Human Pyramids

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope the holidays are treating everyone well. I am finally getting time to catch up on images I took, well, in September!

I woke up this past September 2, and a friend told me to take my camera and go outside. Someone had strung wires between the apartment buildings and hung clay pots from the wires. The previously deserted streets would suddenly be swarming with hundreds of young men wearing colorful uniforms. As I stepped out of my apartment holding my camera, a woman on a scooter stops and says, “Are you looking for the pyramids? Get on! I’ll take you!”

The street is blocked by the massive crowd of young men. Everyone’s attention is on the center where men are climbing on top of each other and standing on shoulders. Faces grimace and everyone yells. They are trying to make a human pyramid tall enough to reach the clay pots. This is Dahi Handi!

The festival celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna.

The pyramid collapses and everyone rushes to leave; it’s on to the next competition. In the rush, a man grabs a hold of me and tells me to get on his motorcycle. “Wait, I’ll go get my bike and follow you,” I tell him. When I return with my motorcycle a man jumps on behind me, “Go!! Follow them!” he yells into my ear.

I spend the rest of the morning and most of the afternoon photographing one pyramid competition after another, all over the northern suburbs of Mumbai.

Just another day living in India.

More Photos After the Break!

These are the helmets the top man wears to protect against a head injury if he hits the ground.

This is how the teams are transported from one competition to another.

The goal is to reach the clay pot and smash it, letting the contents of buttermilk spill over all of the contestants.

The winning teams receive money rewards at some of the competitions. This check equals about $120.

The top man smashes the pot and the team is covered in buttermilk.

One of the supports slips and the tower starts to collapse

In this detail of the above photo you see the top man in the black shorts falling all the way from the top and the man in the green shorts falling head first. The top boy was only shaken up, but luckily the man in the green shorts only had a leg injury.

Somehow there are fewer injuries than could be expected, but not everyone gets away without harm.

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