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travel street photography sadhu with glasses varanasi benares india people portrait

Sadhu with glasses. A sadhu with glasses, saffron color clothes, long white hair and beard is preparing for himself a mixture of charas and tobacco in the riverfront steps of the sacred river Ganga in Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh, India).

Sadhus usually smoke that potent hashish concentrate, made from the resin of the cannabis plant, mixed with tobacco and using a conical pipe chillum, as a part of their worship.

Shiva is the god most commonly linked to cannabis, and this is th reason because charas-smokers consider that the spirit of Shiva enter their bodies when they inhale it.

Shadus are the only ones in India who are exempt from legal prosecution for possesion of this drug.

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travel street photography hindu man with black beard jaisalmer india people portrait

Hindu man with black beard. Portrait of an hindu man with leafy black beard and a drop-like tilaka in his forefront resting in the yellow sandstone streets of Jaisalmer (Rajasthan, India).

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travel street photography hindu holy man udaipur india people

Hindu holy man. An hindu holy man holds a chimta in his right hand and a chillum in his left hand while is seated on the stairs in front of The Jagdish Temple in Udaipur, the city of lakes (Rajasthan, India).

A chimta, which literally means tongs, is a traditional instrument made of steel or iron with small brass jingles.

A chillum is a straight conical smoking pipe made of clay, packed with a potent mixture of charas (hand-rubbed hashish) and tobacco.

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travel street photography taj mahal india people

Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal, which means “The Crown of the Palace”, is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. This bright white marble building is located in the indian city of Agra (Uttar Pradesh, India).

It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum in the memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself. A love story as an inspiration to build this beautiful jewel.

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travel street photography construction worker carrying bricks varanasi benares india people

Construction worker carrying bricks. Construction worker carrying a heavy load of twenty bricks on his head in the streets of Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh, India).

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travel street photography ash smeared sadhu varanasi benares india people

Ash-smeared sadhu. A sadhu with ash-smeared body is also applying ash to his face near the main cremation ghat at the mystical holiest city of Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh, India).

Sadhus normally pick up ashes from the cremation ground, where a human body has been burned in a funeral wooden pyre. After that, they spread the ashes all over their faces and bodies to feel purified and protected.

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travel street photography devotee taking a spiritual bath varanasi benares india people portrait

Devotee taking a spiritual bath. A devotee shows a spiritual trance expression during his bath time in the sacred river Ganga (Varanasi aka Benares, Uttar Pradesh, India).

Everyday, thousand of local Hindu devotees and pilgrims gather on the ghats, the stone steps that lead down to the Ganges River, to take ritual baths to clean their sins. They believe that bathing in the Mother Ganga purifies them, absolves them of their sins, and liberates them from the cycle of life and death.

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travel street photography white turban and white mustache jaipur india people portrait

White turban and white mustache. Random street portrait showing the facial expression of a local man wearing a white turban and a white-bushy mustache (Jaipur, India).

In the Rajasthan region of northern India, a turban can tell you a lot about a person. Where he lives. Who his family is. What he does for a living. What he believes.

White color in turbans is associated with peace and is normally worn by elders and farmers.

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travel street photography ganga aarti ceremony varanasi benares india people

Ganga Aarti Ceremony. The Ganga Aarti is a a very powerful spiritual ritual which takes place on the Dashashwamedh Ghat, near the Ganges River, and is held daily at dusk (Varanasi, also know as Benares, Uttar Pradesh, India).

Facing the river, a group of young pandits take their positions at a given wooden platforms which are full of ceremonial things like oil lamps, a conch shells, incense sticks, a yak-tail fans, peacock feathers, sandalwood, milk, and flower petals.

The mystic Ganga Aarti starts with the blowing of a conch shell. Smoke rises from the waving of incense sticks and the scent of sandalwood permeates the air. Fire is offered to Lord Shiva and the Ganges River through the movement of flaming lamps. Fire is used as a link between the spirit world and this world. The rhythmic chants and songs of mantras in praise of Mother Ganga can be heard while the drums and cymbals are playing.

When ceremony is going to finish, the pandits offer flowers, milk, and floating lamps to the Ganges. Eventually, attendants and pilgrims leave small diyas with a lit candle and flowers that’s floated down the river.

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travel street photography exhausted rickshaw puller old delhi india people portrait
Exhausted rickshaw puller. A rickshaw puller shows his exhausted gesture in the crowded, noisy and air polluted streets of Old Delhi (Delhi, India).
 
In rubber sandals and shorts, rickshaw pullers carry on passengers and packages through the city streets. Most of the times they earn less than 2 dollars a day and support their families with this small income.
 

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