Photo of the Day - 14th July  2016

Where the photo was taken?  

 Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Rajasthan -  India

Story of the photo 


 These 31 female hand prints can be found on the fort wall of Mehrangarh Fort Rajasthan. It can be found very close to the Fort gate known as 'Loha Pol'. This is a memorial of the royal women who performed the ritual "Sati". For those who do not know about the ritual - "Sati" was the practiced by which a women commits suicide by jumping into the funeral pyre of her husband. Unfortunately, the practice was so common in ancient India. From several ancient accounts, Sati was sometimes voluntary, but there are even cases were relatives threw the women into the flames. This photo is the Sati memorial of the Mehrangarh fort. After the demise of the King, each queen gets ready for her final voyage. She wears the royal attire and queenly ornaments and follows the funeral procession of the King, starting from the Fort. Just before she passes through the Fort gate for the last time, she dips their hand in vermilion and make a hand print on the fort wall. Vermilion is a red pigment worn by Indian women on their forehead to indicate that she is married. It is an irony, that with the same vermilion she makes her final mark. After she makes the prints, she quietly pass through the Fort gates and keeps removing her ornaments and distributes to the subjects on the way. By this way as they reach the funeral ground, she gets rid of their worldly possessions and commits suicide on the funeral pyre of her husband. A women is considered Goddess after committing Sati. The original vermilion hand prints are embossed and worshiped. I found it very difficult to stand in front of these hand prints. As women, all memories of centuries of oppression of womankind came to my mind. I was wondering, how old the queens would be? where they actually prepared to die? What they would have gone through while printing the hand marks? How they got the courage to take that last journey? 

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