Archive for wrestling

A Physical State

Posted in Pehlwans from Benaras with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2013 by designldg

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“When an idea exclusively occupies the mind, it is transformed into an actual physical or mental state.”
(Swami Vivekananda – Indian Spiritual leader, 1863-1902)

This picture was shot inside the akhara facing the Ganges at Raj Ghat in Varanasi (Benaras) where this pehlwan follows a daily training at dawn.
The reflection in the mirror was providing a backlighting which I always enjoy to work with…

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© All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved.
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

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Physical Wisdom

Posted in Pehlwans from Benaras with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2013 by designldg

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“Our own physical body possesses a wisdom which we who inhabit the body lack.
We give it orders which make no sense.”
(Henry Miller – American Author and Writer, 1891-1980)

An inward moment with a pehlwan who was following his daily training inside the akhara facing the Ganges at Raj Ghat in Varanasi (Benaras).

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© All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved.
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

Replenishing Strength

Posted in Pehlwans from Benaras with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2013 by designldg

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“Inward calm cannot be maintained unless physical strength is constantly and intelligently replenished.”
(Buddha – Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, 563-483 B.C.)

A few days ago I went to an akhara early in the morning, it was a little windy like it is during those pre-monsoon days and the light was peculiar.
Somehow it was perfect for taking pictures of pehlwani training…

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© All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved.
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

Inward Calm

Posted in Pehlwans from Benaras with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 4, 2011 by designldg

© All rights reserved.

All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved.
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

“Inward calm cannot be maintained unless physical strength is constantly and intelligently replenished.”
(Buddha – Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.)

This picture was shot at the little akhara (gymnasia) located nearby Scindia ghat along the Ganges in Vanarasi (Benaras).
Like many people in the Eternal city this pehlwan (wrestler) comes here every morning at dawn or before sunset in order to perform his daily physical training routine.
Since the Mughal Era it became a way of living deeply connected to culture of Northern India, this art of wrestling is a synthesis of native malla-yuddha and Persian Varzesh-e Pahlavani.
Through time Western training methods and nomenclature from Iran and Europe were introduced into Pehlwani.
Wrestling competitions, known as dangals, held in villages can have their own rules variations.

The Effort that Matters

Posted in Pehlwans from Benaras with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2009 by designldg

© All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved.
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

“The one thing that matters is the effort.
It continues, whereas the end to be attained is but an illusion of the climber, as he fares on and on from crest to crest; and once the goal is reached it has no meaning”.
(Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – The Wisdom of the Sands, translated from French by Stuart Gilbert)

This young man is a pehlwan (Indian wrestler) and he is using a pair of wood painted cylinders of 45 Kg weight each called “jodi” for his daily training.
I took this picture last Thursday in the begining of the afternoon under 48° at the little akhara which not far from Aurangzeb’s mosque in Kashi, the oldest part of Varanasi (Benaras).

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The Intention to Understand Ourselves

Posted in Pehlwans from Benaras with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2009 by designldg

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Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
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“To transform the world, we must begin with ourselves; and what is important in beginning with ourselves is the intention.
The intention must be to understand ourselves and not to leave it to others to transform themselves or to bring about a modified change through revolution, either of the left or of the right.
It is important to understand that this is

 our responsibility, yours and mine…”
(Jiddu Krishnamurti)

Those are wood painted cylinders called “jodi”, each is 45 Kg weight.
They are used in twisting rotations by pehlwan during their physical training.
I took this picture in a little akhara which not far from Aurangzeb’s mosque in Kashi, the oldest part of Varanasi (Benaras).

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Towards the Akhara

Posted in Pehlwans & Gurus with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2009 by designldg

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Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

This is a view of the little akhara (gymnasia) which is lost in the fields near Sakalhida, a village in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh at a few minutes from Varanasi (Benaras).
I was there a few weeks ago in the middle of winter and early in the morning, before sunrise, at the time where a heavy fog is still darkening the atmosphere of the countryside.
It is also providing a hazy effect which in a way emphasizes the timeless touch of many of my images.

At that moment I didn’t know yet that I’ll meet amazing faces of several generations of pehlwans (Indian wrestlers) that I would enjoy to capture with my camera.
I couldn’t expect that aura of invigorating peace and tranquility that was at the other side of this lane.
This place, away from the crowded environment of urban India, is actualy the ideal location for an akhara.
At the shade of a tree, under the aroma of freshly moistened earth and the coolness of a refreshing breeze, strength is measured against strength and moves and counter moves are born and develop in sweat…

All the pictures are following this one.

“Vanity is so secure in the heart of man that everyone wants to be admired: even I who write this, and you who read this.”
(Blaise Pascal – French Mathematician, Philosopher and Physicist, 1623-1662)

This image was shot at Scindia Ghat along river Ganga in Varanasi (Benaras).
This young man was striking several poses in order to catch my attention so I could take a few snaps of him but I was pretending not to see him as I am mostly working on natural poses.
It was a Sunday afternoon before sunset and he came there to wash his laundry, his attitude was amazing, full of narcissism, each of his gesture was carrying vanity and pride…
After a while I couldn’t help laughing and I took a few pictures, in fact he knew that I was leaving the akhara nearby where I often take pictures of the pehlwani (wrestlers).

The pillar on the left belongs to the remains of a massive palace which used to stand on Scindhia ghat.
The entire structure has sunk several feet into the earth since its erection and is still gradually and slowly sinking.
Sometimes in the winter when the holy waters of the Ganges come very low it is possible to see it otherwise most of the time it stays underwater.

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