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Photo Essay

Sanjay Das

Tarpan or Tarpana means remembrance and has been formed from the root word ‘Trup’ which means satisfying others. The day is considered the day of remembrance of departed souls of family members and people pay obeisance to their forefathers on the banks of the river Ganga in Bengal. This day also heralds the beginning of preparations for Durga Puja Festival and is celebrated as mahalaya, marking the end of ‘Pitri Paksha’ and beginning of ‘Devi Paksha’, inviting Goddess Durga to descend on earth. Pitri Paksha is a 16–lunar day period in Hindu calendar when Hindus pay homage to their ancestor (Pitrs)

The objective of performing this ritual is that the deceased ancestor’s souls whose names are pronounced while performing Tarpan, should bestow happiness and blessings on us. While performing Tarpan at the riverside, one should stand in the river so that the water level touches the belly button or one should perform Tarpan by sitting on the banks of the river. The ritual is performed on an empty stomach and a dried grass twig (Kush) is necessary for performing Tarpan, while food and sweets are offered to the souls of ancestors.

The images showcased here are a part my seven year project, a Photo Essay on Bengal, focusing on its cultural heritage and rituals. As a Travel Photographer, India’s rich cultural diversity and its many unique customs and traditions have always been a major source of inspiration for me. my endeavor has been to bring forth the untold stories that this country has to offer and showcase them to the world at large. The objective is to create imagery that tells a story – in color, in texture, in light and in shadow and form a unique blend, which is spiritually as well as mentally rewarding. my works are a merger of theoretical and conceptual assertions with experiences, interests or fascination which finally forms the image and its meaning. As an advertising professional turned Fine art Photographer, I completed my initial qualification from College of Art, New Delhi. Photography developed as a passion in my early college days and ever since my involvement with photography has spanned more than two decades.

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