Sabarimala pilgrimage through eye of the lens

PICTORIAL REPRESENTATION: Anil Kumar Deshpande preparing for the photo exhibition on Sabarimala and Ayyappa `deeksha'.  

S. Harpal Singh

Adilabad photographer chronicles rituals associated with the `deeksha'

300 photos depicting nuances of Ayyappa `deeksha'He has exposed 100 rolls during his 15-year effort

ADILABAD: When in Kerala, Adilabad photographer Anil Kumar Deshpande clubs his own focus with that of his camera's lens to produce exquisite quality still photographs on the sacred subject of Lord Ayyappa. Through the unique effort over the last 15 years, he has documented the history of temples associated with the Lord and pictorially chronicled the rituals associated with the very popular `deeksha'.

Photo exhibition

The photographer is organising an exhibition of nearly 300 photos depicting all the nuances connected with the subject in the last week of December. As an ardent devotee of the Lord, he has visited the sacred places of Lord Ayyappa and associate temples in Kerala. Every year, his month-long stay in January has yielded priceless pictures of `Gods own country' from the lens of his Nikon FM 3A. In all, he has exposed 100 rolls during his 15-year effort.

"When I first visited Sabarimala temple, I was struck by my own ignorance of the history and culture of the venerated place. I chose the pictorial way of learning and chronicling these themes because of my profession. I want all those making a pilgrimage to Sabarimala temple to have fairly good knowledge about the place and its importance before they land up in Kerala," stated the photographer of 20 years' experience.

Mr. Deshpande reeled out the names of revered places and persons associated with the annual pilgrimage. He talked about the erstwhile Rajahs who had built the famous Sabarimala shrine and the present day custodians, one of whom was Bhaskaran Pillai, the Guruswamy who died recently. The photographer said it would take him one hour to explain the culture and history of the lord to the visitors at the exhibition.