Deep South India Colour, sweat, spice & life

At the very tip of India is a Land where men still wear sarongs, women are prouder and elephants have fan followings.

The food is light and skins are dark, the language is ancient. Ayurveda is the way of life, martial artists fight with long forgotten weapons. Jews, christians and muslims live alongside Hindus, the mansions of the traders of ages crumble in the splendour of tropical vegetation.

Animal and man are so very close here, it's sometimes hard to tell who is beast of burden and who is master. Sometimes animals seem so much more noble than the wretched people they pass, at other times people seem like elegant animals. Both are adorned in splendid colour and blur together in the many ritual and festive occasions that happen in constant rythm.

The touch of an elephant's trunk is extremely good fortune.

The temple elephants are all female. They are patient giants who endure the swarm of humanity around them with majesty. They get spoiled with the choicest morsels and are adorned with jewelry and ornaments like vestal virgins. The small, watchful brown eyes keep watch over the humdrum and hubbub.

They are placed like living statues in front of temples for hours on end and stand in stoic silence.

The priests are still venerated like holy men. Yet they are hardworking guardians of the ubiquitous rituals, more committed than the clerics of the West. The faithful will always get their money's worth and return the toil with fervant dedication to the holy worship. Not a day passes without some spectacular ceremony someplace.

The priests are as much at the people's service as the elephants are.

The priests are still venerated like holy men. Yet they are hardworking guardians of the ubiquitous rituals, more committed than the clerics of the West. The faithful will always get their money's worth and return the toil with fervant dedication to the holy worship. Not a day passes without some spectacular ceremony someplace.

Trinkets are tied around every worshipper's neck.

Credits:

Hans Kohla

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