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Kali
  4612
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Kali
Kulasekharapatnam
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
1/200Sec-f/7.1-ISO100-16mm-19Oct2018-17:06:05

Goddess Kali of Kulsai Dasara

01. Accepted in WPAI Circuit 2018-Delhi judging [wpaidelhi.com]


*** Kulasai Dasara is the grand festival of 300 year old Kulasai Mutharammam Temple which is located at Kulasekharapatnam in Tamil Nadu. In essence, Dasara is celebrated in the 10th day after 9-day of Navaratri festival across India. However, at Kulasai, it is celebrated as a 12-days function. It is estimated that around 2.5 Million [25Lakhs] devotees visited the temple in the 2018 celebrations.

Teams are formed from each village and are sponsored by the richest family of the village or the village head. One member from this team is chosen to don the avatar of Goddess Kali, the central god in this festival. A strict condition is that only a man can dress as Kali and has to fast for 41 days. Other members dress up like other Gods or Goddesses according to their choice. During Dasara, these devotees need to dress like the god/goddess every day and have to abstain from impure thoughts and bad habits. They need to commit to being pure in body, mind and soul.

Kulasekharapatnam is a tiny coastal town with extremely high humidity and temperature. In this climate, it’s not an easy commitment to be dressed as a god in heavy costume and with bold makeup. If this was not hard enough, they fast for 41 days and carry a pot of fire in their bare hands, wear multiple weighty false arms and a pair of metal glasses with a tiny hole limiting their vision to almost zero and are surrounded by people playing drums and loud music.
I have seen some of these avatars faint out of exhaustion, heat, the frenzy around them and dehydration.

Each team roams around many villages during Dasara and perform a ritualistic dance to earn some alms. As it is quite a lucrative way of earning money, some individuals, especially kids, also dressed in godly costumes to make some easy money.

During the last day of the festival, the celebrations peak. The avatars visit the temple and on the last leg of their journey through the temple corridor, they perform a ritualistic dance in devotion to the God. To depict the anger with which Goddess Lalithambigai destroyed Magisasuran, they enter a trance like state characterized by deafening music and violent dancing.

After they have offered their prayers, they then finally go the beach behind the temple and worship the fire that they have carried in their hands. A cleansing dip follows where they take a bath and immerse all the godly belongings which made them look like God. Local kids then have fun collecting these godly avatars to play with them or keep them as a memory.

An interesting thing however is that taking a dip in the sea with all the heavy costume is a practical problem as water makes everything seem heavier. So they just stand in the sea and spray some sea water on themselves symbolically and take off their costumes post that.

Millions of visitors come to attend this event. Sometimes an entire village arrives by buses or in trucks. They pitch their tents in open grounds for three days making it look like a mini picnic complete with cooking facilities.

Local residents are also very helpful towards these visitors. They allow them to take shelter in their homes. Some families even offer water and food to these visitors.

The final day looks like a colourful carnival where thousands of teams line up in a narrow lane marching towards the temple for hours often stretching day into night. It is life-time experience to witness the event and feel their faith & dedication.
The holy fire
  4611
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The holy fire
Kulasekharapatnam
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
1/125Sec-f/2.8-ISO2000-17mm-20Oct2018-05:16:45

Performing rituals with fire in the Kulasai Mutharammam Temple during Kulasai Dasara.

1. It has been selected as #HallaDailySnap on 6th Nov 2018 and featured on their website as cover image.
2. To promote public voting, shootdart.com used a screenshot of Udayan’s image that was featured as an entry on their website for their 2018 annual photography contest. Link: goo.gl/C5qfLh
3. Published in Photoscape of Asian Photography-Dec 2018 issue.
We are God
  4610
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We are God
Kulasekharapatnam
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
1/1000Sec-f/2.8-ISO1600-70mm-17Oct2018-15:48:51

Boy dressed up as a God during Kulasai Dasara.
Blind faith
  4609
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Blind faith
Kulasekharapatnam
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
1/125Sec-f/2.8-ISO2000-30mm-20Oct2018-04:57:02

Performing rituals with fire in the Kulasai Mutharammam Temple during Kulasai Dasara.
Phoenix
  4608
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Phoenix
Kulasekharapatnam
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
1/125Sec-f/5-ISO100-35mm-19Oct2018-17:21:19

Worshiping fire during Kulasai Dasara.

