This sadhu was meditatiing, in divine bliss, at the corner of Prayag ghat along the Ganges in Varanais (Benaras).
He is a daśnāmī sannyāsin, an Hindu Śaiva ascetic who belongs to one of the 10 orders (daśnāmī, “ten names”) established by the philosopher Śaṅkara in the 8th century ad and still flourishing in India today.
Paying particular allegiance to Lord Shiva, this man is trying to resemble the God, the Master of Yogis, as he is known through ancient myths and popular legends.
He wears a mark (tilaka), made with ash from a cremation fire, consisting of three horizontal bands across the forehead and on other parts of their body, and a necklace-rosary consisting of 108 rudrākṣa seeds.
In emulation of Lord Shiva, he has extremely long strands of hair (jata), regarded as the ‘seat’ of his supernatural powers.
Those hair are tied in a topknot with a snake which I realized much later was alive and moving.
In the evening I was with my friend Varun who took pictures with me that day and we saw on the computer screen that the snake took several positions from a picture to another.
This is a link to Varun’s version: