Friday, 7 March 2014

Report III: The Sacred Cities Photo Expedition-Workshop

Photo © Kaushik Ghosh-All Rights Reserved
It is said that in Varanasi one has to be cautious of four things: young and beautiful widows, cows (and their patties), holy men (ie sadhus) and irregular steps of the ghats.

Well, none of us seen young and beautiful widows (yet); we've seen cows and lots of patties; we've rubbed shoulders with unauthentic sadhus; and unfortunately one of the group's participants slipped on the irregular ghat steps and was hurt (not badly).

So if my arithmetic is correct, we've experienced 75% of the things we have to be cautious of. Naturally, it goes without saying that I'm eagerly awaiting the appearance of a young and pretty widow soon.

Yesterday, the group experienced the most intense photo shoot of the expedition-workshop so far. The atmosphere at the Bahadur Shaeed Sufi shrine was electric, with a large number of women being in trance and imploring the dead saint for favors. I was also a little surprised by the intensity of it all despite me having been there a few years ago.

In contrast, today's early morning photo shoot at a nearby kushti akahara was an abject failure. The wrestlers were beginners; most likely unemployed youths with too much time of their hands. I hope that tomorrow will bring an authentic kushti experience at another location for us to photograph.

The hotel's internet connection is somewhat fickle, so this post will suffice to bring those interested in our trip up to speed.