Project Detail: We worship the body


Reportage and Documentary 2019




Giuliano Berti



Project Info

We worship the body

India's kushti mud wrestlers

Kushti is a traditional form of wrestling developed in Northern India in the 16th century and still practiced today. Every day the wrestlers gather in a traditional gym (akhara) and face each other in a special pit filled with clay mixed with salt, lemon and ghee, wearing nothing but a loincloth (langot). Before every match, the athletes (pehlwans) pray to the image of Lord Hanuman, hindu's god of strength and patron of all fighters. The strict practice of kushti is traditionally believed to drive young men towards a more positive and healthy lifestyle. Kushti is not just a sport, but a cultural heritage which embodies the indian traditional idea of masculinity. Caste and religion are left at the door.