Pope Francis's 2015 US Tour | 5th Ave | New York.
Thousands of people lined the closed down streets awaiting the Popemobile during Pope Francis's trip to New York City. After standing for many hours word got out that his trip down Fifth Avenue had been a decoy. Not even the police officers knew. None of the people in this photo got to see the Pope that day.
Makkah Masjid | Hyderabad.
What you see above the men offering their namaz, is the covering of the chandeliers, these are removed only twice a year; once on Ramazan Eid and the other for Bakri Eid. Together with it's grounds, this mosque is the second largest in India with a capacity to hold 20,000 people for prayer - though women are not allowed in the mosque itself or in the grounds whilst men are praying.
Taj Mahal | India.
"The greatest testament to love" - the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, the forth wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan - is majestic at every hour of every day. So powerful is the energy within the building that after visiting the lower level, where the tombs of Mumtaz Mahal and her husband's tombs lie, a friend of mines father developed insomnia and never again slept a full night's sleep.
All images & text © 2011-2018 Sarah Li
Varkala Beach | Kerela.
The ashes of the deceased are carried into the ocean by a male relative, followed by other grieving friends and family members. This will take place as part of the Hindu cremation ceremony.
Chao Mae Tuptim Shrine | Bangkok.
We traipsed across the city, taking river boats and tuk-tuks, asking in townships and smart hotels, to find this shrine, located behind the upmarket Swissôtel Nai Lert Park Hotel. The array of penis's of all different shapes and sizes, protruding from every nook and cranny, draped in ribbons, jasmine and lotus made the adventure very much worth the trip. The shrine honours Chao Mae Tubtim, a female fertility spirit.
All Souls Day | Hyderabad.
The protestant graveyard at Narayanguda comes alive with candle light, incense, petals, music and prayer each year on All Souls Day. The day commemorates the souls of the faithful departed and, in Hyderabad, is continued well into the night.
Muharram | Old City | Hyderabad.
On the tenth day of Muharram, Shia muslims mark the day when Hussain abn Ali, the prophets grandson, was martyred at the Battle of Karbala in 680. Men place blades between their fingers and beat their heads and chests to a ritual drumbeat, which boys imitate but with no blades, whilst women and girls look on. In Hyderabad, the parade is peaceful but bloody.
For more images and clips of this repentance ritual please contact me.
Palm Tree & A Prayer | Vagator Beach | Goa.
Nature towers above a manmade cross at the point where Vagator Beach ends and the Arabian Sea continues west for until it reaches it's closest shore; in Oman. The truth which people search for through religion, is always found in nature.
Jama Masjid | Delhi.
The mosque built by Shah Jahan, the same Mughal emperor who commissioned the Taj Mahal, is the largest mosque in India. Despite having a capacity of 25,000 the space can be an incredibly serene and peaceful place in the heart of Delhi's Old City,
Banks of The Ganges | Varanasi.
An Indian Sadhu, a Hindu Holy man, meditates on the banks of the sacred River Ganges. By sitting motionless, meditation engages you with the senses of your body and by drawing your focus inwards is a tremendous aide to calmness and peace. Along the numerous ghats (the flights of steps that lead down to the river) many are engaged in the practice.
Haji Ali Dargah | Mumbai.
Only accessible at low tide, Haji Ali mosque and tomb was built in 1943 on an inlet of rocks in Worli Bay. The spot was chosen as it was the wealthy merchant's wish to be buried at the place where the people found his Katfan after it was dropped into the sea. His wish was honoured and the construction leaves a spectacular site in Mumbai.
St Mary's Basilica | Secunderabad.
In 2017, during daily prayer, some nuns at a nearby chapel noticed that the host (the sacramental bread) was bleeding. It was believed to be the blood of Christ so was transported to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption, which was granted Basilica status just a decade earlier, and housed in a separate building to the side of the church. Worshipers from all over the world came to witness this supposed miracle. As the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the city, It is a significant and cultural landmark in Secunderabad.
Wat Pha Lat | Chaing Mai.
We decided to bike to Wat Pha Lat for a film shoot above Chaing Mai, sometimes it can feel more invasive to film amongst peace and quite than it can to point a camera directly at someone. Wat Pha Lat has that rare quality of remaining peaceful; away from the throngs of tourists who seem to bypass it on the way from the haven of Chaing Mai to the temple at Doi Suthep.
Monks with mobiles | Swayambunath Stupa | Kathmandu.
Often referred to as monkey temple for the swelling population of Bandar monkey's, the beauty of Swayambunath is in it's incredible mix of Buddhist and Hindu architecture and harmony. A monastery houses monks who live amongst the trees and the monkeys whilst Sadhu's offer tourists photo opportunities... but at a price.
With St. Nicholas' Church in the background | Ghent.
We were stopped in our tracks. Everyone who was in the square or nearby stood to listen to the piece that this stranger played on the open piano meters away from Ghent's 13th Century church. It was as if, for a moment, peace and tranquility emanated beyond the church's gothic walls.
St. Bavo's Cathedral | Ghent.
A place of worship is nothing without a community. Within this tenth century church a project was being run to include the local people, and the blocks greeted all who came to pray or to see the impressive architecture.
World Series Final | Boston | 2013.
Some people say sport is religion. After the winners parade the year the Red Sox brought home the World Series the streets were littered with footsteps and red white & blue. This trophy is always more significant for this city after the famous curse of the Bambino.
Centenary Baptist Church | Secunderabad.
Secunderabad is home to the All Anglo-Indian Society for the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad so many churches are found within very close proximity to one another. For example, within 500 meters of this protestant church, there are a further ten churches.
Devine Matrimonial Office | Secunderabad.
At Christmas time, the business that offers to find you your spouse becomes a storeroom for Christmas paraphernalia for a pop-up shop that sits on the pavement outside the downstairs laundry shop.