The Photographer Whose Travels Around India Captured The Soul of The Ganges – Li Zhe
Li Zhe is a Chinese photographer based in Shanghai. He travels around the world documenting people’s lives and cultures. Li Zhe went to India to document the lives of people living near the Ganges and their daily customs and traditions. From morbid encounters to joyous encounters, Li Zhe captured these customs and tales through shooting a video of the local people and their interaction with the sacred river as well as capturing images.
Li Zhe went the length and breadth of the Ganges to get the full scope of emotion that the local people have with this river, from praying to letting the river say goodbye to loved ones to socializing to using the river as a means of income. Li Zhe also found out local folklore stories about the Ganges, which is noted below the images.
Soul of Ganges River
A legend says a long time ago, the ancestor of an Indian king was glared by an ascetic monk, hence the ancestor turned into ashes. Their souls landed in Hell and were greatly tortured. The only way to save the souls was praying for mercy from Brahma who can descend the water of the Ganges River to the world from Heaven and clean the souls so that they can return to Heaven. As a gracious gift from Brahma, the water of the Ganges River touched down the Himalaya mountains and flew all the way through the Indian plain into the Bay of Bengal, then fed into sea, finally streamed down to the ghostdom. When the holy water washed off the ashes of the ancestor, they were blessed, becoming clean souls, and returned to Heaven. The Ganges River flows through Heaven, the mortal world and Hell, therefore it’s entitled Water of Triloka.