India’s omnipresent “sleepers” can accost the visitor in a huge variety of situations. The wide boulevard, Grand Road, that leads from the Jagannath Temple complex in Puri is lined with endless souvenir and trinket stalls that cater to the thousands of Hindu pilgrims who flock here from all over India. Puri is one of the Char Dham, the four abodes of the gods that every Hindu aspires to visit at least once in their lifetime.
As in other sacred places in India like Varanasi and Rishikesh, Puri is charged with intensity and religious fervor. There’s no better place to witness this than on the Grand Road. After a visit to the temple, the pilgrims gather in large groups and stroll the length of this broad boulevard, stopping in front of the stalls, carefully selecting their mementos. When I came across this merchant fast asleep in his stall, I was very much taken aback and couldn’t resist capturing another “sleeper” in repose.