Celebration of Faith: Play, Performance and Pleasure on the Wari

in Image Gallery
Published on: 13 April 2022

Kamesh Bharadwaj (photographs), Kartikay Khetarpal (curation and captions)

Kamesh Bharadwaj is a documentary photographer and film-maker based in Delhi and Bangalore. His interests lie primarily in stories related to environment, culture and their various intersections in Indian society. Through his photographs, he hopes to engage in conversations around climate change, action and justice, and document its immediate and indirect effects in the Global South. He is currently pursuing a masters in Documentary Photography from Sri Aurobindo Centre of Arts and Communication.

Kartikay is a writer, researcher, and digital media consultant. He currently works at Nayi Dhara, a digital platform dedicated to Hindi literature, where he produces the Nayi Dhara Samvaad, which is a series of online talks with contemporary Hindi writers. He also scripts and hosts a podcast on nature in Hindi poetry called Khule Aasmaan Mein Kavita. He completed the Young India Fellowship and a Masters in Liberal Studies at Ashoka University in 2017-19, where his topic of research was the Krishna poetry of Muslim Urdu poets. At Sahapedia, he was the Research Associate for the project, 'Mapping Bhakti and Sufi Traditions of India', in 2019-20.

The wari plays out as a huge festival where everything from the palkhi to the rath (chariot) which carries it, the venues for their halt, and the images of Vitthal and Rukmini are dressed up to the hilt. Most Warkaris themselves though, given their limited means, are dressed in simple and unostentatious garb. What they lack in accoutrements however, they make up for in their zeal and vigour. Despite walking for tens of kilometers everyday they are never short of energy, always ready to swing to the beats of the mridangam or spin in abandonment during a game of fugdi holding on to the hands of their fellow Warkaris. 


Sahapedia is grateful to Bajaj Autos Pvt. Ltd. for the grant that made possible the documentation for this photo essay.