I arrive late in the afternoon at Rameswaram, just around sunset time. I head to the shore which faces the east, meaning there is not any sunset to be viewed here. This is definitely a sunrise kind of place. I notice a religious structure, and remember hearing somewhere that Rameswaram is considered the Varanasi of the south. I make a decision to get up early the next morning to check this out.
I get up around 5.30am – I do not want to miss this sunrise! And I have a feeling that the best pictures will be have to be taken inside the water. So I make the logistic preparations, by leaving my stuff at home, putting a bit of money in a plastic sleeve and I head off. The moment I reach the shore I feel that things are happening here. Already the water is full of people. I stand and watch a little. Feeling shy. This is a holy moment for these people. Is it OK to go into the water?
The photographer inside me takes over, and I leave my shoes on the shore and go into the water. I am well received by the people – mostly they are amused to see this white boy with his tiny little camera. The light is amazing. But moody as always. After a few minutes in the water, I simply fall in love with this place, and I know that this is the place where I will take the majority of my photographs in Rameswaram.
I spend three days in Rameswaram, and every morning I go to the shore to photograph people during their holy dips. I have a lot of interesting conversations with people, and I feel very relaxed. It is great to see people who have travelled from all over the region to enjoy this special place. I have a little incident with a man that thinks that I should definitely be showered in this holy water. I say no thank you, but he insists and starts pouring water on me. I have to run away to escape his misguided hospitality. My body do not mind the holy water, but my very electronic Fuji x100s camera for sure is not a friend of the water!! The camera spends a good few hours in a bag of rice soaking out the holy moisture. Luckily it survives this incident.
Rameswaram has a lot of temples and religious things to offer, but I do not spend much time with this. I keep being drawn to the water. This is where I want to make my photographs. A special experience with amazing light.