In India both in temples, monasteries and towns and villages, all kinds of ascetics and hermits are often met. In Indian society they have taken a special place: they embody the victory of the spirit over the mortal body and therefore serve for the laity a high authority in religious matters.
Confronting civil religiosity, asceticism is known in all spiritual traditions, but only in India it has become a widespread phenomenon. Unlike Christianity and some other religions where the renounced from the world live collectively at monasteries, Indian ascetics usually travel alone or in small groups in the forests, wander through towns and villages, and only during the rainy season gather in a certain place.
Collection No. 2993 introduces Indian asceticism in its various manifestations. Indologists A.M. and L.A. Mervarts during thier Indian expedition of 1914-1918. ordered the exhibits of this collection to local sculptors who worked for the Provincial Museum of Oud in Lucknow.