Many of the women of the Mir community live in the north-western state of Gujarat, a dry, barren province bordering Pakistan. Like many other nomads in India, they are now settled. This mainly Muslim group wear self-embroidered jewellery and intricate, hand-made clothing and line their eyes with charcoal.
The impressive nose rings worn by Meghwal Marwada women are usually made of gold
Women from the Meghwal Marwada Harijan group are also known for the velado, the large golden wedding ring which they wear hanging from their nose. The Malik Jat call themselves the Gathwal and live in the north-western Punjab region. There are differences in religious beliefs across the Jat community. Religion flows fluidly within this cultural group: to the east, they are primarily Sikh, while in the west they are more likely to be Muslim.
Sadhus (meaning ‘good men’) are devoutly religious Hindus living throughout India. They wear orange clothes representing the colour of the fire in which they have burned all their possessions to be symbolically reborn into a new life as a sadhu. Female sadhus, or sadhvi, form a small minority of the larger group.
"I realized you don’t need anything to lead a sadhu life." - Digambar Shivnarayan Giri
The devotee’s last act before becoming a sadhu is to cut off his or her hair, the last embodiment of one’s former life. A large subgroup is formed by the Naga Sadhus. They are more conservative and naked at all times but for a covering of white dust which they believe protects them. Naga Sadhus live primarily in caves high in the Himalayas.