Blog - Category Archives: India

Aravan’s wedding

Koovagam transgender festival

Aravan’s wedding is a festival of transgender and transvestite individuals which takes place in the Tamil month of Chitrai (April/May) in the village of Koovagam in Tamil Nadu, India. It is held at the Koothandavar Temple dedicated to Aravan (Koothandavar). The participants marry the Lord Koothandavar, thus reenacting an ancient myth of Lord Vishnu/Krishna who married him having taken the female form. According to myth, Aravan had to sacrifice himself the next day to help his clan win in battle, so the day after the wedding all brides mourn his death through ritualistic dances and by breaking their bangles.

The festival also serves as a platform to create awareness for transgender discrimination and prejudice which still exist in mainstream society, not limited to India.

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Video: Don’t call me a woman

Sandhiya from Madurai (Tamil Nadu, India) has the body of a woman but feels like a man. She wants to be called Raja only. Raja has been receiving threats for years but when they became life threatening, Raja and his mother had to quickly move to a temporary home in Chennai.

Copyright Frank Röhrig

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Ladakh – Lamayuru to Hemis

 

Lamayuru, Ladakh, India

The road begins at Lamayuru, but it already ends a few kilometers further after Wan La. No more cars from a long time after that on the way to Hemis. For generations, nothing has changed the country and its people more than the seasonal rains that reshape the valleys every year. Due to the inaccessibility of the area, Ladakhis live an isolated life devout to Buddhism and largely free from western influences.

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India – Kushti

Kushti wrestling in Mumbai and Kolhapur, India

Kushti has its origins in Parthia (Persia) dating back to around 1000 BCE. Wrestlers submit to a stringent life codex that prescribes diet, conduct and even religion. In India, Kushti is linked to the monkey god Hanuman, so every Kushti Arkhada (school) has its own Hanuman shrine and wrestlers pray to him before a fight. Kushti is a sport philosophy that is reserved for men only.

Central to a wrestler’s life is his physical condition. Soft drugs such as alcohol, (chewing) tabacco or even coffee and tea are not allowed. Wrestler live off a high-energy diet that is supposed to build up body …

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Video: Homeless in Dehradun

VIDEO: The Aasraa Trust tries to get children off the street and into education.

Copyright Frank Röhrig

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Cup of chai, camera, and off you go…

The streets of Uttarakhand

Grab your stuff and photograph the extraordinary life stories that unfold every single day in the streets of Dehradun, India…

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Old Delhi

Life in Old DelhiLiving in the city – Indian style. A school boy spoke to me while I was loitering at a street corner. ” You will probably find it difficult to survive here”, he announced. Hm, can’t argue with that if even Indians find that hard…

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Kolkata

Kolkata - India

India’s second biggest city is a daily festival of human existence, simultaneously noble and squalid, cultured and desperate. And everything is playing out before your eyes on teeming streets where not an inch of space is wasted.

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Holy Cow! Old Delhi

Old Delhi - IndiaWhere to look first and who to dodge first? Disorganized chaos and yet just  normal day in the life of countless Indians who eat, sleep and work here.

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Varanasi – Mother Ganga

The Streets And Ghats Of VaranasiSeries of photographs of the streets and ghats in Varanasi, India. Check out the full slideshow in the porfolio section

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Ladakh

LadakhLadakh is also called “Little Tibet” and even a glance at the land and people reveals why: Ladakh is a small time capsule of Tibetan culture that has been unmolested by Chinese oppression. Under India rule, Ladakhis enjoy the freedom to practice their religion and preserve their Tibetan heritage. Ladakh supports a disproportionately large number of monasteries (gompa) which serve as conservation centres for Tibetan culture.

High altitude above 3500 metres and its remote location in the Himalayas have kept western influences relatively low, but tourist groups and the presence of large numbers of military personnel exert a steady influence that may eventually erode the traditional Tibetan lifestyle.

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