I am in between a group of Sadhus *, a unique event, an incredible experience … by pure chance!
I leave my hotel at 7 am, no plans in my mind for the day.
Wandering along the road I stop to photograph a woman with a different dress that catches my attention, when someone says: “she will go to the Spiritual Walk”. Spiritual Walk??? I have no clue to what this means but I do not hesitate to change my way. I arrive on time at the indicated place.
The place is alive with musicians and dancers. I stand in a corner watching this gathering of people with their faces painted and camels decorated with ornaments.
I see a group of Sadhus. A large group. All gathered at one side of the street. I move towards the group without hesitation. They are in a circle facing the center and something seems to be happening in the middle of it.
A lot of people are trying to reach the center, they want to see and photograph what seems to be going on.
The crowd is kind of aggressive and because of this I decide to photograph a Sadhu on the outside of the circle, instead.
On the spur of the moment, the group starts walking. From the inner circle two naked Sahdus appear with their painted body. I don´t succeed in photographing them. The flow of people begins and moves along. Having no other way to return, stuck in the middle of this crowd, (feeling happy to have no other option), I decide to join them.
The walk starts. In the procession, there are groups of Indian dancers, groups of musicians, groups of students, carts with decorated camels and others.
I’m walking in the middle of the Sadhus’s group. As I walk along I wonder when will someone invite me out, but … the expressions are friendly. Someone puts a wreath of yellow flowers on my neck (like the ones they have) and I feel welcome amongst the group.
I am happy for anyone to ask me for a credential, of those that one needs to send the DNA (and others) two months in advance. 🙂
I photograph and their expressions are still kind. As we keep moving along, more and more people are gather to watch the procession go by. All looking beautiful and colorful, with their best clothes, reminds me of a comparison with catholic people, when they dress their best clothes to go to Sunday mass.
They are happy, taking lots of photos with the telephones. Wherever we go, some people throw huge bags of yellow and red flowers at our heads. Tons of flowers cover the streets! The smell invites you to take a deep breath … and I take a deep breath. Is it true? Is this really happening? I am in a celebration in India on the middle of a group of Sahdus, I photograph without restrictions (apart from those of photographing and walking at the same time without trampling anyone 🙂 and flowers are being thrown on my head all the way.
I can not contain my joy. I look around and find the moment special. The Sahdus chant the words “Jai Jee Ram” out loud. I imagine it to be some sort of wish for peace and I say it out loud, just as well. I imagine that pure joy might be imprinted on my face as they look at me with a sweet expression.
I love it when they throw flowers and I open my arms to embrace it. I pick some and I smell it. I want this walk never to end !!!
I walk through the village and I appreciate every moment. I do not know where we’re heading. I follow along with the flow. For a moment I’m distracted, when I find myself, climbing a stage. I am in a privileged position with the Sadhus when an event begins. An important person is escorted by police to the stage and stands right beside me. I do not know who he is. I see some people surrounding him and attempting to take selfies with him. For all my doubts, I’ll take one too. 🙂
They speak Hindi things that I have no idea of the subject and I see many gifts being given to the Sahdus that I suppose to be the most important. Someone puts a scarf (pretty, cotton) in my hand and says: gift! Gift for me? I pick up the fabric with both hands and thank him. It’s just a rag, but I loved getting this piece of cloth. The man leaves. I cross my gaze with a Sahdu in the distance. I turn my head like the Indians do, to the left and right as if trying to put my ear to my shoulders. He understands that I am very grateful and returns the signal nodding his head.
One important person talks for a few minutes and the events ends. The Sadhus climb to a very old bus.I see several orange heads through the window. They are leaving.
Now I understand the meaning of a Spiritual Walk, because I already made mine…what an outstanding morning !!
* People who renounce to their material possessions and devote their lives to religion