Chhattisgarh: Ramnamis draw eyeballs at Rashtriya Ramayan Mahotsav in Raigarh
Raigarh, Chhattisgarh: Members of the Ramnami community took part in the three-day Ramayan Mahotsav in Chhattisgarh's Raigarh district. They were joined by hundreds of artists from across the country.
The attendees, including artists from overseas, said they were awestruck seeing the 'Ramnamis' at the festival with their tattooed bodies and faces, making them stand out in the crowd.
Ramnamis represent a community in Chhattisgarh, which is dedicated to the devotion of Lord Ram, with even their bodies and faces tattooed with 'Ram Nam'. They consider their bodies to be a temple.
During British rule when Ramnamis were not allowed to enter temples, they got their bodies and faces tattooed with the lord's name.
'Ram' is not just a name for Ramnamis, but an integral part of their culture and lives. Devotion to lord Ram is the sole purpose of their lives.
Speaking to ANI, Gula Ram Ramnami, a member of the community, said they mostly reside in three-four districts of Chhattisgarh and have been carrying forward their tradition over several generations for 150-200 years.
By getting their bodies and faces tattooed with the name of Lord Ram and wearing clothes also bearing the name of the deity, Ramnamis spread the message of giving up addictions and greed and embracing a vegetarian diet, he added.
Besides, the community also propagates the preaching that one should always speak the truth, Gula Ram Ramnami said.
"Everyone, irrespective of the religion they practise, chants the name of Lord Ram after seeing us," Ramnami told ANI.