Saturday, 9 July 2011

Idris Ahmed: Holla Mohalla

Photo © Idris Ahmed-All Rights Reserved
Idris Ahmed is an environmental activist-turned-schoolteacher-turned-professional photographer, as well as a biker. His vehicle has taken him, at times, as high as 13,000 feet to photograph landscapes, monasteries and the people who inhabit these altitudes.

Five years ago, Idris was biking through the Kunzum La pass in Himachal Pradesh, and visited the Spiti Valley for the first time. The landscape was so stunning that he he has since journeyed to the valley every year, staying for a month each time.

Although most of his press coverage has been on Spiti: Daughter of the Sea photo exhibition in Delhi last April, I have featured Idris' gallery of the Sikh Holla Mohalla.

The Holla Mohalla is an annual Sikh festival, which usually lasts for a week and consists of  various displays of fighting prowess and bravery, followed by music, poetry and communal meals. It also is highlighted by a huge procession by the Nihangs, clad in their traditional dress and weapons, on the last day of the festival. It is held at the Indian city of Anandpur Sahib in Punjab, and it is estimated that over 100,000 Sikh devotees attend the Holla Mohalla.