Capturing the religious fervour of one of the longest pilgrimages of the world is a treat for any photographer. Myriad human emotions come to the fore when over a hundred thousand people walk for their faith for 21 days,covering 240 kilometers,starting from Alandi/Dehu road to Pandharpur.
“I have displayed 80 pictures of last year’s Palkhi in my exhibition. It has moments that are unseen unless you walk the walk,” says 18-year-old Pradnyesh Shailaja Dnyaneshwar Molak,a native of Alandi,who joined the pilgrimage last year along with his family. His exhibition,named ‘Anand Wari’,effectively captures the joy of the people who walk to meet Lord Vitthal. “There’s a lot that happens during this long journey and my exhibition has photographs which are 50 percent events,and 50 percent creative photography. There is great joy that can be seen on the faces of the pilgrims who sing and walk their devotion to the Lord,” says he.
Photography has always been Molak’s passion,and he has kept it up by clicking pictures of his own house and family. He has also completed a diploma in civil engineering. When asked what drove him to display the pictures he clicked,he says,”Palkhi is something everybody is vaguely aware of,but very few know what actually happens during the annual pilgrimage. My effort was to bring Palkhi moments to professionals from the IT sector,medical and engineering fields and other people as well,so that they can understand Palkhi better. I’m sure it’ll be an unforgettable experience for all.” He has exclusive pictures of the events that come as a surprise. His maternal uncle being one of the leading organisers of the Palkhi has helped him a lot.
An old pilgrim,tired from the walk,sleeping with his glasses on; saffron flags fluttering in the air above an endless sea of white capped heads; yellow threaded cymbals hanging from a bamboo; the flowing waters at Pandharpur,women readying themselves for the walk after a nights rest; and a breathtaking picture of the wari ringan ,are just a few pictures that aptly tell the story of the pilgrimage.
Molak is also considering launching a pictorial book on Palkhi in two years’ time,with articles explaining each picture and moment. His pictures have been converted into canvas texture to give them a more realistic look. “Palkhi,and the people of Alandi,are my family. I am just displaying the culture of our community,and it’s a different way of expressing my love for them.”
(‘Anand Wari’ will be up at New Art Gallery till July 14,from 10am-8pm)
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