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wooden chastity belt - kumbh mela 2013 festival (india)

Naked Sadhu wearing a strange wooden apparatus that seems to be some sort of underwear or chastity belt, at the Kumbh Mela 2013 Hindu festival near Allahabad (India).­

See another photo.

I saw a group of naked Sadhu (Hindu holy men), all wearing this thing when they went to take the Holy Dip in the Ganges river.­

Here is some info I found about those devices:

As an aid to mental control of sexuality, physical restraint must sometimes be employed and one method is the continuous wearing of 'chastity belts'.­

It is a rather 'recent' austerity, not more than 300 years old, and it is only done by Vaishnavas of the Nimbarki Sampradaya.­ This austerity, like most, is usually undertaken for a minimum of twelve years.­

This man is a Kathia baba.­ This wooden arbandh, with its wooden langoti attached, may quite rightly be called a 'chastity-belt'; only this one is self-imposed.­

The langoti can be unhooked for cleaning, but the arbandh of course stays on all the time.­

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.­

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.

India 2013 1558 photos

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.­