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  Flowers of Faith:
Devtas of the Kullu Valley

by SpacedOutSpace
photography by SpacedOutSpace
ISBN: 978-0-9879132-0-3

According to legend, after a pilgrimage to Mount Kailash in the Himalayas, Maharishi Jamdagni was returning to his hermitage at Malana. On his head, he carried a basket containing eighteen images of different gods. As he crossed the Chanderkhani Pass, he came upon a fierce storm. While he struggled to stay on his feet, Maharishi Jamdagni's basket was thrown from his head, scattering the images to distant places. When the hill people found the images, they saw them take shape and form as gods, or devtas, and began to worship the deities. Thus, legend has it, idol-worship began in the Kullu Valley.

The tenth day of the new moon in October is the only time that the Kullu devtas are assembled in one place. Flowers of Faith is a photographic archive of many of the Kullu devtas , a kind of reference book that records the beautiful phenomenon of faith, which, like a flower's fragrance, wafts across the great Himalayas.

The composition of the photographs in this book has not been altered. My intention was to present the devtas exactly as one would see them in their tents during the Dusshera Festival. Nothing was repositioned or moved to create a “better composition” than what the devotees arranged, because recognition of their bhavana , or faith, was of paramount importance. The experience for you is the same as for me: no reflectors, no light stands—just your own inner reflection. These photographs are authentic, and I hope they reveal the sentiments of the devotees of these devtas —their vision of God.

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