Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fire ants in my sandals

Bottle of water and a bag for the pilgrimage

All the women seem to carry their bags on top of their head

He is playing brass cymbals, chanting as he walks barefoot
Flag bearer of his group( possibly all from one village)

Today, while clearing out some undergrowth in a garden, I stepped on a nest of red fire ants.  They really sting. I had forgotten how it felt.  They really put their heart into it when they bite with their pincers.  Their heads separated from their bodies when I tried to get them off.

I have drawn these from reference photographs I took of a pilgrimage that passes through my city of Pune. About 200,000 people walking in a procession.  It usually occurs around end of June/ mid July. Its a particular day of the Hindu Lunar Calendar.
These people belong to a sect called the "Varkaris".  They have a simple belief removed from the orthodoxy of Hinduism and follow the teachings of two main saints of the Bhakti movement( Bhakti = Devotion/faith Vs. rituals and formalized religion), Tukaram and Dhyaneshwar ( pronounced Nya- neshwar :)).

Wikipedia has some more on this movement.

They are predominantly rural people.  I was thinking of drawing people and these are unique and interesting visually.  I have referenced my own photos.  I'll possibly do some groups as well since this pilgrimage is known by its large numbers of people walking hundreds of miles together.
Here are two photographs to show you the scale of the people moving.  This is at an intersection where I took some pictures as they passed.  This procession took about 6 hours to go by.

The Varkaris going past spectators

One group that paused to ease congestion downstream