India’s Devout Glow in Orange

Book Buying

Book Buying

In India, the color orange and other warm tones like saffron and turmeric symbolize the quest for knowledge. Orange is associated with fire which has the power to burn away the darkness and thus brings light or knowledge.

All over India, Hindu’s holy men and ascetics wear orange and its variations. It is the color of purity. Though the purity of many of India’s holy men and ascetics may be dubious, their appearance certainly is arresting and each and everyone manages to have his own style.

Orange Glow

Orange Glow

Although he is dressed in orange, stylistically, for India at least, he is dressed in an ordinary manner. It is his face that attracts my interest.

In Meditation

In Meditation

This sadhu’s attire is lighter in color. Maybe his clothing was washed so often that it has faded into a pastel hue or maybe he prefers a paler palette. I doubt if he gives it a lot of consideration. A sadhu has given up all material concerns for a life of an ascetic. Typically, he lives off the benevolence of others who contribute to his pursuit of a spiritual existence by providing him with food and other necessities in exchange for his blessings. Their few possessions usually consist of a begging bowl and a blanket.

Mala Man

Mala Man

This sadhu has a collection of sacred prayer beads, known as malas, strung around his neck and wrist. They offer him protection and in a left-handed manner, make a fashion statement. With his spear-like walking stick and lime- yellow turban, he instantly grabbed my attention. I pointed to my camera. He nodded, smiled and stopped.





The mark on this woman’s forehead indicates that she is a follower of Vishnu. In this particular case, Lord Jagganath. She covers her head with a saffron-colored prayer shawl as part of her devotion.

India’s faithful display their devotion in many ways; each form catches our eye and for me, inspires awe. Awe for the passion and enthusiasm that one sees in every far-flung corner of this enormous land. In the West, we almost associate this kind of intense devotion with madness. To feel this joy and love and to show it so openly is a pleasure to witness and of course, a huge part of India’s great appeal.



About ninagrandiose

I am based in NYC but travel regularly to India and Mexico. Both of these countries feel like home. In India I scour the country in search of fabulous textiles to incorporate into my clothing designs. I sit back and let the ambiance and wonder of India seep into my consciousness so I can be inspired to write about what India is for me. I bring a limited number of people to India on exclusive and intimate tours of my favorite hangouts. In Mexico I take in the natural beauty that surrounds me and dance the night away. I constantly give thanks for all this and am pleased to share it all with you.
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10 Responses to India’s Devout Glow in Orange

  1. discoveling says:

    A very interesting and beautiful post!

    • ninagrandiose says:

      Thank you, discoveling , for your appreciation of this post, taking the time out to write and for the follow.

  2. keith sherr says:

    Love the color!

  3. Marie says:

    Beautiful portraits. I had wondered about the significance of orange.

  4. Thank you for capturing one beautiful aspect of India so well!

    • ninagrandiose says:

      Knowing that people out there, like yourself, appreciating my posts, is inspiring. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Dalo 2013 says:

    Great photos, and love the third shot. The colors of India always strikes me in such a positive way and then the people ~ nothing quite like the culture. The third shot brings all that in for me.

  6. ninagrandiose says:

    Thanks, Dalo. Yes, the third shot tells a compete story but I had no interaction with the subject and I especially like when that occurs but those may not necessarily be the best shots. How I enjoy the culture!

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