The Sadhus of Rishikesh

I passed him quietly at first, then few steps later, walked back to him. “Ek photo lu?” I asked. “Haan” he said, nodding his head. Unfortunately, he batted his eyelid just when I clicked.

They wander in a spiritual quest
Living on the generosity of strangers
Their appearance, in itself
A form of artistic expression
An ode to the god they worship

Some have vermilion
Smeared on their forehead
Others have sandalwood ash
Some adorn saffron robes
Others black loincloths

They wear chains and bracelets
Made of strings of beads 
Chanting the name of the divine
All day and night
Beads in hands, prayers on lips

I wonder where they come from
I know where they are going
Led by their spiritual quest
To a place where they 
Do not want to be found

These devout holy men
Bask in the sunshine
Wander on the streets
Of Haridwar and Rishikesh
Dip in the holy Ganga

Their appearance is bold
Their devotion, strong
Their ways of worshiping, different