01 March 2017

Fraternizing with Holed Ears

Gorakhnath was an influential founder of the Nath Hindu monastic movement in India. His Shaivite followers are powerful monks and yogis found in India's Himalayan states, the western and central states and the Gangetic plains as well as in Nepal. They are called Gorakhnathis, Darshanis or Kanphatasthey venerate the Hindu deity Shiva and are famous for having been part of India’s warrior ascetic movement since the 14th-century CE, to militarily resist the Islamic and British colonial rule and develop martial arts.

Gorakhnathis are distinguished by their huge earrings which they wear in the hollows of their ears, and their name Kanphata refers to their unique practice of having the cartilage of their earlobes split for the insertion of those earrings. It is said that the tradition of splitting the ears originated with Gorakhnath himself.
In the final stage of their ceremony of initiation a specially chosen guru splits the central hollows of both ears with a two edged knife. The slits are plugged with sticks of neem wood; and, after the wounds have healed, large rings are inserted. These are a distinctive symbol of the yogi's faith. The rings are made of various substances; the rule seems to be that the initiate first wears rings of clay. Some yogis continue to wear earthen rings. But, since these are easily broken, others of more durable substances are usually substituted (e.g. rhinoceros horn and leather, ivory, wood, jade, silver).

matt hahnewald photography; facing the world; gorakh nath; monk; monastery; bhavnath; bhavnath fair; character; face; earrings; ears; holed; eyes; facial expression; eye contact; stubbly; turban; orange; consent; empathy; rapport; respect; traveling; religious; traditional; cultural; hinduism; festival; event; mela; devotee; pilgrim; junagadh; gujarat; asian; indian; western india; one person; male; elderly; man; picture; photo; face perception; physiognomy; educational; nikon d3100; nikkor af-s 50mm f/1.8g; prime lens; 50mm lens; 4x3 aspect ratio; horizontal orientation; street; portrait; closeup; headshot; seven-eighths view; outdoors; color; posing; authentic; powerful; determined; focused; manly; kanphata; yogi; darshani; gorakhnathi; shaivism; splitted ears

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matt hahnewald photography; facing the world; gorakh nath; monk; monastery; bhavnath; bhavnath fair; character; face; earrings; ears; holed; eyes; facial expression; eye contact; stubbly; turban; orange; consent; empathy; rapport; respect; traveling; religious; traditional; cultural; hinduism; festival; event; mela; devotee; pilgrim; junagadh; gujarat; asian; indian; western india; one person; male; elderly; man; picture; photo; face perception; physiognomy; educational; nikon d3100; nikkor af-s 50mm f/1.8g; prime lens; 50mm lens; 4x3 aspect ratio; horizontal orientation; street; portrait; closeup; headshot; full-face view; outdoors; color; posing; authentic; smiling; determined; focused; manly; kanphata; yogi; darshani; gorakhnathi; shaivism; splitted ears

matt hahnewald photography; facing the world; gorakh nath; monk; monastery; bhavnath; bhavnath fair; character; face; earrings; ears; holed; eyes; facial expression; eye contact; full beard; turban; orange; consent; empathy; rapport; respect; traveling; religious; traditional; cultural; hinduism; festival; event; mela; devotee; pilgrim; junagadh; gujarat; asian; indian; western india; one person; male; middle-aged; man; picture; photo; face perception; physiognomy; educational; nikon d3100; nikkor af-s 50mm f/1.8g; prime lens; 50mm lens; 4x3 aspect ratio; horizontal orientation; street; portrait; closeup; headshot; seven-eighths view; outdoors; color; posing; authentic; smiling; powerful; determined; manly; kanphata; yogi; darshani; gorakhnathi; shaivism; red; splitted ears

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matt hahnewald photography; facing the world; gorakh nath; monk; monastery; bhavnath; bhavnath fair; character; face; earrings; ears; holed; eyes; facial expression; eye contact; full beard; turban; pink; consent; empathy; rapport; respect; traveling; religious; traditional; cultural; hinduism; festival; event; mela; devotee; pilgrim; junagadh; gujarat; asian; indian; western india; one person; male; old; man; senior; picture; photo; face perception; physiognomy; educational; nikon d3100; nikkor af-s 50mm f/1.8g; prime lens; 50mm lens; 4x3 aspect ratio; horizontal orientation; street; portrait; closeup; headshot; seven-eighths view; over-the-shoulder look; outdoors; color; posing; authentic; determined; manly; kanphata; yogi; darshani; gorakhnathi; shaivism; two people; silver; eyeglasses; splitted ears

matt hahnewald photography; facing the world; gorakh nath; monk; monastery; bhavnath; bhavnath fair; character; face; earrings; ears; holed; eyes; facial expression; eye contact; full beard; turban; orange; consent; empathy; rapport; respect; traveling; religious; traditional; cultural; hinduism; festival; event; mela; devotee; pilgrim; junagadh; gujarat; asian; indian; western india; one person; male; middle-aged; man; picture; photo; face perception; physiognomy; educational; nikon d3100; nikkor af-s 50mm f/1.8g; prime lens; 50mm lens; 4x3 aspect ratio; horizontal orientation; street; portrait; closeup; headshot; seven-eighths view; outdoors; color; posing; authentic; smiling; kanphata; yogi; darshani; gorakhnathi; shaivism; long hair; smiling eyes; splitted ears

matt hahnewald photography; facing the world; gorakh nath; monk; monastery; bhavnath; bhavnath fair; character; face; earrings; ears; holed; eyes; facial expression; eye contact; full beard; turban; white; consent; empathy; rapport; traveling; religious; traditional; cultural; hinduism; festival; event; mela; devotee; pilgrim; junagadh; gujarat; asian; indian; western india; one person; male; young; man; picture; photo; face perception; physiognomy; educational; nikon d3100; nikkor af-s 50mm f/1.8g; prime lens; 50mm lens; 4x3 aspect ratio; horizontal orientation; street; portrait; closeup; headshot; full-face view; outdoors; color; posing; authentic; focused; kanphata; yogi; darshani; gorakhnathi; shaivism; dreadlocks; french beard; boyish; serious; splitted ears

matt hahnewald photography; facing the world; gorakh nath; monk; monastery; bhavnath; bhavnath fair; character; face; earrings; ears; holed; eyes; facial expression; eye contact; full beard; turban; white; consent; empathy; rapport; respect; traveling; religious; traditional; cultural; hinduism; festival; event; mela; devotee; pilgrim; junagadh; gujarat; asian; indian; western india; one person; male; middle-aged; man; picture; photo; face perception; physiognomy; educational; nikon d3100; nikkor af-s 50mm f/1.8g; prime lens; 50mm lens; 4x3 aspect ratio; horizontal orientation; street; portrait; closeup; headshot; seven-eighths view; outdoors; color; posing; authentic; smiling; kanphata; yogi; darshani; gorakhnathi; shaivism; friendly; splitted ears

Street portraits of Indian Gorakhnathis in Matt Hahnewald's

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