It was nice to be able to get two Sadhus into the same photograph. This was taken with an aperture of F5.6. If I’d shot any wider, I’d have completely blurred out the sadhu in the background, and lost the composition. After taking the photo, I moved up the steps and shot a closer portrait of the sadhu that had been in the background in the previous image. One, two sadhus sit before you That’s what I said now
As the sun rises over the Ganges, a sadhu in his loincloth bathes in the river. Once clean, he removes his loincloth, and applies vibhuti, sacred ash, to his entire body. The ash dries to a grey white powder. For the rest of the day, he wears nothing but a few rings and the simple bracelets on his wrists.
There are many sadhus or holy men in Varanasi. Some are there for spiritual reasons, leading an ascetic life, free from worldly possessions. Others are, to put it politely, a little more commercially minded. It can be hard to tell which is which, both can be friendly, they’ll chat to you and let you take their photograph. Some will then shake your hand, and nod or give a blessing, if you leave a little money in a collection bowl. A few, however, will suddenly demand hundreds or thousands of rupees, the amount seemingly based on how rich or vulnerable you look. Of course the majority of these sadhus are simply trying to find the divine in a world that seems obsessed by material goods.