India is a country of festivals, and no festival matches the great Kumbha Mela which is held every twelve years in Allahabad, North India.
I attended this year’s Mela along with an estimated 100 million other pilgrims. Apart from the throngs of villagers who come from all parts of the subcontinent, the festival attracts thousands of sadhus (holy men) from various Hindu denominations. Their attraction for visiting the Mela is the promise of mukti (salvation) if they bathe in the confluence of the sacred rivers, (the Ganges, the Yamuna and the Sarasvati) at a preordained time when the ‘nectar of the gods’ falls to earth from the heavens.
Kumbha Mela is not only a festival of faith, but a festival of faces from all over India. With a variety of colors, a variety of people (lots of people!) and tents and marquees stretching as far as the eye can see, the Kumbha Mela is a dream come true for a photographer. Below are the some of the images and a short video I captured in the 8 day period that I stayed there.