Of my ever increasing number of targeted photographic missions of covering events and places, Simhastha Kumbh of the holy city of Ujjain, was one. It took place this year in 2016 on the banks of the sacred river Shipra, where devotees gathered for a holy dip that will, according to Hindu religious belief, get them rid of the vicious cycle of birth and death and to witness the Shahi Snan of Naga Sadhus, offer prayer. Places like these are full of life and have always been a photographer’s paradise.
An event so magnificent like Kumbh, spread over such a huge stretch of land, is not very easy to cover and always leaves a photographer lamenting for missing something or the other about the happenings related to it. After covering the Shahi Snan at Allahabad in 2013 quite elaborately (though my heart is never contented), when I headed for Ujjain this year, I had it my mind that I will try to find the offbeat, the other sides of such congregations. Ujjain didn’t return me empty handed. The walls of Ujjain held the most interesting and exciting backdrop for my shots with their outstanding wall art of striking colours.
Ujjain is also famous amongst Hindu pilgrims because it is believed to be the place where Lord Krishna along with his elder brother Balaram and his dear friend Sudama received education from Maharshi Sandipani. This saga, vividly and in most vibrant colours, is painted on the walls of Ujjain. On such a lavish backdrop, the pilgrims coming from different parts of India with their varied features and range of expression in various moods and moments, offered me a rainbow colour palette of frames unfolding new stories.
Standing behind the viewfinder, my eyes of a photographer could see a new tale to tell. Once again I said to myself, “Live life to express, not to impress”.