Diksha, in India, refers to the ceremony of formal initiation into a tradition. In Jainism, diksha is the ceremony through which a lay person becomes an ascetic, and adopts several vows which they are expected to follow throughout the course of their subsequent lives.

Amar Shah, his wife Bina and their two children, Romal and Binal all took diksha together in Andheri West, Bombay in early May. The event transpired with immense fanfare, over a week, during which the family were shuttled between Pujas at different venues, wore extravagant clothes that were changed for every ceremony and had an audience of thousands while they gave up everything they owned. We followed the Shah family through some of the tender, tired and ecstatic moments of their journey towards renunciation.

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Text and photographs: Gayatri Ganju