Tag Archives: Bhavani Deeksha.

if you dont leave the house…

If you don’t leave the house, things don’t happen…

I take a walk on Sunday evening…out of the orphanage and towards the nearest village, down the road i bump into Mounika, an ex student, now in college who lives near the orphanage. While chatting to her i photograph these to Bhavani Deekshas who are training an ox to pull a cart:

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I walk down to the river and this slithers past me and into the water…

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10 minutes later 3 guys passing by on bicycles stop and ask me something in Telegu. I know a little of the language but i cant understand what they are saying.

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…then this young man appears and he speaks a little English and between us i realise they are the Deekshas i photographed earlier, they want to see the picture i took of them on the cart. I promise to give them a copy before i leave…

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Turns out the guy who helps me is the brother of Jancy, whom i know as she attends the school where i teach…

Janci knows i come to this spot regularly to photograph the troop of monkeys who come to the water at twilight.

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Janci’s mum tells me to come into their garden, she puts down some rice and monkeys appear from everywhere…

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Its like i said, if you don’t leave the house, things don’t happen…

requested portraits and mugging for the camera…

Requested portraits are a category of photographs i take whereby the subject asks for the picture to be taken and they pose themselves, i just shoot, here are a few recent ones:

P1240364just back from temple, she was beautiful…P1260365 early morning Bhavani Deekshas

P1270344village kids…talk about mugging for the camera!

P1270350no child was injured!

P1270354for more requested portraits see here

red man in tree…

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Was hanging my washing on the roof which gave me a great vantage point to film this incredible man who happened to be pruning the palm trees round the orphanage. He is dressed all in red as he is a Bhavani Deeksha (see previous post). An incredible athlete he shimmied up tree after tree with apparent ease even though it obviously takes incredible strength and fitness to do what he does and all in the humid heat of south India. Every now and then the school tannoy system from across the road can be heard urging the kids to get into their classrooms…just another day…

the red barber…

I photographed him last year, a young barber who plies his trade from a tiny hut at the edge of Buddavaram* just outside the orphanage, i hope do a series of photographs on him and his clients this year if he lets me…The inside is papered red and bathes him and his customers in a glorious red light… His black clothes mean he is following a Ayyappa Deeksha** (see also Bhavani Deeksha previous post for similar religious behaviour, the devotees clad entirely in red). Anyway he gets a post to himself because he looks rather splendid…

The Red Barber’s Hut – a genius use of a small space…

* Buddavaram means “Wednesday” in the language of Andhra Pradesh, Telugu

** Ayyappa Deeksha is an offering on the part of an individual as part of the Hindu religion, there are many many rules but what it boils down to is that the devotee must live a very austere life for 41 days preceding a visit to the Temple. During this time, the mind is made to withdraw from the worldly objects and is slowly directed towards Ayyappa.

The black clothes symbolise a mind withdrawn from all material  objects. The black cloth suggests devotee is dead to the world of perceptions, emotions and thoughts and he is immersed in the thought of Ayyappa.

Bhavani Deeksha…

Always on the theme of red, found out more about the scarlet clad people i saw all over Andhra Pradesh:

The lrumudi is the only travelling kit which a pilgrim carries on his head during the pilgrimage. The bag is in two compartments – the front portion is reserved for keeping all the offerings to the deity while the rear part is meant to hold the pilgrims personal requirements for the journey.

The Bhavani Deeksha, also known as Durga Bhavani Diksha or Mala, is a Deeksha or vrata (a kind of blessing) dedicated to Goddess Kanakadurga of Vijayawada. It is observed for 41 or 21 days. The dress code followed is – red coloured shirt and trousers or dhoti and a pancha (shawl type cloth on shoulders).

After taking a dip in the Krishna River and donning the sacred red robes, the devotees climb the adjacent hill to the nearby Durga temple to initiate or end the blessing period (see previous post). For the duration of the Deeksha they must, amongst other things, take baths only with cold water in the early hours of the day, eat limited and simple food, refrain from shaving, haircut and nail trimming during the Deeksha, not see or touch a woman in her menstrual period (i saw women pilgrims also so not sure how this works???) not wear footwear and sleep on the floor for all the 41 days. For full set of rules click here.