Sudhir Makkar or, the Golden Baba generally wears 20 kg of ornaments during pilgrimages, which includes 21 gold chains with lockets, gold armlets, rings and a custom-made Rolex watch. He has eight luxury cars.
However, last year the Golden Baba declared that it might be his last religious journey due to his deteriorating health condition, although couldn’t resist the temptation to complete his 26th trip after his followers insisted on it.
Popularly called "Kanwar Yatra", the annual pilgrimage is ideally undertaken on foot as a mark of obeisance to Lord Shiva by millions of Hindu devotees. It involves covering a trek of about 300 km while carrying a "Kanwar", a single pole made of bamboo with two urns dangling on either side and used to carry holy water from the Ganges.
It is about devotees going to Haridwar, Gaumukh, and Gangotri in the Indian state Uttarakhand and Sultanganj in Bihar to fetch holy water from the river Ganga. The devotees then carry the holy water to dispense it as offerings in their local Shiva shrines.
The Golden Baba, a businessman-turned-ascetic, who initially used to undertake this pilgrimage on foot, now covers the stretch with a big cavalcade of luxury cars along with a team of followers.
Flanked by a team of muscular bouncers and police security, the heavily decked-up Golden Baba, wearing bracelets, chains and rings, was a unique attraction for all passers-by.
However, he had to shed off four kilograms of gold this year due to persisting health issues and two throat surgeries in the past.
People thronging from far-flung corners of the country cherish catching a glimpse of the godman, whose security is also a major concern. He embarks on the holy journey every year under heavy police protection.