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


Hindu pilgrims bathing before dawn in 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!

Many pilgrims carry a plastic bottle that they fill-up with holy water from the Ganges river.­

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.­

crowd fence ganga river ganges river hindu holy bath holy dip kumbha mela maha kumbh mela men night paush purnima pilgrims reflections ritual bath river bath river bathing street lights triveni sangam water women yatris
Kila Marg, Kumbh Mela Area I, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh 211005, India

Photos taken at the Maha Kumbh Mela 2013 festival near Allahabad (India).­

Kumbh Mela is the largest human gathering on Earth, taking place during 3 months once every 12 years, with more than 50 million Hindu pilgrims coming to pray and bath in the Ganges river at the Sangam, confluence of the Holy Ganga (Ganges) and the Holy Yamuna rivers.­

Maha Kumbh Mela is a larger Kumbh Mela that happens only once every 144 years.­ 2013 was the year of the Maha Kumbh Mela, a once in a lifetime event.­

Kumbh Mela occupies about 56 Square Kilometers (22 Square Miles) of sandy ground in the Ganges floodplain.­ The "permanent" population is 5 to 10 Million Hindu devotees housed in thousands of temporary Ashrams and tent camps, with an estimated at least 50 Million more pilgrims coming for the ritual baths during the 3 months period of the event.­ By some estimate, more than 100 Million pilgrims attended the 2013 Maha Kumbh Mela.­

The Kumbh Mela infrastructure is provided by the Indian government, and includes taps of drinking water, pit toilets, street lighting, streets paved with metal plates, and very helpful Police and emergency services.­

For more info about Kumbh Mela, read en.­wikipedia.­org/­wiki/­Kumbh_­Mela.

Photos taken in India in 2013

The highlight if this trip was the Maha Kumba Mela Hindu Festival, the largest human gathering on earth, which happens once every 12 years.­

Other regions visited include the springs of the Ganges river, Varanasi, the Konark sun temple.­

See also my photos of Nepal that I took the same year.­