Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Kris Bailey | Threads For Prayers



"The highest form of devotion is to redress the misery of those in distress – to fulfill the needs of the helpless and to feed the hungry.” - Moin'Uddin Chisti

Here's a well made audio-slideshow of the annual Urs Festival commemorating the death of the Sufi Saint Khwaja Moin Uddin Hasan Chishti produced by Kris Bailey, a member in my Sufi Saints of Rajasthan & Kashmir Photo Expedition-Workshop. It's the third time Kris traveled with me...the first being on Kolkata's Durga Puja, and the second being The Oracles of Kerala Photo Expedition & Workshop.

The Sufi Saints Photo Expedition/Workshop's principal objective was to document the death anniversary held in Ajmer (Rajasthan) of Hazrat Shaikh Khwaja Syed Muhammad Moin'Uddin Chisti (1141- 1230 CE), the most famous Sufi saint of the Chishti Order of the Indian Subcontinent. He introduced and established the order in South Asia. He is also known as Gharib Nawaz or ‘Benefactor of the Poor'.

Kris chose to produce the audio slideshow (converted to video) in monochrome to avoid the divergence in colors arising from the harsh sunlight and the shadows created by the canopies in the shrine.

Threads for Prayers is an apt title for this Sufi religious observance, and underscores the syncretic commonality between Hinduism and Islam in South Asia. A Hindu practices is to tie red threads known as kalava or mauli in temples for their wishes to be fulfilled, and it's one of the practices also observed in Sufi shrines.

Apart from being an attorney in Northern California, Kris is a photographer who's keenly interested in South and South East Asia, and is particularly attracted to unusual rituals and religious festivals. She's already been on two of my most intense photo expeditions workshops, and that doesn't seem to deter her in the least.

A number of her projects can be viewed on her Vimeo page.