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Photo story: The Charak Mela in Kolkata

The Charak Mela traces its roots back to ancient Bengal, where it originated as a festival dedicated to the worship of the Hindu deity Shiva.
Photo story on The Charak Mela in Kolkata
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The Charak Mela traces its roots back to ancient Bengal, where it originated as a festival dedicated to the worship of the Hindu deity Shiva. Historically, it symbolized sacrifice and devotion, with participants engaging in acts of self-mortification as expressions of their faith.

The philosophy behind self-mortification in the context of Charak Mela revolves around the belief in the purification of the body and soul through enduring pain and suffering, ultimately leading to spiritual enlightenment and liberation. In various parts of West Bengal, Charak Mela is celebrated with regional variations, each reflecting the unique cultural practices and customs of the locality.

In rural areas, the festival often involves elaborate processions, music, and dance, accompanied by rituals performed by local priests. Devotees participate in acts of extreme pain, such as piercing their bodies with needles or hanging from a pole, as part of their devotion to Shiva and the fulfillment of vows.

In Kolkata, Charak Mela holds a special significance, attracting thousands of devotees and spectators from across the city and beyond.

The festival is typically held at Chhatubabu Bazar, where the streets come alive with vibrant colours, music, and fervent devotion. Charak Mela in Kolkata serves as a testament to the enduring spiritual traditions and cultural heritage of Bengal, captivating visitors with its mystique and reverence.

Siddhartha’s journey has by no means been smooth or easy, he is a common man with a routine job, who has struggled in his domestic life. What had begun as only the documentation of his avid travelling and wander lust, underwent many twists of life and fate to become the apex of street genre it is today. Diagnosed with severe eyesight issues and suspected eye cancer, almost put an end to his passion for photography leaving him physically and mentally broken, with no clear path to move ahead, this deep thinking and sensitive man did not stop embracing life with whatever little he had. Being forbidden to get out in bright sun, he continued to take pictures from within his room and in the evening. He fell in love with the old charms of the city anew. He fell in love with something so many of us take for granted, his eyesight.

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