06/11/2011 11:44 am ET | Updated Aug 11, 2011

Yogis Of India And Nepal (PHOTOS)

The enigmatic world of sadhus, the vividly decorated or completely nude ascetics of
Hinduism, is explored in "Body Language: The Yogis of India and Nepal" at the Rubin Museum of
. Striking color photographs by Thomas L. Kelly capture extraordinary-looking male sadhus (as well as a female sadhvi), famously known as ascetics and yogis of South Asia.

Sadhus renounce worldly life, earthly possessions and social obligations to devote their lives entirely to religious practice and the quest for spiritual enlightenment, the ultimate goal in the Hindu religion. Sadhus embody this search for religious illumination, serving as living representations of spiritual and ascetic ideals. Though an important part of Hindu cultures, sadhus' commitment to attaining non-attachment and transcendence of the physical body leaves them on the fringes of society.

Thomas L. Kelly made his first trip to Nepal in 1978 as a Peace Corps volunteer, and has since
worked as a photo-activist, documenting the struggles of marginalized people and disappearing
cultural traditions all over the world.

Learn more about the "Body Language" exhibit at the Rubin Museum website.

Images of Nepal at the Rubin Museum of Art