he Sadhu (also known as yogi and sanyasi) is a Hindu ascetic who has renounced caste, social position, money, and authority and occupies a special place in Hindu society. As one who seeks the Universal Soul in order to be absorbed in it, the Sadhu is set apart from the orthodox priesthood, as renunciation is considered superior to the rituals of the priests.

According to Vedas, life of every Hindu has been divided into four stages, namely
One can easily see eternal happiness on the faces of Sadhus
Brahmacharya - the student life (up to 25 years of age)
Grihasta - the married life (25-50 years of age)

 
Vanprastha - a spiritual life devoid of material pleasure, mostly engaged in visiting holy places (50-75 years of age)

 
Sanyas - a holy life, living alone in a remote place sacrificing even wife (75-100 years of age).

Hence, a Hindu becomes Sadhu in his fourth stage of life, Sanyas. However, some unmarried Hindus who have devoted themselves for the spiritual quest become Sadhus in their young.
 

A Sadhu does not have caste and is free to attach himself to any strata of social structure. The Sadhu is credited with much of the development of Indian culture, art, music, literature, influencing the very world he has abandoned with his endless travels from one sacred site to another, singing devotional songs, and carrying icons and other sanctified objects.

The Shaivite Sadhus are the followers of Shiva and are divided into various sects. They usually wear on their forehead the
three lines of the god's trident drawn in ash or sandalwood paste, which may be vertical or horizontal. Endless variations of these sectarian marks, depending on the

A Sadhu meditating on the ghats of Pushkar lake

Sadhu- a person who  eschews the temporal and pursue a personal search sect, are possible. They may decorate their bodies with various lines and markings, cover the entire torso with ashes, carry a metal trident, and wear rosaries. The hair and the beard are uncut and matted.

Vaishnavite Sadhus
are devoted to Vishnu and are a later development than the Shaivite. Commonly called Vairagi (detached ones), they are members of various schools of Bhakti (devotion). They do not emphasize the ascetic extremes of the Shaivites. Their common identifying mark is a white U drawn on the forehead, with an added line in either white or red in 
the centre. They normally wear white or yellow and carry beads of the tulsi (sacred basil). Unlike the common Hindu who is cremated, the Sadhu is buried, usually in the sitting position. The burial site normally becomes a place of worship.
 

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Paan Chewing   Colourful Bazaars   Sadhus  
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