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

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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.­

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

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