Hinduism

Hinduism is followed by the majority of Indians and Nepalese and by millions more worldwide. Ancient, enigmatic and colourful, some see it more as a way of life than a religion.

I've visited Hindu shrines and festivals from the Indian Ocean islands to the peaks of the Himalayas and I'm always fascinated by the individuality of it all. Everywhere you look at a festival there are devotees doing their thing in the river or by it. Deep in prayer and thought.

The nightly Puja on the banks of the Ganges in Varanassi.

The nightly Puja on the banks of the Ganges in Varanassi.

Core values at the heart of Hinduism include the importance of Self (or Atman) and the questioning of authority. I can only scrape at the surface of what it all means when I walk through a festival.

Some sadhus (or holy men) spend their life travelling between festivals (they even ride for free on Indian railways). They carefully set up their place by the river and pilgrims come and go leaving some food or a little money in exchange for a blessing or some imparted teachings.

A sadhu at Nashik. I love this guys skull necklace carved from bones.

A sadhu at Nashik. I love this guys skull necklace carved from bones.

Pilgrims at the Khumba Mela in Nashik near Mumbai in 2015. There were over a million devotees when I visited.

Pilgrims at the Khumba Mela in Nashik near Mumbai in 2015. There were over a million devotees when I visited.

Traditional medicine being sold on the banks of the Ganges at Varanasi.

Traditional medicine being sold on the banks of the Ganges at Varanasi.

An offering (or Puja) about to be placed in the Godavari River.

An offering (or Puja) about to be placed in the Godavari River.

There's always someone offering to read your fortune.

There's always someone offering to read your fortune.