INDIA: Mahima Dharma
Mahima Dharma is a monotheistic Hindu sect, founded in the 19th century and centered in the east Indian state of Odisha (Orissa). Its conception of deity is as a formless and omnipresent power. Unlike most other Hindu sects, it opposes the caste system and the worship of idols (murtis), and it has no priesthood. Followers of Mahima Dharma can be either secular or monastic but all must practice celibacy and vegetarianism and abstain from intoxicants, and violence. Monastics (sanyasis) are also mendicants. The spiritual and administrative center of the sect is the Mahima Gadi Mandir at Joranda, in the Denkanal district of Odisha. This portfolio was shot there, from late afternoon into the night, as the sanyasis prepared and performed their evening aarti, with the participation of lay followers and other Hindu pilgrims.