Festivals and community events are among the favorite subjects of documentary photographers for a good number of reasons. Not only do they serve as windows to various cultures and beliefs around the world, but also reveal different aspects of humanity. In her collection of photos of the Haldi Festival, however, Navi Mumbai-based photographer Akshaya B. also shows us that festivals are perfect for those who want to explore and play with vivid hues in their photography. If you’re looking to add some color in your work, this Indian festival is nothing short of a golden opportunity!
According to Akshaya, the annual Vitthal Birdev Yatra, also known as the Haldi Festival, is observed in Pattan Kodoli village near the city of Kolhapur, in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The festival celebrates the birth anniversary (janmotsav) of Vitthal Birdev Maharaj, a reincarnation of Vishnu and the family deity of the shepherd communities of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, and Andra Pradesh. The celebrations attract thousands of devotees to the village to check out the streets filled with stalls of food, entertainment, and local handicrafts.
However, the most striking part of the festival is, without a doubt, the bhandara or turmeric powder turning the entire village golden. Some say the powder only looks very similar to turmeric, but has no smell. It’s also believed to have medicinal properties, so the devotees collect the bhandara offered to the deity to use on auspicious occasions and cure any illness. Akshaya’s photos show various scenes where the bhandara covers all the festival-goers, its vibrant golden yellow adding another layer of energy to the revelry.
If you’re looking to get into documentary photography, let this collection serve as a reminder of how colorful celebrations like Haldi Festival make golden opportunities to practice.
Visit Akshaya B.’s Behance portfolio to see more of her work.
All photos by Akshaya B. Used with Creative Commons permission.