Coming Home to Bihar with Photographic Storyteller @chetankumarstudio

To see more of Chetan’s photographs, follow @chetankumarstudio on Instagram.

For Chetan Kumar (@chetankumarstudio), a good education came at a heavy price. “I was sent to boarding school at a very young age,” he recalls. “With a heavy heart, I had to leave behind my parents, the beautiful village and countryside, the rivers and the boats, bicycle rides and kite flying.” Ironically, Chetan’s beloved home state of Bihar was considered one of the most undeveloped parts of India — notorious for poverty and crime. But it was his boarding school in northern India that Chetan found unbearable. “Hostel life was about survival among students,” he says. “There was always a timetable, always a plan and a task.” Finally at the age of 16, the schoolboy made a break, traveling on his own for almost 1,000 kilometers to return to his countryside village, in search of the “little adventures” of his lost childhood. Some 15 years later, now working as a photographer and cinematographer, Chetan continues to reclaim his memories, in a photographic homecoming that he calls “Bihar Odyssey.” But he still looks back to the day he ran away from school as a formative moment in his life and his work. “I had overcome my fear and inhibitions of traveling alone, and enjoyed it,” he says.

Aghori adorns a human skull at Half Pitcher Festival in Allahabad.

A Hindu holy man or Shaivite Sadhu / Saint who is a devotee to the Hindu God Shiva, adorns a human skull as he prays after taking a dip in the Ganges River during the Ardh Kumbh Mela or Half Grand Pitcher festival at the meeting of three major rivers in Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh state of India.

The aghori mainly worship lord Shiva, according to the sect every human is a ‘shava’(dead body) with emotions and they should try to become ‘Shiva’ by denying the human pleasures and involving in the aghori rituals.