Thursday, 7 April 2016

Leonid Plotkin | Followers of The Real

Photo © Leonid Plotkin-All Rights Reserved
I've featured the work of photographer of Leonid Plotkin a few times already, and I'm glad he he has just uploaded photographs of his walking pilgrimage with Sufis from Delhi to Ajmer in Rajasthan to attend the annual Urs of Nawaz Gharib.

He and I share a passion for documenting the esoteric traditions and rituals of Sufism in the Indian sub-continent, and I'm quite certain that our paths have crossed there in May 2013. He was the only non-Indian I saw at the festival, apart from the photo workshop group that I was leading at the same time.

Sufism has a history in India evolving for over a millennia. Islam literally walked into the subcontinent since the 8th century. Sufi mystic traditions became more popular during the 10th and 11th centuries of the Delhi Sultanate, and these have existed since then. Sufism helped to build a syncretic medieval culture tolerant and appreciative of non-Muslims, and its saints contributed to a growth of stability, vernacular literature, and devotional music in the subcontinent.

Many Sufis make the pilgrimage from various Sufi dargahs in Delhi to the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti (aka Nawaz Gharib) on the anniversary of his death. Hundreds of devotees walk the distance of about 400 kilometers (250) miles over the period of ten days.

Leonid took part of this walk, and photographed its participants on Followers of The Real. Many of his captions are very interesting so read them when you view the images.

He is a freelance documentary photographer and writer. His work has appeared in publications such as The Guardian, The Observer, The Economist, Penthouse Magazine, Student Traveler, Budge Travel, Discovery Magazine, and others.