Hindus. Shivaratri (Kolkata, India)

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Hindus. Shivaratri. 

Kolkata (Calcutta) India


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Reel Duration: 12’38”

Maha Shivaratri
is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in honor of the God Shiva.
There is a Shivaratri in every lunar month on its 13th night and 14th day, but once a year in late winter (February/March) and before the arrival of spring.
It marks Maha Shivaratri which means “the Great Night of Shiva”.  
This reel was shot in the Jay Bhutnath Temple in Kolkata, on the banks of the Hooghly River during the festivities.

Here, the ardent devotees, offer fruits, leaves, sweets and milk to the Shiva’s lingams (phalluses) and some perform all-day fasting with Vedic or tantric worship, and practice Yoga on the banks of the river.
A snake (the protector cobra) appears at the end of the reel and performs blessings to the gent for a few rupees.

Kumbh Mela Allahabad 2001


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Pilgrims & beggars at Khumb Mela. 
Allahabad India.

Standart def: 720p/ PAL
Reel Duration: 14′ 41″

Kumbh Mela or “festival of the pot”,  is a major pilgrimage  and festival in Hinduism.

It is celebrated in a cycle of approximately 12 years at four river-bank pilgrimage sites: the Allahabad (Prayag)) (Ganges-Yamuna Sarasvati  rivers confluence), Haridwar (Ganges), Nashik (Godavari), and Ujjain (Shipra). 

At the Kumbh Mela of 2001 (here featured) 35 million people  went to Allahabad and stay for 2 months at the confluence of three holy rivers: the Ganges, the Yamuna and a mythical third river, the Saraswati.

In 2019,  it was 150 millions.



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Hindus at Khumb Mela. 
Allahabad, India.

Standart def: 720p/ PAL
Reel Duration: 14′ 56″

The festival is marked by a ritual dip in the waters, but it is also a celebration of community, commerce with numerous fairs, education, religious discourses by saints and gurus, mass feedings of monks and the poor, and entertainment.

The seekers believe that bathing in these rivers is a means to prayascitta (atonement, penance) for past mistakes, and that it cleanses them of their sins.

These are excerpt of the documentary:
Ganga Ganga Will you remember my Name ? (2001)


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Sadhus at Khumb Mela. 
Allahabad, India

Standard def: 720p/ PAL
Reel Duration: 7′ 49″

Ash-smeared and dreadlocked naked Naga sadhus or Hindu ascetics, except for rosary beads and garlands and smoking wooden pipes, are a huge draw at the world’s largest religious festival that is the Khumb Mela.


The festival is one of the only opportunities to see the reclusive Naga sadhus, many of them,  live in caves after taking a vow of celibacy and renouncing worldly possessions.

Their charge down to the waters to bathe at the opening of the Kumbh, many armed with tridents and swords, is one of the highlights of the festival.


Most of the Nagas enter the orders in their early teens, leaving their friends and families to immerse themselves in meditation, yoga and religious rituals. It can take years to be conferred with the title of a Naga, they say.

“One has to live a life of celibacy for six years. After that the person is given the title of a great man and 12 years after that he is made a Naga,” said Digambar Kedar Giri, a Naga sadhu from Jaipur.

(source: India Today).


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Encounter with an Aghori Sadhu.
Harsil, High Himalayas. India

Standart def: 720p/ PAL
Reel Duration: 5’11”

This was shot in February 2001 during a trek in the high Indian Himalayas in the surroundings of the town of Harsil.

This is where I stumble into a cabin where lives an Aghori Sadhu.


The Aghori (in Sanskrit aghora) are a small group of ascetic Shiva sadhus .
They engage in post-mortem rituals.
They often dwell in charnel grounds, smear  cremation  
ashes on their bodies, and use bones from human corpses for crafting kapalas (skulls cups which Shiva and other Hindu deities are often iconically depicted holding or using).

Notice the skull and the picture of Durga  riding a tiger on the right side of the screen. 

Their practices are sometimes considered contradictory to orthodox  Hinduism.
Many Aghori ascets command great reverence from rural populations, as they are supposed to possess healing powers gained through their intensely hermetic rites and practices of renunciation and “tapasya” (voluntary bodily pains). 

TAMANG PEOPLE (Lang Tang, Nepal)

The Tamang People.  

Lang Tang, Nepal.

Standard Def: 720p/ PAL
Reel Duration: 14′ 59″

About 4,500 people reside inside the Lang Tang region of Nepal (High Himalayas) with the Tamang People as majority, and many more depend on it for timber and firewood.

The Tamang people are believed to have come from Tibet, possibly around 3000 years ago, and are Nepal largest ethnic group.

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The Tamangs are distributed densely within central Nepal but are also present throughout the country and in Darjeeling, India.
They have their own distinct culture, tradition, language, religion and social system.
It is believed that the Tamangs were self-ruled and autonomous until 232 years ago.
During the last two centuries, Tamangs have been the most discriminated and exploited community of Nepal and are very destituted.
Several NGO’s are based here to provide education, health services and help with their livelihoods.

(source: the Blue Space/ Tamang)

Endangered languages


According to U.N.E.S.C.O as many as half of the world’s 7,000 languages are expected to be extinct by the end of this century; it is estimated that one language dies out every 14 days.

Endangered languages, much like endangered species of plants or animals, are on the brink of extinction.

Tamang language spoken in Nepal,  is within the branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family Seke, and is thus related to the Gurung, Thakali, and Chantyal languages.
Seke has long been in contact with the Indo-Aryan language Nepali, which is Nepal’s official language and is presently used in village schools. 


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Old Ladies talking over the mountain after the rain
Lang Tang region. Nepal

Standard def: 720p/ PAL

Reel Duration: 4′ 35″


Due to this contact — which has taken place largely over the last two centuries and increasingly in recent years — as well as socio-economic pressures, the vast majority of Tamang speakers are now also fluent in, and shifting to Nepali.
This  scene depicts a group of ladies conversing over the mountains. It was taken in the year 2000 before the advent of cell phones in the region, let alone telephones. The conversation seems passionate.