tent life

apart from processions and interesting acrobatics, the sadhus just hung out in their camps and went about their business.

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at times, pilgrims would come to the sadhus’ tents for blessings. the sadhu on the left is placing ash on the forehead of a follower. the photo on the right shows one sadhu who was born with a spinal deformation; this may have made him more holy in some manner.
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otherwise, life out of the spotlight was pretty mundane. the sadhus ate, smoked, drank tea and talked.

there was a second class of sadhu, however, that didn’t stay in large established camps. these were the mendicants (or as i called them, the “fraudhus”), who relied on the charity of the ashrams and larger camps. they seemed to spend a lot of time waiting in line for free food and not a lot of time in meditation or prayer.

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watching these guys beg and quarrel, as in the photo in the lower right, made me realize that anyone can put on the orange robes, but not everyone can lead a life of spirituality and balance.

next: more stuff about the kumbh mela.