiences.
To my dismay some sadhu's have died since I last photographed them and making new relationships is so important when it comes to gaining their trust and having the opportunity to make their portraits. I am not one for stealing shots but would rather be part of this larger family of godheads and proceed as a friend or kindred spirit .
Writing this is very difficult because of power fluctuations and a weak cable link so this is only achieved after hours of frustration. I will see if the responce for this is any good before I continue further along with this blog.
Below are my two oldest friends from the 1998 Kumbh Mela in Haridwar.
On the left is Jeldar Baba Giri, who was such a giant of a man, with plenty of followers. He has been in a car accident and now is crippled . But he is still out there holding his daily fire for those in need and helps them with the personal matters . I went to see him last night in the cold and rain and found him asleep . On the right is Bandar Baba or Monkey Baba. Also such a great friend who had to inform me that two other sadhu's we were very close with died as well. One was the GodBoy , Sri Bupender Giri and the other was Moony Baba. May they rest in Peace !!!
I found Monkey Baba in Allahabad at the Kumbh Mela three years ago amonst 24,000,000 camping sadhu's. Talk about organization and word of mouth. I thought finding anyone i knew from 8 years earlier would be impossible but I did. Not only that, but I also found a photograph of mine published on a big canvas banner for a Guru Mahant who passed away. Bupender Giri's Master.
Monkey Baba is glad I made all these extra copies of my photographs to give away.
Daily : Monkey Baba feeds the monkeys. The second night I went down to see him, which was 3 weeks ago. We were alone at his campfire. it was getting late 9:00...when I heard this curious sound of water being poured. Then there in the flickering fire light I realize this little baby monkey is peeing on my leg from above me. I am shocked and laughing and wonder what this means karmically ???
This image is of Bandra Baba or Monkey Baba. I met him first here twelve years ago and found him again in Allahabad Kumbh Mela amonst 50,000,000 other Sadhus...talk about organization. I thought it would be impossible. So I found him here again where he lives along side the Ganges River not far from Vishnu Ghat in Haridwar. His friendship and assitance has been invaluable to me. He also had the matter of telling me about my other Sadhu friends having passed away.
FOR IMAGES OF OTHER SADHUS, INCLUDING MANY FROM THE 1998 CELEBRATION PLEASE CHECK OUT MY SADHU-GALLERY AT PBASE: