Naraka - Buddhist Hell
Project info

Did you know that there is a Buddhist hell?

In the Western world Buddhism is mostly associated with a peaceful and calm approach to life.
Commonly known are the concept of enlightenment and spiritual practices that have deep roots in Buddhist teachings.

Knowing not much more than that I moved to Asia years ago. Not long after my arrival I visited a Buddhist temple and was completely taken by surprise to find myself surrounded by a vast number of terrifying sculptures that seem to depict torture scenes and fierce looking demons in a very graphic manner. Astonished I realized that this bizarre collection of figurines was an actual portrayal of hell.

Later on I found out that there is a very similar concept of torment for sins in Buddhism just as in other religious beliefs.

This place of torment is called Naraka what is the ancient Sanskrit word for underworld.

Fascinated by the graphic depictions of this gruesome world I located several temples with Naraka themed sculpture gardens and started to photograph my way through hell.

So far it has been a grotesque journey partly with quite a few humorous moments but also with shiver and spook while staying late past sunset in these remote locations when the demons start cracking their knuckles and are getting ready for the moonlight.