I shared a tent with some Sadhus from a village near Varanasi at the Ardh Khumbh Mela last month. The mela last for about one full month. People from all over are coming to bath in the Holy Ganges there. This year the main Bath was on January 19th.
I decided to follow the life of regular pilgrims there. A lot of pilgrims are coming there to stay the full month with their families. They organize themselves in little villages inside Akharas. They sleep inside tents, cook , pray, just like home. Most of my images will show the life of regular pilgrims rather than just sadhus. A lot of them were shot at the Nirvani Akhara where I stayed.
The Maha Kumbh Mela ("great festival of the pot of nectar of immortality") is held every three years in each of four different locations, returning to each of four places every twelve years. An Ardh (half) Mela (festival) takes place six years after the Maha Kumbh in each location.
Kumbh Mela is a sacred Hindu pilgrimage and bathing festival that takes place at the following 4 locations of India:
Prayag (near the city of Allahabad, in the state of Uttar Pradesh) at the confluence of three rivers Ganga (Ganges), Yamuna and Saraswati. Haridwar (in the state of Uttaranchal Pradesh) where the river Ganga enters the plains from Himalayas.
Ujjain (in Madhya Pradesh), on the banks of Ksipra river.Nasik (in Maharashtra) on the banks of Godavari river.
The basic point of the Kumbh Mela is for pilgrims to bathe at certain sacred spots on certain auspicious days. A large tented city is erected and pilgrims stay at tents owned by Pandas (religious and spiritual guides) and at various ashrams. Others will just camp on the ground or turn up for the actual bathing day. Some of these bathing days are designated "royal," and it is on these days that the naga sadhus (naked mendicants) parade and bathe. On other days there will still be people bathing and other events and random procession