Jamadagni’s Temple: The Real Full Moon Festival

Jamadagni’s Temple: The Real Full Moon Festival

am travelling to Malana, an ancient, solitary village tucked
away in the upper reaches of the Himalayas. Wedged in the Parvati
valley of Himachal Pradesh in India, I have to trek across narrow,
precipitous trails for hours on end; painterly views ease our aches
and pains at varying junctures.

The aim of my wandering is to photograph the festival of Malana
Shaun, celebrated on 15 August every year. Documenting this
spiritual pilgrimage, I capture images of Malanese people and
outsiders connecting in union and spirit to worship the same god,
Jamadagni Rishi.

A rich storehouse of fables, myths and legends, Malana’s holy
mountains echo with music during this festival.
In rhythmic time, men begin to dance and draw out their chillums
(straight conical pipes) to smoke potent Malana cream.

A place, steeped in history, Malana people are said to be
descendants of Alexander the Great’s army. Believing themselves to
be pure Aryan (Indo-Iranian), the language spoken here is Kanashi,
a mixture of Sanskrit and Tibetan
dialects, and that is said to be left by the devil as a

Suspicion and ritual is woven into daily life. The children of
the village are most fearful of “outsiders” because of their
supposed impurity, believing their negative energies will be passed
onto them if they are come into physical contact. In these
instances, sheep will be sacrificed to restore purity in the

On the second full moon following their birth, newborn children
are showered in ice-cold water at night, directly under the light
of the moon. A practice which is particularly difficult for
infants, many will not survive. Those who do are declared as strong
enough for the climate; they are the true members of the Malana

@clarke_carly | carlyclarkephotography.co.uk

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