Chaotic Kumbh Mela

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A few weeks ago, I covered Kumbh Mela in the northern Indian city of Allahabad.

It’s the biggest Hindu gathering in the world and nearly 100 million devotees visit the Ganga River over a month and half. They believe that bathing in the holy river cleanses them of their sins and brings blessings. The belief has its origins in a Hindu myth that an immortal pot of nectar was spilled over four places, including Allahabad, when the gods and demons fought over it.

As the main bathing day of Feb 10 approached, devotees began gathering and filling up every available space – sidewalks, parking lots, riverbanks, and below bridges. It was certainly one of the most congested events I’ve experienced and I really felt India’s dilemma as the world’s 2nd most populated country with over 1.2 billion.

Millions of camped out folks burnt cow dung and wood to cook or just to keep warm in the mornings and evenings. The whole area was filled with smoke, and it stung my eyes and made me cough. Also, every morning I had to get in the water up to my thighs to  photograph people bathing and I ended up catching a cold. I guess my belief in blessings from bathing wasn’t strong enough…







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Gelay Amdo I was lucky to bump into your name and profile.
Your Kumgh Mela project is wonderful. Enjoyed every bit of shots.
Thanks for sharing.

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