Be it the spectacular kumbh mela or the pandharpur wari, a pilgrimage undertaken by Vitthal’s devotees who are undaunted by natural or artificial impediments, Kharghar resident, Bondaiah Adepu has been capturing people’s faith via his lens for around three years now.
And, it is a fulfilling and satisfying activity, he says. “Faith is very strong feeling for us Indians and people let nothing hinder its expression. When they are at a religious gathering they forget all other aspects of their life and get involved in worshipping god. It is done differently by different people and this is what I focus on,” says Adepu.
The chief manager of IT at a reputed bank, Adepu was interested in photography since teenhood, but indulged in it seriously since 2010, as he wanted to document something that is unique, that is not see everyday.
“In a discourse given by a famous spiritual guru, he advised the audience to try and do something they have never done in life. That is when I got the inspiration to photograph the kumbh mela in Haridwar. It is world’s biggest religious gathering where people from all over the world converge.
That was the first step of this journey,” he says.
And this journey has been an eventful one as he has been able to record snaps that bring out the religious spirit of the gatherings.
He has shot snaps of the recent maha kumbh mela held in Allahabad, of Sammakka-Saralamma, a tribal festival in Warangal that is also Adepu’s birthplace, of Athiratram Soma Yagyam at Thrissur in Kerala, of the Pushkar Mela held in Rajasthan in 2010 and many more.
“I prefer to go to big gatherings as everyone is unified in their purpose, which is to get absorbed in the spiritual atmosphere. And there are a variety of people, who come from different places irrespective of any factor, and they bring out the spirit of the event or gathering. One life is not enough to see everything,” he says confidently.
Adepu did not stop with photography alone but has also published a book called Kumbh@Haridwar — the divine congregation.
The book, which was released in April 2012, is a documentation of 140 photos. He is in the process of developing the manuscript of his second book that is about the maha kumbh mela, one he is trying to have released by April next year.
“It is also my dream to have a total four books of kumbh mela published in this life,” he adds.
Diwali, the grandest of all festivals, is around the corner and Adepu feels it is a subject that has many colourful aspects.
“People are my focus whenever I hold the camera and this is a festival that has people decked in colourful dresse, getting together to celebrate with family and friends. The fact that the way of celebration of Diwali has changed in these times is also a subject that can be explored,” feels Adepu.
As part of his next assignment, Adepu will be heading to Kerala to shoot the famous Sabarimala pilgrimage in December end.
“I manage my professional life and my passion by planning well in time for my trips. Also, I have friends and colleagues who help me a lot as they know this is an activity I will continue doing as long as I can,” he concludes.