\nTravelling Godmen are wanderers that travel from village to village, restricting themselves to a particular geographical area (usually dictated by the language).\nThey sell spirituality and its benefits in different forms. There is no one place in which they may be found \u2013 except the occasional religious fair \u2013 and therefore it is a matter of \u2018luck\u2019 or \u2018chance\u2019 (or of \u2018luck-by-chance\u2019 as said in the special form of indlish)to come across these travelling mendicants.\nThe following pictures were taken on serendipitous encounters across 5 years in India \u2013\u00a0 an idea of the rarity of finding these people.\nFirst is a couple that belongs to a group seen in Maharashtra. The women provide the sound effects with the drum that is \u2018rubbed\u2019 by a stick (not beaten), while the men create a beat with the jhanjhars(bells) on their feet, and dance in a trance like fashion as they whip themselves with the heavy rope. They provide spiritual services through fortune telling which usually contains a good dose of negativity, but for a small fee paid in the form of faith and fanams, they offer to save your souls. Note the beautiful colours and contrast of their dress and costume !\n\nAnother two boys from a similar \u2018back-whipping\u2019 group from South India:\n\n\n\n\nOne more whipper\n\nBack whipper\n\nNext are two travelling godmen encountered in Goa, a place they were exploring for the first time with the aim of spreading \u2018jan \u2013 jagruti\u2019 or enlightenment among the people. They walk about in residential areas, early in the morning, with castanet-like musical instruments singing bhajans or hymns in deep captivating voices that filled up the neighbourhood with enchantment!! Their hymns are all devoted to Krishna / Vasudev and they call themselves Vasudeva Janaa, hail from the Pandharpur area, and have forsaken the \u2018householder\u2019 life to spread enlightenment. Amazing experience to be woken up by their clear beautiful singing!\n\n\n\nEncountered next were the ladies\u00a0 from Karnatka \u2013 Shaivite worshippers of Yellamma, whose portable deity they carry from village to village and receive money from people as offerings to the goddess and her son. Language, unfortunately became a barrier in finding out more about this group.\n\n\n\n\nAfter a gap I cam across another pair of Vasudeva Jana \u2013 this time in Mumbai \u2013 2009 \u2013 where I managed to shoot pictures of an ON-THE-ROAD counselling session.\n\n\n\n\nThe last set is that of the whipping boys with the women \u2013 carrying photographs instead of deities \u2013 encountered in Vile Parle in 2009.\nMay 2011 :The light-green eyed soothsayer from Warangal Andhra Pradesh with his grey-eyed wife set up shop near my home in Bombay. A passer-by stopped to ask his fortune and the soothsayer spent about half an hour with him. The little shop they set up included interesting items like peacock feathers, the scalp of a bear or goat, bones and roots and herbs along with red and yellow powders\u2026. all very intriguing and curious objects brought in to create a mystic air and evoke faith in the un-understandable!\n\nThe Soothsayer counselling a passer-by\n\n\nThe soothsayer\u2019s wife with the \u2018tools of trade\u2019 \u2013 herbs, roots, scalp, bones and feathers\n\n\n\nThe light eyed gypsy soothsayer from Warangal, Andhra Pradesh\n\nThis photoessay \u201chopefully\u201d isn\u2019t complete yet\u2026.am looking forward to experiencing and sharing more of these intriguing & hard-to-find groups of people \u2026\n***\nFeb 2013\n\nAsking passers-by for offerings in exchange for blessings\n\n\nRead a related article on the Street Shrines of India here\njm\nThe post Travelling Godmen \u2013 the Spiritual Healers of India appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.