naked hindu devotees running towards the ganges river - kumbh mela festival (india)


Group of naked Hindu devotees running towards the Ganges river at the Kumbh Mela 2013 Hindu festival near Allahabad (India).­

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.­

Thousands of Sadhus and Hindu devotees (naked, with their bodies often covered with ritual wood ash) converge toward the bank of the Ganges river at the Sangam where they will take the Holy Dip.­ 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 morning of Vasant Panchami Snan day, an important religious date for Hindu people and one of the most auspicious mornings for taking the holy bath in the Ganges river.­

For more info about Vibhuti, the Hindu holy ash, read en.­wikipedia.­org/­wiki/­Vibhuti.

For more information about Vasant Panchami (or Basant Panchami), read en.­wikipedia.­org/­wiki/­Vasant_­Panchami.

crowd hindu holy ash kumbha mela maha kumbh mela men naga babas naga sadhus naked procession running sacred ash triveni sangam vasant panchami snan vibhuti walking
Kila Marg, Kumbh Mela Area I, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh 211005, India

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 of Sadhus (Hindu holy men) in India.­

In Hinduism, sadhu is a common term for an ascetic, practitioner of yoga (yogi) and/­or wandering monks.­ The sadhu is solely dedicated to achieving the fourth and final Hindu goal of life, moksha (liberation), through meditation and contemplation of Brahman.­ Sadhus often wear saffron-colored clothing, symbolizing renunciation.­

A Sadhu is usually referred to as Baba by common people.­ The word 'baba' means father, or uncle, in many Indian languages.­

For more info on Sadhus, go to:
factsanddetails.­com/­world/­cat55/­sub354/­item1345.­html
en.­wikipedia.­org/­wiki/­Sadhu

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.­