‘Naga sadhu’ or Hindu holy man, ‘world’s smallest saint’, is grabbing eyeballs at the ‘Kumbh Mela’, the world’s largest religious festival.

As devotees throng to the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar, an 18-inch tall dreadlocked ‘Naga sadhu’ has become a centre of attraction. The dreadlocked holy man, wearing rosary beads, has been grabbing eyeballs at the ‘Kumbh Mela’.

Narayan Nand Giri Maharaj, 55, is surrounded by devotees who seek his blessings. Nand Giri Maharaj weighs 18 kilograms and is not able to stand up or even walk.

He is looked after by his disciple, Umesh. “People seek his blessings and they feel very nice…they click selfies with him, offer prayers,” Umesh was quoted as saying to Reuters.

Many of the ‘sadhus’ belong to monastic orders called Akharas and live in remote caves, stepping out for the Kumbh Mela, generally held once every three years. Most of these Nagas enter the lifecycle of a ‘sadhu’ in their early teens, leaving their families behind and worldly possessions to answer the call of Shiva, and follow in his footsteps – devoting their lives in his prayers.

Most of the Nagas enter the lifecycle of an ascetic in their early teens, leaving behind their families and worldly possessions to answer the call of Shiva and follow in his footsteps – devoting their lives in his prayers.

They renounce their friends and families to embrace the circle of fellow Nagas – immersing themselves in deep meditations, rigorous yoga, learning religious rituals and scriptures and seeking the highest form of spirituality.

It takes six years of celibate life, 12 years of rigorous prayers to Lord Shiva before the revered title of a Naga is conferred. They immerse themselves in deep meditations, rigorous yoga, learning religious rituals and scriptures and seeking the highest form of spirituality.

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