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The Naga Sadhus

Flower Arrangement 5

Varanasi, Prayagraj 

“Bam Bam Bholenath “,  the Sadhus cried out in salutation to Lord Shiva, as the last of boats left for Benaras. The Naga Sadhus move to Banaras for Mahashivratri, after spending a month in Prayagraj – the first confluence of the reclusive Naga Sadhus.


A rare chance to see these Ash Smeared, naked, roasary beads covered , smoking cannabis and displaying a mystique aura; Naga Sadhus is Kumbh - world’s largest religious festival . This is perhaps the only time that they are seen within reach of civilization .The Naga Sadhus live in caves and have renounced worldly possessions, live a life of celibacy and penance and appear during the time of Kumbh, to bathe in the holy waters of confluence of Ganges , Yamuna and Saraswati.


These Sadhus are considered the militant groups of Hindus for safeguarding Hinduism and India from foreign invaders and protecting the  Vedic tradition of India.The history of Naga Sadhus and the traces of legacy are found in Mohenjo-daro coins. Many mentions of these Sadhus are found in Jainism and Buddhism. The fearless Sadhus live in Himalayan caves, stark naked, lashed with Trishul of Lord Shiva in Long Jatas , faces covered with the ashes of burning of dead bodies. They smear the ashes of dead bodies on their whole bodies, smoking Chillium, immersed in meditation, yoga and religious rituals. Naga Sadhus worship Lord Shiva and renounce the world to follow a stringent path to become a Naga. This path requires fierce commitment, renouncing the world, families, clothing and attachments. Yet it can take years to be conferred with a title of Naga. After Six year of living life of celibacy, a sadhu is called ‘great man’  12 years after that he is made a Naga.

At the Kumbh, they are seen displaying the tenacity ,the endurance and the unconceivable of their bodies, often to the dismay of the onlooker. But the most common sight is to see them drawing chillium from their pipes engulfed in constant and dense smoke . Matted hair, glazed eyes , stark naked - The Sadhus are volatile,  unpredictable, dramatic and highly temperamental.

Read : Tips to photograph the Naga Sadhus