A man in India claims to have grown an 18ft moustache and admits he’s abandoned his children in a bid to keep it immaculate.

Ramesh Chand Kushwah, 78, from Agra, in Uttar Pradesh, northern India, saw a man with an extremely long moustache in a book 20 years ago and it inspired him to grow an extra long moustache himself.

Even if that meant he’d stop seeing his daughter and grandchildren ‘in case they broke his moustache’.

Ramesh said: ‘It took me a long time to learn how to nurture my hair in order to make it grow. Now I take very good care of it. I have a daughter but I don’t stay with her as my moustache would be at risk. Her children might pull it or damage it in some way and that would be devastating for me.’

Ramesh Chand Kushwah drapes his moustache around his arms. © Cover Asia Press/ Tanzeel Ur Rehman

When Ramesh started growing his moustache over 20 years he had just lost his wife. He said it was something he decided to do since he no longer had his wife to accompany him.

Ramesh Chand Kushwah holds the right side of his moustache. © Cover Asia Press/ Tanzeel Ur Rehman

‘My moustache became my passion,’ he added. ‘I stopped trimming my moustache but it was hard to keep it strong so I asked people for advice.’

‘I was told to use milk, curd, butter and cream to keep it strong and it really helped.’

Ramesh also keeps his moustache tied up into a ball on top of his head to keep it out of reach of anything that might damage it.

Ramesh Chand Kushwah with his moustache tied on a ball on his head. © Cover Asia Press/ Tanzeel Ur Rehman

He said: ‘It used to break when I first started growing it but since then I’m happy to say it’s been safe.’

However, it’s clear Ramesh uses cotton thread at the end of his moustache in attempt to keep it extra strong.

Ramesh is now known as the ‘Moustache Man’ in Agra and both locals and foreigners on their holiday like to visit him at his milk store and have their photograph taken with him and his snow white moustache.

Ramesh Chand Kushwah holding his moustache. © Cover Asia Press/ Tanzeel Ur Rehman

His right side is 8.75ft and his left side is 9.25ft.

‘People often ask me if it’s real,’ he said. ‘Foreigners love me and ask to touch it but I never let them touch it.

Ramesh Chand Kushwah with two locals holding his moustache. © Cover Asia Press/ Tanzeel Ur Rehman

‘I was at the Taj Mahal last year and foreigners were more interested in me and my moustache than the Taj Mahal. They started clicking pictures with me instead of the Taj Mahal. I was happy as I felt I was different. I guess my moustache inspires people.’

‘I have seen a lot of people growing their moustache after seeing mine.’

But Ramesh’s fame and popularity as come at a cost. Ramesh, who only earns Rs100 (£1) a day running his milk store, has not seem his daughter or grandchildren for many years fearing they would break his fragile moustache.

He added: ‘I have relatives. I have a daughter and grandchildren but I do not want to stay with them or visit them as my moustaches would be at risk.’

Ramesh Chand Kushwah outside his residence in Agra. © Cover Asia Press/ Tanzeel Ur Rehman

Ramesh calls himself a simple man with no desires in life.

‘I’m not demanding in life,’ he said. ‘All I want is to keep my moustache safe and protected. I don’t go anywhere. I enjoy the simple things, and my moustache brings me joy. I wash my moustache with milk every morning and then apply curd and cream everyday. I spend most of my money to buy these ingredients and often skip meals but it’s the only thing I enjoy. I survive on two liters of milk and poha (an Indian dish made of flattened rice) a day. I am happy to survive this way; I don’t need anything else.’