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.
SunriseMan enjoying his holy morning ritual during the early morning hours.
Family FunFamily enjoying their holy morning dip.
Ladies in RedWomen dressed in red traditional Indian clothes during their morning ceremoni.
Morning RitualsPeople doing their holy morning rituals, bathing and praying.
RefreshedMan enjoying his refreshing holy morning shower.
The Holy DipWife pouring water on her husband.
PujaHusband and wife enjoying their morning prayers (puja).
A Touch of Holy WaterWoman bathing herself.
A Morning SmileTwo friends smiling and enjoying their holy dip.
PlaySisters playing in the water.
PlaySisters playing in the water.
Family PlayDaugther resisting while father drops his child into the water.
Family TimeBoy posing for the camera in front of his family.
SplashA man having fun jumping into the water.
Morning SceneTypical scene at the Rameshwaram shore, Chai wallah looking for customers, cows hanging around, people enjoying the view.
Chai TimePeople enjoying their newspapers and chai.
Hindu GodWomam showing figure of hindu god.
CricketChildren playing cricket. Rameshwaram tv tower can be seen in the background.
Ramar Paadam TempleWomen selling food in front of Ramar Paadam temple.
Portrait of a CowA tender moment of sunset light touching a cow.
Chai at the Edge of the WorldChai stall next to a demolished building.
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.