I am a photographer with over 10 years experience, who is constantly driven by the opportunity of using a picture in an intercultural dialog. I have successfully completed a number of projects including: Click Academy- promoting social empowerment and giving children possibility to act in Poland, and Great Britain; Romani Click- statement of the Romani Communities on their heritage in Poland and in context of migrant communities in Great Britain; Meeting-talking with Anil – dialogue over the economic and cultural borders; Martushka Fromeast Documentary in Poland, Ukraine, Morocco and Amarnath- Hindu Yatra.
My passion for the Himalayan culture started in an early childhood when my uncle was telling me stories about the threat, sacrum and adventure in the mountains.
When I visited Himalaya for the first time I was overwhelmed by the meaning of the stories created, promoted and connected to rivers, lakes, mountains.
I realized that Hindus and Buddhists perceive the Himalayas as a highly sacred and a metaphor for seeing God in every atom of the universe.
My professional experience and personal attachment have driven me to start a new project called “ Hindu Yatras” aiming to enhance and promote Yatra heritage globally.
I will do that by activating local community to produce a set of pictures telling local stories. I will also use my own skills to enrich the whole project and create a high quality photo book published in Europe, mobile exhibition and multimedia presentation distributed worldwide.
What drives me
My project will reflect on the interconnections of modernity and religious beliefs. In Europe a forward-looking person must have a secular world-views; religious people are often considered backwards. However, in other places in the world people are predominantly religious.
Ryszard Kapuscinski, famous Polish traveller and writer, once reviled that during his journeys outside Europe he had never met a single human being who would not believe in something.
Europe is only a small part of the Earth.
So does that actually mean that the world is backward and Europe is modern?
How will I do that?
In order to prepare in - depth photo narrative on Hindu Yatras I will work with the local community of Syabru Bensi village in Nepal in a participatory setting as well as I will make traditional documentary photography essays during Gosaikunda Yatra and Nanda Devi Raj Yatra. The outcome of the project will be a mobile exhibition, a photo book and a multimedia presentation of the material collected.
All the collected money will go towards covering the costs of preparation of the pictures: tickets to Asia, costs of internal travels, costs of hiring local guides for Yatras and a translator.
The project consist of two phases:
1. Participatory work in Nepal
Syabru Bensi is one of the two entrances onto the trekking route to the Gosaikunda Lake, a famous site for Hindi pilgrimage where Shamans, Buddhists and Hindu people go together to pray.
I will provide interesting extracurricular activities for a group of young people living in Syabru Bensi village in Lamtang region. The project activities will help to preserve the local heritage of the Tibetan Buddhists . In July 2013, over a period of 12 days, I will run a series of photography workshops for 12 children living in the village. Gaining desired level of funds the results of the young people efforts will be shown in the public space in the village, on the trekking route to the Gosaikunda Lake during the Jainai Purima celebrations.Subsequently the project exhibitions in Kathmandu will help to communicate local heritage of Lamtang region in Nepal.
At the beginning we will gather local stories on the Goisakunda Lake through interviews with local elderly people in the village. The children will get digital cameras and will be asked to capture their everyday life. Afterwards, they will prepare photo illustration of the local legend on the Gosaikunda Lake. They will also conduct interviews on the heritage of the region and family photographs.
2. Documentary work
A. Gosaikunda Pilgrimage
The Gosaikunda Lake is situated at 4380 meters above the sea level. During Jainai Purima celebrations every year approximately 25 000 pilgrims set on a journey to the lake to undertake their ritual ablution. Gosainkunda Lake is one of the most renowned lake in Hindu religion. According to a myth, the large rock in the center of the lake is the remain of the Lord Shiva's shrine. A Hindu religious book says that Lord Shiva dipped into the Gosainkunda to lessen the excruciating pain he was feeling after he had swallowed the poison to save the world. And therefore the pond was named Gosainkunda. Followers of the Hindu faith believe that if a person bathes and dips into the pond he/she can easily reach nirvana. This belief has prompted thousands of pilgrims to visit Gosainkunda to take a dip in the water during the religious festivals on Janai Purnima.
B. Nanda Devi Raj Yatra
It is one of the longest and most difficult pilgrimages in the world: it is a three-week barefoot journey of 164 miles in Indian Himalaya, led by a four-horned ram during a foul weather at the end of the rainy season. Raj Yatra is a very rare event. It will start on August 29th 2013 after a gap of 13 years. This 280-kilometre pilgrimage takes the Himalayan Goddess Nanda Devi from her maternal home to her matrimonial home in Mount Kailash. After traversing rain-swollen rivers, dangerous windswept passes, and terrifying ice fields, pilgrims reach the lake Rupkund, located at 15 000 feet and surrounded by hundreds of human skeletons. They then cross a narrow vertical spot called "the Path of Death" and proceed to the lake of the fire sacrifice, Homkund, where - according to the faithful - the four-horned ram leaves the procession and finds its way, unaided, to the summit of Mount Trishul, which is called Kailash by the local people. A deep feeling of faith and reverence for Nanda Devi in Himalayan folklore reflects the respect held for women. Yatra combines obscure faith, mysteries and thrills with a flood of devotees.
Risks and challenges
Both pilgrimages take place during a monsoon and will be held in high altitude. These journeys are very challenging physically and require employing the qualified guides as well as donkey to help us carry our equipment. We have been working on adapting our bodies to the new conditions for the past few months – before first of the Yatra starts. We will also proceed contact with the Nepali partner who is responsible for recruitment of the children to participate in the workshops’ series.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)