In the last 40 years, he has neither washed his hair nor cut them. Sakal Dev Tuddu from the Munger district of eastern Bihar state, India, now sports six-foot-long dreadlocks which he has kept for that long because he believes God visited him in a dream and asked him never to cut it or wash it.
This might seem like a Biblical Samson sort of story but the only aspects of the similarities of these two stories is that Tuddu is still alive today but is nothing close to being the world’s strongest man in history.
The 63-year-old calls his hair a ‘blessing from God’, wearing his mat of hair on top of his head like a turban.
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He says that one night, some 40 years ago, his hair spontaneously wove itself into a ‘jatta’ or dreadlock, which he took as a divine blessing.
He also says God visited him in a dream and told him not to cut his hair – an instruction he has obeyed ever since.
For this reason, he also gave up drinking and smoking out of devotion to his deity. Sadhus, Hindu holy men, also go without grooming their hair and sport long jattas.
But unlike the sadhus, Sakal Dev’s hair is matted into one huge knotted lock, which he ties up in a white cloth when he goes out to keep it clean.
If he didn’t stack his hair up on top of his head it would trail on the ground behind him.
His neighbours have dubbed him ‘Mahatma Ji’ as a mark of respect for his holy appearance and humble demeanour. He says his wife, Rupiya Devi, has no problem with his unruly hair.
Sakal Dev worked for the Indian forest department for 31 years but today, he is renowned as a traditional healer who prepares home-made treatments for childless couples. He lives with his wife, three sons, three daughters and seven grandchildren.
The record for the world’s longest dreadlocks is held by Kenyan-resident Florida woman Asha Mandela, whose hair measured an incredible 110 feet (34m) in 2018 when she was 55.