floating bridge over the ganges river at kumbh mela 2013 (india)


This is one of the 18 temporary pontoon bridges (i.­e.­ floating bridges) installed during the Kumbh Mela 2013 festival near Allahabad (India).­

This pontoon bridge is over the Ganges (Ganga) river.­ Those floating bridges are built on top of large empty metal tanks, and are anchored to the river bottom with ropes on the upstream side of the bridge.­ Those bridges can support trucks up to 10 Tons, but to be safe, the maximum weight was set to 5 Tons.­ Those bridges are mostly used for pedestrian traffic.­ During high affluence periods when large crowds are crossing the floating bridges, bridges are one-way, with alternating direction for each other bridge.­ This rule was taken after a stampede in a previous year caused the bridge railing to fail and many people to fall in the river and drawn (most of the Hindu pilgrims cannot swim!).­

The water was very low in the Ganges river at the time, so in fact this bridge was not floating, but just sitting on the sandy bottom of the shallow river.­

In the back, the large pyramid is an Ashram, made of bamboo and straw.­

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.­

ashrams floating bridge foot bridge ganga river ganges river hindu infrastructure kumbha mela maha kumbh mela metal tanks pontoon bridge pyramid river bank walking water

Selection of photos taken at the Maha Kumbh Mela 2013 festival near Allahabad (India).­

View the complete series here.

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.­

Photos of some of the 18 temporary pontoon bridges (i.­e.­ floating bridges) installed during the Kumbh Mela 2013 festival near Allahabad (India).­

Those floating bridges are built on top of large empty metal tanks, and are anchored to the river bottom with ropes on the upstream side of the bridge.­ Those bridges can support trucks up to 10 Tons, but to be safe, the maximum weight was set to 5 Tons.­ Those bridges are mostly used for pedestrian traffic.­ During high affluence periods when large crowds are crossing the floating bridges, bridges are one-way, with alternating direction for each other bridge.­ This rule was taken after a stampede in a previous year caused the bridge railing to fail and many people to fall in the river and drawn (most of the Hindu pilgrims cannot swim!).­

The water was very low in the Ganges river at the time, so in fact this bridge was not floating, but just sitting on the sandy bottom of the shallow river.­

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.