No Direction Home

Hindus have always associated the river Ganga with remission of sins and nirvana. Gangasagar or the Sagar Island lies on the mouth of the river where it drains into the Bay of Bengal. Every year, on the day of Makar Sankranti, when the sun makes a transition from Sagittarius to Capricorn, hundreds of thousands of Hindus make the pilgrimage to the island to take a holy dip in the Ganga and offer puja at the Kapil Muni Temple.

The most auspicious time for the holy dip is generally between between 4:30 AM and 6.00 AM. Between the winter morning chill, the gusts of wind and the cold water dips, it is positively freezing on the fairgrounds. Inspite of this the magnitude of the congregation is second only to the Kumbh Mela

Every year thousands of elderly pilgrims get lost while taking the holy dip. A lot of them are abandoned by family members who’re unable or unwilling to bear their burden. A majority of these lost people are illiterate and don’t have the money to make their way back home. This photo essay documents the suffering of these people - lost and shivering - abandoned on a cold winter morning