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Kumbh Mela, scenes from pre-dawn

February 10, 2013  -  Festivals

For sure one of the most amazing experiences in my life was to attend the Kumbh Mela festival on the main bathing day on February 10th. To be amongst 30 million pilgrims was humbling and the lessons learned invaluable.

Here are some images from pre-dawn. I was up at about 3:30am and headed out to the main bathing area. It was tough shooting in the conditions present….crowds, low light (no light), and organized chaos. But here’s what I got. Some of the photos were taken at the Sangam, the meeting point, a sandy bank, where the Yamuna and Ganges river meet. Here’s where millions have come to bathe on the most auspicious day of the festival.

Boatmen making their way through early morning mist to the banks of the Yamuna river to ferry passengers to the sangam.

Boatmen making their way through early morning mist to the banks of the Yamuna river to ferry passengers to the sangam.

Thousands of people are continuously ferried by hundreds of boats to the sangam.

Thousands of people are continuously ferried by hundreds of boats to the sangam.

Pilgrims arrive at the sangam. The water is shallow here and you are able to stand safely. Most pilgrims bathe here.

Pilgrims arrive at the sangam. The water is shallow here and you are able to stand safely. Most pilgrims bathe here.

kumbh-mela-bathing-pilgrims

At another sandy bank nearby thousands or millions I should say dip in the cold waters. It's crowded even at 4am.

At another sandy bank nearby thousands or millions I should say dip in the cold waters. It’s crowded even at 4am.