Festivals and Religions

Holi, Diwali (largest Hindu festival), Lohri, Christmas, Dussehra (burning of mammoth Ravana effigies, filled with fire-crackers), Id-ut-Fitr, Id-ul-zuha (Bakr Id), Muharram, Durga Puja, Ganesh Chaturthi, Jewish Hanukkah and Parsi festivals, and a variety of festivals and rituals in great detail from Hindi, Muslim, Christian, Zoroastrian / Parsi, tribal and animist religions and belief systems.

Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra, in August-September 2001. Three weeks of extensive coverage of this once-in-twelve-year festival that takes a procession of pilgrims on a hazardous and arduous climb from 6000 feet altitude to the 18, 000+ feet high Himalayan tarn at Roopkund, at the base of Trishul and Nanda Devi, among the highest peaks in the Western Himalaya. Footage of Trishul, Nanda Ghunti and Chaukhamba peaks. Also, the famous buggyals (grasslands and meadows) of Garhwal – Bedni and Ali Buggyal. Roopkund lake has perfectly preserved scattered bones, skulls and skeletons, dating back 400-600 years. The cause of their death has been speculated and studied widely and a recent theory puts it down to a large hailstorm that caused massive hailstones, thus crushing the skulls of the camping pilgrims. We have extensive shots of the excavated and exposed leathered and naturally mummified bodies, often replete with footwear, and the raw mountain environment of the lake, rocky meadows and high Himalayan peaks.

The pilgrimage procession follows the progress of a four-horned goat that has to be initially found for the pilgrimage to take place. The goat leads the party of tens of thousands of people from the low Himalaya through this long trek to the high Himalaya, at which point it is allowed to wander off into the high altitude meadows, on its own. Imagery includes a lot of festive pomp, temple offerings, religious fervour, chanting and people in trance-like situations, with frenzied and dervish like dancing. (Format: Digital Betacam, 14 hours.)

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