The cannibal monks of Varanasi: Indian tribe feasts on human flesh, drink from skulls and live among the dead
- The Aghori monks of Varanasi are feared throughout India for their extreme practices
- The monks are said to be able to predict the future and make evil prophecies
- The exiled tribe believe in engaging in taboo practices in search of spiritual enlightenment
Feared across India, the exiled Aghori monks of Varanasi feast on human flesh and reside near cremation sites in search of spiritual enlightenment.
Showing the monks with painted faces and beads strung around their necks, these incredible images were taken by Italian photographer Cristiano Ostinelli, who spent time with the tribe to discover more about their way of life.
The mysterious tribe members live in cemeteries and feast on human flesh as part of their rituals, as well as drinking from human skulls, chewing the heads off live animals and meditating on top of cadavers in search of spiritual enlightenment.
The Aghori monks of Varanasi are feared throughout India and are believed to be able to see the future
Italian photographer Cristiano Ostinelli spent time with the mysterious tribe to capture their mysterious way of life
The monks feast on human flesh, drink from human skulls and are even said to bite the heads off life animals for their rituals
Mr Ostinelli explained: 'There is a great mystery around them and the Indians fear them, they say they can predict the future, walk on water and do evil prophecies.'
The monks use a combination of marijuana, alcohol and meditation to help them reach a disconnected state of heightened awareness and bring themselves closer to revered Hindu god Lord Shiva.
The Aghori also believe that by immersing themselves without prejudice in what others deem taboo or disturbing, they're on course to achieving enlightenment.
The Varanasi tribe live near cremation sites and use a combination of alcohol and marijuana with meditation to reach enlightenment
The monks trace their roots to the 17th-century puritan Baba Kinaram, who is said to have lived to the age of 170
With painted faces and often seen wearing little or no clothing, their way of life is said to discourage an attachment to earthly delusions
The monks believe that the body is inconsequential and flesh and blood are simply transitory, which is why they surround themselves with death and decay