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15th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Altered Images
Portrait of a cremation attendant

portrait of a dom - a cremation attendant- made with contaminated water collected at Manikarnika ghat in Varanasi, India. Nearly 18,000 tonnes of wood is used for cremation on the ghats in Varanasi, generating 700 tonnes of coal and ash every year, which finds its way into the river. A cremation ceremony cannot take place without a dom’s blessing. Ironically, these cremators of the dead are also social outcasts and treated as untouchables.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 06.2016
Date Uploaded: 11.2017
Photo Location: Varanasi, India
Camera: NIKON D800
Copyright: © Harikrishna Katragadda