Friday, 12 December 2008

Charles Meacham: Hemkund Sahib

Image © Charles Meacham-All Rights Reserved

Charles Meacham was born just outside of Philadelphia, and his first major travel experience was a year trip touring the U.S. in a 1971 Volkswagen camper. Overheating and bursting into flames, the van died along a highway in Arizona, but his interest in travel did not.

He specializes in projects involving Sikhism, and he has recently documented the festival in Nanded, one of the biggest Sikh festival. The pilgrimage to Hemkund, whose site is a glacial lake surrounded by seven peaks located in the Himalayas at an elevation of over 15,000 ft (4,600 m), is in Uttarakhand state of India, and at a distance of 275 kilometers from Rishikesh. Charles tells me that he was the only professional photographer at the festival.

Meacham's photographs of the Sikh Nanded festival are nicely color-saturated and well editited, so that I could easily imagine what the trek felt, especially that the last section of 5 kilometers involves a steep climb from 10,000 feet to 15,000 feet.

Sikhism was founded in the 16th century Punjab district, and was founded by Guru Nanak and is based on his teachings, and those of the 9 Sikh gurus who followed him. It is a monotheistic religion which stresses the importance of doing good actions rather than merely carrying out rituals.

Charles Meacham website