hindu pilgrims bathing in the ganges river at the sangam at night - kumbh mela 2013 (india)

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Hindu pilgrims having the holy bath before dawn on the bank of the Ganges river, at the Sangam, during the Kumbh Mela 2013 festival near Allahabad (India)

The wooden poles in the water are a safety fence, as most of the Hindu pilgrims can't swim! The sandbags on the ground are for stabilizing the sandy river bank that will get trampled by hundreds of thousands pilgrims having a holy bath.­

The Triveni Sangam is the confluence of the Yamuna and the Ganga (Ganges) rivers, and this is the holiest place to take the ritual baths during the Kumbh Mela.­

This was the early morning of January 27 (a full-moon night, called Paush Purnima), one of the most auspicious mornings for taking the holy bath.­ After a 7 km night walk, I arrived at the Sangam area at about 3am, early enough to be well positioned to take a few good photos.­ The yellowish color is caused by the dim sodium-vapor street lights.­

Kumbh Mela is the largest festival on Earth, taking place once every 12 years, with more than 50 million Hindu pilgrims gathering to pray and bathe in the holy Ganges river.­

For more photos and info about the Kumbh Mela festival, read the album description.

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India 2013 Maha Kumbh Mela 2013
Kila Marg, Kumbh Mela Area I, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh 211005, India