cohn17

February 16, 2012

when in tirupati (part 1) …

Filed under: travel within india — cohn17 @ 3:04 pm

my friend james and i decided to travel to tirupati, in andhra pradesh, to visit the sri venkateswara temple, which is one of the largest pilgrimage sites in india. as those of you who have seen chris rock’s movie good hair may remember, india exports tons of human hair to the west for hair extensions; and a lot of that hair is collected at the sri venkateswara temple, where the pilgrims shave their heads out of humility before they visit the god.  the hair gets bought up by exporters, and they sort it, wash it, and prepare it for sale.  this is a big business; so james and i decided, what the hell, let’s do it too.

the day we arrived in tirupati, we walked around the town and took some shots outside the sri govindarajaswami temple (sort of as a warm-up), noticing the numbers of men, women and children with tonsured heads; then we went down to the train station, to watch the pilgrims come and go, and to get more photos.

a store selling flower wreaths and other religious goods outside sri govindarajaswami temple; a woman selling human hair; and families of pilgrims who have donated their their hair (i didn’t ask how mom got out of shaving her head in the second group).
pilgrims coming and going.

next: they do it too.

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