Guru Hanuman’s Akhara in Delhi

At the beginning of my trip in Rajasthan and Gujarat, I spent a few days exploring Delhi, with Tewfic El Sawy, who organized the expedition, Wink Willet and Tewfic’s friend Anamitra Chakladar,

a photojournalist who works with NDTV.

We visited the most famous wrestling school in India, Guru Hanuman’s Akhara. a Kushti Akhara (a traditional Indian mud pit wrestling arena), and spent a couple of hours learning about their life and photographing.

A door separates the Akhara from the outside world and opens into a small courtyard .The men wearing only a loin cloth, – pumped weights before entering the pit to learn the art of wrestling. The trainees, many of whom live on the premises, follow a strict regime, which begins early in the morning with a long run followed by exercises and weight training. I find one of the key elements to success in  any endeavor is perseverance and focus and it was clearly on display here. I asked “did the young men get to  go out in the world” and the answer was no, they lived a pure and simple life totally devoted to their training.

I am starting the second edit of the images now – looking for the individual stories I want to tell – seeing  how they fit together and what I have learned. There is an arc to  mentally processing  a trip just like there is an arc to the entire journey. At different points in the arc, as time passes,  different images become important to me.   I was using the lens baby on my Canon 5d Mark 2 for the first time here.

.Kushti Wrestler in Delhi

.Delhi Wrestlers

Then the infrared images, often my favorites, were  well suited for the atmosphere here. There is a timeless quality, an element of mystery added when using the infrared light spectrum.

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