Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Anindya Chakraborty: Charak Puja

Another religious festival comes to The Travel Photographer from Anindya Chakraborty, a self taught photographer from Kolkata. A software engineer in "real" life, Anindya started photography in 2006. He's gravitating towards documentary photography, and on his moving the United States, did a series on Bodie Ghost Town, New Orleans and finally on broken American Dreams. Some of his work was published in Picsean Travel Magazine.

These can be seen on his SmugMug website.

However, I recommend you view Anindya's Charak Puja on The Invisible Photographer website where the photo essay is presented as a flash slideshow.

Charak puja is a traditional festival celebrated mainly in the rural areas of Bengal. It's unique amongst Bengali festivals because it's dedicated strictly to penance. The men and women, seeking to undertake the ritual, have to go through a month-long day fast, subsist only on fruits & perform daily worship.

On the day of the Charak, bamboo poles are erected with height ranging from 10 to 15 feet. The devotees step up to the stages, and are impaled with hooks which are attached to the poles. The devotees are then suspended from these poles.

Reminiscent of the Thaipusam festival, the Hindu devotees of the Charak festival seek penance and self-mortification to achieve salvation.