01. Accepted in Bangladesh International Salon-2018 [ppsbd.org/contest].
Worship
  4607
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Worship
Kulasekharapatnam
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
1/125Sec-f/8-ISO800-28mm-18Oct2018-17:10:53

Ritualistic dance during Kulasai Dasara.
Little avatar
  4606
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Little avatar
Kulasekharapatnam
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
1/3200Sec-f/2.8-ISO100-35mm-17Oct2018-11:18:57

Kid dressed up as a God during Kulasai Dasara.
The Painted God
  4605
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The Painted God
Kulasekharapatnam
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
1/250Sec-f/2.8-ISO1600-70mm-17Oct2018-15:55:05

Man painted himself as a Goddess during Kulasai Dasara.
Drink it up
  4604
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Drink it up
Kulasekharapatnam
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
1/1250Sec-f/2.8-ISO800-21mm-18Oct2018-16:28:48

A man taking a break while being dressed as a sidekick of a main God during Kulasai Dasara.
The heavenly abode
  4603
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The heavenly abode
Kulasekharapatnam
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
1/2500Sec-f/2.8-ISO200-28mm-18Oct2018-14:42:46

A man dressed up as a Goddess during Kulasai Dasara waiting for a worshipper to offer his prayers so he can get a donation.
Yellow vibes
  4602
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Yellow vibes
Kulasekharapatnam
Canon EOS 7D Mark II with Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
1/6000Sec-f/2.8-ISO200-70mm-18Oct2018-14:19:14

A visitor at Kulasai Dasara.
Repose
  4601
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Repose
Kulasekharapatnam
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
1/640Sec-f/2.8-ISO200-30mm-18Oct2018-14:06:16

A visitor at Kulasai Dasara.

01. Accepted in WPAI Circuit 2018-Delhi judging [wpaidelhi.com]
02. Accepted in Bangladesh International Salon-2018 [ppsbd.org/contest].
Avatar
  4600
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Avatar
Kulasekharapatnam
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
1/100Sec-f/11-ISO100-16mm-19Oct2018-14:45:14

Man painted himself as a God during Kulasai Dasara.
A little faith
  4599
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A little faith
Kulasekharapatnam
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
1/10Sec-f/22-ISO1600-20mm-18Oct2018-17:53:36

Kid dressed up as a God during Kulasai Dasara.
The Blue Goddess
  4598
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The Blue Goddess
Kulasekharapatnam
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
1/10Sec-f/13-ISO1000-16mm-18Oct2018-18:10:42

Man dressed up as a Goddess during Kulasai Dasara.
Kalaignar
  4597
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Kalaignar
Kulasekharapatnam
Canon EOS 7D Mark II with Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
1/250Sec-f/2.8-ISO100-170mm-18Oct2018-15:28:00

A family taking rest in their temporary tent made up with a political banner during Kulasai Dasara.
Blue chair
  4596
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Blue chair
Kulasekharapatnam
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
1/1250Sec-f/2.8-ISO400-32mm-18Oct2018-16:01:40

A local family placed a chair outside their home so any visitor can take some rest during Kulasai Dasara.
Sleep
  4595
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Sleep
Kulasekharapatnam
Canon EOS 7D Mark II with Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
1/750Sec-f/2.8-ISO200-70mm-18Oct2018-16:13:20

A tired visitor is taking a power nap during Kulasai Dasara.
Evil
  4594
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Evil
Kulasekharapatnam
Canon EOS 7D Mark II with Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
1/350Sec-f/2.8-ISO1600-102mm-17Oct2018-10:28:09

Man painted himself as a Goddess during Kulasai Dasara.
Small talk
  4593
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Small talk
Kulasekharapatnam
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
1/1250Sec-f/2.8-ISO320-35mm-18Oct2018-15:08:44

Two elderly visitors and a boy dressed up as a God is taking some rest during Kulasai Dasara.

01. Accepted in WPAI Circuit 2018-Delhi judging [wpaidelhi.com]
02. It has been selected as #HallaDailySnap on 5th Dec 2018 and featured on their website as cover image.
Divine hands
  4592
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Divine hands
Kulasekharapatnam
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
1/2000Sec-f/2.8-ISO640-16mm-20Oct2018-06:11:41

A local boy collected hands of Goddess Kali to take away as memento during Kulasai Dasara.
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