Saturday, 26 May 2012

Sacbee's The Frame: Kevin Frayer's Urs Festival

Photo © Kevin Frayer-All Rights Reserved

I've been waiting for coverage of this event! Just look at this flamboyant character!!!

The Sacramento Bee's photo blog The Frame features Kevin Frayer's remarkable photographs made during a major Sufi Muslim Urs festival in Rajasthan.

It starts off the series of these 36 photographs telling us that thousands of Sufi devotees from different parts of India annually travel to the shrine of Sufi Muslim saint Hazrat Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, in Ajmer, in the Indian state of Rajasthan for the annual Urs festival observed to mark his death anniversary.

Along with other photographers, I've been photographing the Sufi traditions in South Asia for a while, especially trying to underscore the syncretic elements of this tradition with Hindusim, but to my chagrin I haven't been to this festival as yet...although I was in Ajmer a number of times.

Moinuddin Chishti is the more famous and revered Sufi saint of the Chisti order of the Indian Subcontinent. He was born in 1141 and died in 1230 CE, and is believed to be a descendant of the Prophet Muhammed. He interpreted religion in terms of human service and exhorted his disciples "to develop river-like generosity, sun-like affection and earth-like hospitality."

I cannot help but to piggyback this feature by adding my own work on The Possessed of Mira Datar; an audio slideshow of black & white photographs made at one of the most famous shrines (or dargahs) in Gujarat. The still photographs of this audio slideshow were presented at the Angkor Photo Festival last November.

And for those who follow my posts for clues to my future photo expeditions-workshops, this may well be one for 2013. It'll be as intense as the Oracles of Kali's festival, the focus of my most recent photo expedition in Kerala this past March.