InPEC presents a photo essay of the “Kumbh Mela” at Allahabad in India by Hemley Gonzalez, a Cuban-American activist who runs ‘Responsible Charity’ in the city of Kolkata.
By Hemley Gonzalez, 21st February, 2013
The Kumbh Mela is a Hindu religious pilgrimage that takes place every twelve years at one of four places: Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik in India. More than 100 million people are to attend the 2013 Kumbha mela.
The major event of the festival is ritual bathing at the banks of the Ganga river. Other activities include religious discussions, devotional singing, mass feeding of holy men and women and the poor, and religious assemblies where doctrines are debated and standardized.
Kumbh Mela is the most sacred of all the pilgrimages. Thousands of holy men and women attend, and the auspiciousness of the festival is in part attributable to this. The sadhus are seen clad in saffron sheets with Vibhuti ashes dabbed on their skin as per the requirements of ancient traditions. Some, called naga sanyasis, may not wear any clothes even in severe winter.
1. Organised workers carry what was rumored to be a dead body of a lady.
4. The pilgrims on any given day were in the millions.
5. On the banks of the Ganga.6. The pilgrims.7. A naked sadhu – smeared with ashes – seen on a horse.8. A sadhu.9. Photographers throng the banks of the river to take photos of the known faces.
10. A sadhu reaches out to Hemley.
11. A security guard looks on.